There’s been a lot of talk about the metaverse since Facebook announced its name change to ‘Meta’. They also announced they’re going to hire 10,000 people in Europe to develop said metaverse. So, what exactly is it?! 

What is the metaverse? 

Understanding the metaverse is complicated, mainly because it doesn’t actually exist yet. To an outsider, the idea may look like a supercharged version of virtual reality (VR). But, many people believe that the Metaverse is the future of the internet. 

Instead of being on a computer looking at a screen, in the metaverse, you might use a headset to enter a virtual world full of interconnected digital environments. 

It’s hard to define exactly what is is… but the theory is that it can eventually be used for work, play, concerts, cinema trips, or just hanging out with friends. 

Why is it suddenly a big thing? 

Hype over the digital world and augmented reality pops up every now and again but eventually dies down until the next breakthrough. There is a huge amount of interest in the metaverse among wealthy investors and big tech firms, as no one wants to be left behind if it does turn out to be worth investing in! 

There’s also a feeling that for the first time, the technology is very nearly there with advancements in VR gaming being exactly what’s needed for the metaverse to become a real thing. 

Why is Facebook involved?

As we mentioned above, Facebook has made building the metaverse high on its list of priorities. Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently laid out his vision to transform Facebook from a social media network to a metaverse community within the next 5 years, you can watch the full video here. He described it as ‘an embodied internet where instead of just viewing content- you are in it’. 

However, there has been a lot of negative feedback to Facebook’s pitch as some people consider the idea too ‘dystopian’ and will eventually encourage people to disconnect from reality. 

The bottom line is that no company is going to build the metaverse single-handedly. It could be more than a decade away from being fully realised and will take cooperation amongst the biggest in the tech industry. 

Let’s take a look at some of these companies and how they’re working towards the metaverse;

Roblox: Video game platform Roblox Corporation, envisions the metaverse as a place where “people can come together within millions of 3D experiences to learn, work, play, create and socialize.”

Roblox aims to give users and developers ways to create digital worlds. Its CEO has also talked about future shopping and conducting business on the platform, which has its own virtual economy powered by its Robux currency.

Microsoft: Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella said the company was working to build an ‘enterprise metaverse’ as the digital and physical worlds converge in its offerings. Microsoft is also a key player in the gaming world. 

Snap: Snapchat has long been building custom avatars and augmented reality filters to overlay digital features in the real world. This year it unveiled its first true augmented reality glasses, available for developers to experiment with creating experiences for the spectacles. 

What can digital marketers do to prepare?

In the short term- not much! The metaverse is still simply just an idea at this stage, but if it does become a thing it could change the face of digital marketing entirely. 

‘Metaverse marketing’ would see the transition from 2D images and video content to immersive, interactive brand experiences. 

If you’re a brand or marketer interested in the possibilities the metaverse could bring, then it’s best to start preparing by investing in the basics that are available to you right now. 

If technology keeps on progressing the way it has been, looking at the world through AR glasses and leveraging immersive technologies could be the norm in the near future. The internet might have taken 30 years to get where it is today, but the metaverse is poised for rapid growth with technology primed. Are you ready to crossover and go virtual?