Pretty much everything we can do in the real world can somehow also be transferred to the metaverse. Provided that this virtual universe fulfills all the potential attributed to it. Every day, new companies and institutions emerge in this new virtual world. At the same time, this world is becoming more and more ‘real’.
Among the several reports that see great economic prospects for this technology is Bloomberg Intelligence. It estimates a value of $ 800,000 million for the metaverse market for 2024. Meanwhile, Wildbytes estimates that 70% of large companies will be on this technology platform in five years.
‘Business for Avatar ‘
Through their avatars, companies reach a virtual audience with their products and services. María Albalá, director of the Innovation Hub at ESIC’s Institute of Digital Economy (ICEMD), says in Computerworld: “Companies can sell products that not the users themselves, but their avatars will use. In theory, here is also the avatar that buys products”. This is called ‘Business to Avatar’, like ‘business to consumer’, but in the metaverse.
Different ways to participate in metaverse
According to Albalá, companies can participate in the meta-verse in several ways. Part of the market will address the technological development of platforms or worlds. Other companies see the meta-verse primarily as a new communication channel to reach especially young people.
Albalá continues: “And then there are the companies that are trying to create companies within the meta-verse. It is more complicated, because you can set up companies in very different ways ”. On the one hand, there are people who see these platforms as forms of investment to buy and sell virtual spaces. On the other hand, there are those who create products, services or experiences that can be purchased within the meta-verse.
So far mainly copies of the real world
According to the director of the ICEMD Innovation Hub, so far in the meta-verse we have mainly seen copies of what companies do in real life. Yet the possibilities in the meta-verse are good for doing things that we could not even imagine could be done.
Fashion, at the forefront of the meta-verse
Zara, the Spanish fashion brand from the Inditex group, has already embarked on the meta-verse with the launch of two clothing collections. The pieces of clothing that make up both collections can be purchased virtually, to adorn the avatars, as well as physically.
Gucci, the Italian fashion company, has also been quite active in the meta-verse since last year with a virtual recreation area, Gucci Garden. Here, users can move through spaces created by other players to buy clothes or see an exhibition. Earlier this year, Gucci bought virtual land on the metaverse platform The Sandbox. This is where it will market clothing and accessories in NFT format. This allows the users to decorate their avatars.
Other fashion brands that have launched their initiatives in the meta-verse include Luis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabanna, Balenciaga, which sells clothing collections in Fortnite; Vans and its ‘Vans World’ in Roblox, a skate park where players can practice tricks, customize their shoes and build their boards; H&M and its virtual store in Ceek; Ralph Lauren, also featuring virtual stores on Roblox and Zepeto; among other.
The food sector
The food and beverage industry is difficult to transfer to the virtual world. As Veronica Sica, marketing manager for Heineken Spain, says, “pixels and bytes can not be tasted yet”. Nevertheless, the Dutch company is launching the first virtual beer, ‘Heineken Silver’. Brewed at the brewery they have in Metaverset. You drink virtual beer there and can participate in activities such as canning lab, blind tastings or virtual bowls. Heineken Silver is now also available in the real world.
Carrefour, the multinational company of French origin, began its immersion in the meta-verse with a new proposal, ‘The Healthy Map’, a video game within the Fortnite platform where users improve their health by eating fruits, vegetables or fish. In this way, food that is healthy for the consumer and for the environment is promoted.
Fast food brands like Chipotle, Burger King, McDonald’s and Taco Bell have entered the metaverse by publishing their own collections of NFTs. Coca-Cola, Budweiser and Bacardi are other companies that have done the same.
Getting students’ attention has always been a difficult task, especially in the digital age. To meet this challenge, Juan Manuel Corpa, a professor at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at CEU Cardenal Herrera University in Valencia, came up with a way to do it. By bringing together his two passions in video games and teaching, he began copying his faculty facilities in Minecraft as an exercise for his students. The initiative was successful and the project already covers the entire Alfara del Patriarca campus.
The replica of the Castellón campus has also started and in the coming months the campuses Elche, Moncloa, Montepríncipe and Barcelona will be integrated. “The goal is to extend the project to all CEU Group universities and training centers in Spain,” says Corpa.
In CEU Metaverse, students can interact with other students, participate in teaching activities, know in detail the facilities and administrative procedures (via virtual student desks).
Stanford University in California and the 10 institutions that make up ‘Metaversity’ are others that copy their campuses in this digital universe, while other centers, such as Metaverse University in Barcelona, are completely born into it.
IomobIomob is a transport company that develops platforms for other companies that need to unite different types of mobility. For example, an application to Renfe that includes not only train routes but also taxis, electric scooters or bicycles to offer a door-to-door service. Iomob has partnered with the Next Earth platform, a sustainability-focused metaverse, to allow users to plan real-world trips, track carbon emissions, and book “carbon-positive” transportation.
BMW, the well-known German car brand, created an exact replica of its car factory in Resenburg to create its metaverse. This will allow the car company to virtually test different options and alternatives – for example, to experiment with new workflows – which, if successful, will be applied to the right factory.
Hyundai will do the same on the Unity platform. Users can see new car models, play games and interact with each other. The Japanese Nissan and Toyota will also step into the meta-verse, the first with an exhibition gallery with their cars and the second with a virtual space dedicated to their employees.
The era of digital entertainment
Spotify, the music streaming platform launched its ‘Spotify Island’ on Roblox. In this space, users can interact with their favorite artists, create and share new sounds with their friends, explore different worlds and access exclusive merchandising.
Virtual parties on Ibiza in the meta-verse
Nightlife was one of the sectors most affected by the pandemic, but Ibiza’s Amnesia Club found a way to keep up: with virtual parties. Amnesia Ibiza offers three different rooms where users can dance, listen to music, watch live streaming sessions, visit a museum about the island’s history, attend concerts and buy merchandising in the form of NFTs.
Also in the music world, it is becoming more and more common for fashionable artists to use virtual spaces as scenes for their concerts. An emblematic example is rapper Travis Scott. He managed to gather more than 27 million viewers in Fortnite. Scott is not alone: Foo Fighters, Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, Lil Nas X, Deadmau5, David Guetta and Marshmello are some of the artists who have already appeared in the meta-verse.
Disney has also announced that they want to create its own virtual universe for various licenses such as Marvel or Starwars. v
Other companies and sectors participating in the meta-verse
The sports industry is one that also permeates a lot in metavers in a larger way. The sportswear brands Nike and Adidas created their own virtual universes – ‘Nikeland’ and ‘AdiVerse’ – where they offer their shoes and accessories to dress the avatars.
Cycling also has its place with the simulations that Zwift offers its customers, in addition to its exercise bikes. In Spain, LaLiga and Rafa Nadal Academy together with Telefónica also launched spaces in the meta-verse.
real estate agents
Some brokers also do not want to miss the opportunity. Metaverse Property will offer land in Decentraland, The Sandbox, Somnium, Upland and Cryptovoxels. Others like Spain’s Metrovacesa and Datacasas Proptech will form an alliance to sell their real estate in these virtual spaces.
The public administration
In Spain, one of the first Catalan government to create ‘CatVers’ was its own metaverse with the aim of promoting Catalan culture and language. Other cities followed, such as Navarra, Zaragoza and Benidorm, among others, in an attempt to better reach the citizens and promote themselves as tourist destinations.
Given the explosive proliferation of these types of initiatives from government agencies, it remains to be seen how judicial and regulatory issues will be resolved. Collecting and using personal data also poses a challenge.