A pandemic pandemonium has paved the way for metaverse success


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I was surprised to find out how many colleagues and friends had gotten the Oculus over the holidays. In 2021, when Meta rebranded the popular CR headset to Quest 2, they reached a benchmark of 10 million units sold. As a creative storyteller, I’m excited about the metaverse spreading and the marketing opportunities it could offer. Still, I find the speed at which people adapt to this lifestyle fascinating.

This isn’t the first time an alternative digital world has tried to take off. We experienced a similar sensation when the then-popular Second Life was launched in the early 2000s. And while Second Life still technically exists, it has certainly lost its luster and promise. So why doesn’t the metaverse just become a Second Life again? And what makes it the perfect time in society for the metaverse to take off and become a world unto itself?

The technology

An obvious answer is technology. At the beginning of Second Life, technology just wasn’t where it is today and the use of social media was less widespread. At its launch in 2003, only 9.7% of the world was using the Internet, compared to a staggering 65% today. In 2003, many companies lacked a social presence, let alone the bandwidth, knowledge and resources to integrate themselves into this socially progressive, complicated virtual world. As a Creative Director for the past 29 years, I hadn’t started creating for social media until it started growing about ten years ago.

A pandemic: ultra convenience and forced isolation

The pandemic has set the perfect stage for the metaverse to take off. It has created a society where social anxiety is on the rise and the need for convenience is always high. We as a society have become accustomed to being alone because of the prolonged periods of isolation that COVID-19 has forced us into. Some of us, speaking from personal experience, have found comfort in the silence and turned inward to expose the introverted parts of ourselves. The metaverse is, by design, intended to be used in isolation. You don’t need other people physically present when you put on a headset to travel the world or hang out in a virtual bar.

Due to the pandemic, we now value convenience more than ever before. We turn to our TV screens for instant entertainment, our phones for fast delivery, and our computers for quick check-ins with the boss. Many offices are shrinking, physical storefronts are closing, Uber Eats brings food to our front doors, making it virtually pointless to leave our homes.

A desire for social connection

The one truth that hasn’t changed is that we are social beings at our core. People need social connections to stay emotionally healthy.

Enter the metaverse: a tool that provides emotional connection and convenience without leaving your physical space. Where you don’t have to wait in line, grab a bag and board a plane to attend your next work event. A place where your next customer meeting could be a casual walk in the Alps or your next Times Square pop-up brainstorming session. Your ideas are only limited by your imagination. How convenient.

The virtual game world has shown us that the way we advertise in this new world is by plastering sponsorships on walls and billboards. But that answer is 2D. How can brands take advantage of this new virtual world and elevate brand advertising into brand experiences?

In the metaverse, consumers can live within the brand instead of being bystanders of it. Imagine living between branded avatars, or entering a branded nightclub. In December 2021, Disney announced that it had applied for a patent to create the first-ever 3D theme park. Gucci has also taken to the virtual world by teaming up with Roblox to release a ‘Gucci Garden’, where avatars can wander through different rooms and each visitor’s mannequin can ‘take in elements of the exhibit’. Yoga brand Alo created an “Alo Sanctuary” where users could practice yoga and meditation in a relaxing tropical environment. Consumers crave escapism. So the idea of ​​a headset that takes us from our four walls to a universe of endless possibilities is becoming more and more appealing.

Of course, there is still so much for the metaverse to figure out. How do we introduce more everyday users to the metaverse, not just those already engraved in the tech industry? How do we make the metaverse an equal experience for all people, age groups, ethnicities, etc.? (Components of the metaverse such as the blockchain, NFTs, and crypto are heavily guarded by an in-group of largely wealthier, often males). These questions will be the real test of whether this metaverse has staying power.

But in the end, the need for connection predominates. The appeal of convenience remains. The pull of the sweatpants staff is now. And I believe the metaverse will thrive.

Jeff Berg is creative director at Haberman.

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This post A pandemic pandemonium has paved the way for metaverse success

was original published at “https://venturebeat.com/2022/04/01/a-pandemic-pandemonium-has-paved-the-way-for-metaverse-success/”

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