Top 5 Metaverse Trends in 2023

In 2022, it was difficult to move forward without coming across the term “metaverse”. Following Facebook’s rebranding at the end of 2021, almost everyone was keen to share their vision of digital worlds where we can work, play and socialize on a persistent platform.

Anyone who has been paying attention, however, will have realized that these views often differ greatly. While Meta focuses on creating virtual reality environments, companies like Microsoft and Nvidia are developing metaverse environments for collaborating and working on digital projects. At the same time, those who believe the future of the internet is decentralized and built on blockchain are experimenting with non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to enable ownership of digital assets and decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) designed to bring the virtual democracy. worlds we inhabit.

With the concept of the metaverse expected to add $5 trillion to the value of the global economy by 2030, there’s everything to play for, and 2023 will likely be a key year in defining the direction it takes.

Metaverse as a new marketing channel

As with search engines and social media (the technological enablers of Web 1.0 and 2.0), marketing and advertising will provide the fuel that will propel Web 3.0 – the metaverse – into the mainstream. The concept may not have fully coalesced yet, but companies ranging from international finance giants like HSBC and JP Morgan to global lifestyle and fashion powerhouses like Nike and Gucci have already staked their claim and begun to strengthen their presence in the metaverse. The appeal is clear – we know consumers are always looking for new, more engaging ways to connect with the brands they want to do business with. The metaverse, focused on customer experience and individual connections, is another communication channel. Basically, it’s one where, unlike social and search, which are pretty well stitched together by Google and Meta, there’s still everything to play for. Over the next 12 months, companies will do their utmost to position themselves in top-notch virtual locations, whether by creating their own platforms or occupying existing arenas such as Meta Horizons, Fortnite, VR Chat or Decentraland. No one knows for sure yet what the winning strategy will be, but one thing is certain: you have to be in the game to win.

The Corporate Metaverse

Apart from its power as a marketing tool, the metaverse promises to provide platforms, tools and entire virtual worlds where business can be done remotely, efficiently and intelligently.

We can expect to see the concept of the metaverse merge with the idea of ​​the “digital twin” – virtual simulations of real-world products, processes, or operations that can be used to test and prototype new ideas in the safe environment of the digital domain. From wind farms to Formula 1 cars, designers recreate physical objects in virtual worlds where their effectiveness can be tested under any imaginable condition without the resource costs that would be incurred by testing them in the physical world.

Another use of metaverse technology in the corporate world will be training, onboarding, and other tasks. For example, consulting giant Accenture has created a metaverse environment called The Nth Floor that features replicas of real-world offices and allows employees and new hires to perform a number of HR-related functions in the virtual world.

Metaverse collaborative work environments such as BMW’s augmented reality labs that are used to design and prototype new products will also become more popular as teams explore new ways of working remotely while staying engaged with colleagues and their creative process.

Web3 and decentralization

One vision of what shape the metaverse will eventually take revolves around decentralization. According to web3 proponents, distributed ledgers and blockchain technology will create a new Internet beyond the control of global corporations, which will no longer have the power to censor opinions they disagree with or unplug s they wish to take someone completely offline. This vision is built around decentralized metaverse platforms such as The Sandbox and Decentraland, which will eventually be organized into DAOs. Purchasing ownership rights will give individuals a say in how the organization building the virtual domain is run, ultimately leading to the establishment of virtual democracies and user-owned communities.

NFTs are another aspect of the decentralized metaverse. They are unique tokens that live on blockchains – much like non-unique tokens such as cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin do – and can be used to represent unique online goods or products. Brands such as Nike, Adidas, and Forever 21 have used this technology to create digital goods that can be worn, traded, and displayed by their owners in the metaverse. Another shoe brand, Clarks, recently unveiled an online tournament using the Roblox platform where users can win unique virtual goods.

The vision of the Metaverse as a decentralized, community-owned utopia is somewhat at odds with the vision promoted by companies like Meta and Microsoft, which aim to build proprietary digital universes where they themselves will have absolute control. 2023 will likely bring some interesting new developments in this digital culture clash.

Virtual and augmented reality

The idea of ​​immersive, experiential technology is at the heart of the Metaverse – whatever it ends up looking like, it will be more engaging than the digital worlds we’re used to today (like Facebook or the World Wide Web). Therefore, many ideas for how we will interact with it involve immersive technologies such as Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and Mixed/Extension Reality (MR/XR).

Meta has built its specific vision of what the “next level” of the internet will look like around virtual reality, and 2023 will bring new versions of its hugely popular Quest VR headsets, as well as new VR/AR/MR headsets from ‘companies such as Apple, Google and Microsoft. Not everyone agrees that entering the Metaverse will require us to stare at screens in our heads, but it’s definitely one of the approaches to creating immersive experiences that generate the most excitement. , and 2023 will bring a host of new developments in the field. Beyond headsets, we can expect to see new developments in full-face haptic suits, which are already used by organizations like NASA and SpaceX to simulate extreme environments, but will also be used to create great metaverse experiences. even more realistic and immersive audiences. Several startups are even experimenting with technologies capable of introducing odors into our virtual experiences!

More advanced avatar technology

Lots of ideas of what the metaverse will involve us adopting avatars that represent us in the digital world. Just as we are used to playing characters in video games or expressing our personalities in social media, the avatar is the presence we project when we engage and interact with other users – they may look like us, or look like cartoon characters, or something completely fantastic that could never exist in the real world!

Meta originally only offered very basic cartoon-like avatars – which were widely derided – but more recently has developed near photorealistic technology that will allow us to look almost exactly like we do in the real world. Other technologies, such as Ready Player Me and Zepeto, allow us to create avatars which can then be dropped into a number of different virtual worlds and environments rather than limited to a particular platform. In 2023, I predict we’ll see more advanced use cases for technologies like motion capture, which means that in addition to looking and sounding more like us, our avatars will adopt our own gestures and body language. . We might even start to see further developments in the areas of autonomous avatars – meaning they won’t be under our direct control but will be AI-enabled to act as our representatives in the digital world while we get along with others, completely independent. Tasks.

To stay up to date with the latest business and technology trends, be sure to sign up for my newsletter, follow me on TwitterLinkedIn and YouTube, and check out my books “Extended Reality in Practice” and “Business Trends in Practice”, which just won the 2022 Business Book of the Year award.

About Dorie Castro

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