Beyond its limits

27 March 2023

The metaverse

4 min read
4 min read

We’ve long been able to create an avatar or pseudo-identity for ourselves on the internet. The next step is to create our metaverse identities. This means it’s all but certain brands that will enter the metaverse. So the question isn’t ‘will brands enter the metaverse?’. Rather it’s ‘how can brands develop a Metaverse experience that we enjoy and can improve their brand health?’ 

Perpetually innovating

The internet doesn’t offer us physical experiences or processes. Nor does it contain physical parts (other than the hardware which powers it). Insiders call this the backbone of the internet. This backbone also ensures that the Metaverse exists.

We’re giving the Metaverse an existence with all the energy needed to create and maintain it. But what do we get back from it? How does the metaverse create monetary value to pay for the vast amount of electric power it uses? NFTs and cryptocurrency are starting to do this. If the Metaverse could pay society back for powering it, governments may see its real economic value. 

Cultural origins of monetising the Metaverse

Video games constitute the first cultural industry to produce income worldwide. When I was a teenager, World Of Warcraft was a must-have for gamers wherever they lived. Today, it is still an MMORPG reference for metaverse studies (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game.) In Spy Kids movies, characters physically enter a virtual arena: a typical geek fantasy. Roblox company offers a virtual experience for young people, which the French president has quoted in front of United Nations.

DOC 2 : An extract from Spy Kids 3, a Roberto Rodriguez movie 

Roblox is the best example of the metaverse, all be it that there is no perfect example as yet. Globally, the Metaverse touches 400 million people. It’s no longer about people but avatars. It calls for something different. There has been a notion of community and tribes in marketing since Seth Godin. If you want to enter the Metaverse or the Web3, you need to understand its a universe of people. Laurent Florès explained this at the Paris Dauphine University for Marketing & Metaverse conference:  Metavers Marketing : Tendance ou nouvelle réalité du marketing digital ? Eyrolles Editions 

From an anthropological point of view, it’s a bit about mining. With our computers made of metal, we consume energy and visit the Metaverse. The Metaverse is virtual, but it takes real time for us to expand the virtual experience. It’s a new way tech giants have found for people to connect and interact differently. Maybe it will force us to question ourselves about our condition and our way of being. 

A story of business

Right now, it’s an ignition for creation. At VivaTechnology 2022, big companies and luxury brands tried to use these Metaphysical technologies. Entrepreneurs figured out how to adopt the Metaverse in their strategies and attempted to adapt to new digital marketing trends. The media L’ADN considers the internet as now fully merchandised with Web3. Historically, pioneers in the web wanted to build a free world with worldwide connections. It’s the classical debate on the web. 

Asking ChatGPT, “the Metaverse is a term used to describe a hypothetical future version of the internet that is fully immersive, interactive and decentralised. In the Metaverse, users are able o interact with each other and with virtual environments in a way that feels as real as the physical world.” 

A few years ago, the company EVA developed a concept in France that they exported to Belgium. With a headset and soldier-like equipment, you evolve in a 250 meters square for scoring in an FPS (First Person Shooting) challenge. The French national final cup occurred between established e-sport clubs at Paris Games Week in November 2022. Winners received a reward of €18 000. Very impressive for technological reasons. It has already been a source of inspiration for museums. In Paris, you could visit Lascaux Cave and Kheops pyramid, virtually. 

In the real world, Microsoft dismissed its metaverse team. Meta doesn’t engage as many users as it wants. It doesn’t mean they are giving up their project. At the same time, Travis Scott appealed to more than 12 million young users via Fortnite during the lockdown.

Arthur Labarre
Office Manager at Charlestown company, YES ESOMAR Member at ESOMAR