Pretty much everything we can do in the real world can also be transferred to the metaverse. As long as this virtual universe fulfills all the potential attributed to it. Every day new companies and institutions appear in this new virtual world. At the same time, this world is becoming more and more ‘real’.
Among the various reports that see great economic prospects for this technology is that of Bloomberg Intelligence. It calculates a value of 800,000 million dollars for the metaverse market by 2024. For its part, Wildbytes estimates that 70% of large companies will be on this technological platform in five years.
‘Business to Avatar’
Through their avatars, companies reach a virtual audience with their products and services. María Albalá, director of the Innovation Hub of the Institute of Digital Economy (ICEMD) of ESIC states in Computerworld: “Companies can sell products that the users themselves will not use, but their avatars. 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 the metaverse
According to Albalá, companies can participate in the metaverse in various ways. Part of the market will assume the technological development of platforms or worlds. Other companies see the metaverse primarily as a new communication channel to reach young people in particular.
Albalá continues: “And then there are the companies that try to create companies within the metaverse. That 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 metaverse.
So far mainly real world replicas.
According to the director of ICEMD’s Innovation Hub, so far in the metaverse we’ve mostly seen replicas of what companies do in real life. However, the possibilities in the metaverse are great to do things that we couldn’t even imagine could be done.
Fashion, at the forefront of the metaverse
Zara, the Spanish fashion brand of the Inditex group, has already entered the metaverse with the launch of two clothing collections. The garments that make up both collections can be purchased virtually, to dress the avatars, as well as physically.
Gucci, the Italian fashion house, has also been quite active in the metaverse since last year with a virtual recreation area, the Gucci Garden. Here, users can move through spaces created by other players to buy clothes or see an exhibition. Earlier this year, Gucci purchased virtual land on metaverse platform The Sandbox. This is where you will sell clothing and accessories in NFT format. This allows users to dress up their avatars.
Other fashion brands that have launched their initiatives in the metaverse are Luis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabanna, Balenciaga, selling clothing collections in Fortnite; Vans and its ‘Vans World’ on 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 with virtual stores on Roblox and Zepeto; among other things.
the food industry
The food and beverage industry is difficult to transfer to the virtual world. As Verónica Sica, marketing director of Heineken Spain, says, “pixels and bytes cannot be savored at the moment”. However, the Dutch company is launching the first virtual beer, ‘Heineken Silver’. Brewed in the brewery they have in the Metaverse. There you drink virtual beer and you can participate in activities such as a can laboratory, blind tastings or virtual toasts. Heineken Silver is now also available in the real world.
Carrefour, the multinational of French origin begins its immersion in the metaverse with a new proposal, ‘The Healthy Map’, a video game within the Fortnite platform in which users improve their health by eating fruits, vegetables or fish. In this way, a healthy diet is promoted for the consumer and for the environment.
Fast food brands like Chipotle, Burger King, McDonald’s and Taco Bell have entered the metaverse by launching their own NFT collections. Coca-Cola, Budweiser and Bacardi are other companies that have done the same.
Getting the attention of students has always been a difficult task, especially in the digital age. To meet this challenge, Juan Manuel Corpa, professor at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the CEU Cardenal Herrera University in Valencia, devised a way to do it. Bringing together his two passions of video games and teaching, he began to replicate his faculty facilities in Minecraft as an exercise for his students. The initiative was a success and the project now covers the entire Alfara del Patriarca campus.
The replica of the Castellón campus has also been launched and in the coming months the Elche, Moncloa, Montepríncipe and Barcelona campuses will be integrated. “The objective is to extend the project to all the universities and educational centers of the CEU Group in Spain,” says Corpa.
In the CEU Metaverse, students can interact with other students, participate in educational activities, learn about the facilities and administrative procedures in detail (through the students’ virtual desktops).
Stanford University in California and the 10 institutions that make up the ‘Metaversity’ are others that replicate their campuses in this digital universe, while other centers, such as the Metaverse University of Barcelona, are completely born in it.
IomobIomob is a transport company that develops platforms for other companies that need to unite different types of mobility. For example, an application for Renfe that contains 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 enable 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, experimenting with new workflows, for example, which, if successful, will be applied to the real 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 enter the metaverse, the first with an exhibition gallery of their cars and the second with a virtual space dedicated to their employees.
The age 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 merchandise.
Virtual parties in Ibiza in the metaverse
Nightlife was one of the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic, but Ibiza nightclub Amnesia has come up with a way to keep up: with virtual parties. Amnesia Ibiza offers three different spaces where users can dance, listen to music, watch live streaming sessions, visit a museum about the history of the island, attend concerts and buy merchandising in the form of NFTs.
Furthermore, in the world of music, it is becoming more and more common for fashionable artists to use virtual spaces as stages for their concerts. An emblematic example is that of rapper Travis Scott. He managed to accumulate 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 been featured in the metaverse.
Disney has also announced that it wants to create its own virtual universe for various licenses such as Marvel or Starwars. v
Other companies and sectors participating in the metaverse
The sports industry is one that also permeates metavers in a big way. The sportswear brands Nike and Adidas created their own virtual universes -‘Nikeland’ and ‘AdiVerse’-, in which they offer their shoes and accessories to dress the avatars.
Cycling also has its space with the simulations that Zwift offers its customers, in addition to its exercise bikes. In Spain, LaLiga and the Rafa Nadal Academy together with Telefónica also launched spaces in the metaverse.
real estate agents
Some brokers won’t miss the opportunity either. Metaverse Property will offer land in Decentraland, The Sandbox, Somnium, Upland, and Cryptovoxels. Others such as the Spanish Metrovacesa and Datacasas Proptech will form an alliance to sell their properties in these virtual spaces.
the public administration
In Spain, one of the first was the government of Catalonia, which created ‘CatVers’, its own metaverse with the aim of promoting Catalan culture and language. Other cities followed, such as Navarra, Zaragoza or Benidorm, among others, in an effort to better reach citizens and promote themselves as tourist destinations.
Given the explosive proliferation of such initiatives by government agencies, it remains to be seen how judicial and regulatory issues are to be resolved. The collection and use of personal data also pose a challenge.