Watch the virtual event Brands and the Metaverse? that was held on Thursday 21 April 2022, here.

By Marc Cloosterman

The jury is out for Metaverse being a hype or not. Many people currently think it’s the first, hype. The problem with hypes is, that you mostly find out only after time, whether the development or trend was a hype, or more than that.

The basic idea of the metaverse isn’t complicated. Put simply, the metaverse includes any digital experience on the internet that is persistent, immersive, three-dimensional (3D), and virtual, as in, not happening in the physical world.

The internet was a hype at first, but then got very real and changed the world. Later evolving to Web2, the version of the internet most of us know today. An internet dominated by companies that provide services in exchange for your personal data. What Web2 has brought us is that the development of technology has allowed users to share their thoughts and opinions with others, which has created new ways of organizing and connecting to other people and promoted a greater degree of collaboration.

Within Web2, we’ve seen examples of apps in the newly created virtual world, sometimes mixed with the real world. The Second Life app, that hyped already in 2003, but then didn’t really continue to be successful. In 2017, Fortnite was launched, the app combining the virtual world, users, GPS with the real world, a massive and lasting success – I think due to the connection from the virtual world with the real world. If I can make one prediction, I think that this connection from virtual with real world is key for future success. If we look in the fitness-world we already see this where one can create virtual experiences of physical environment- and multisensory impact, by working out at home.

There are however legions of problems with Web2 in the areas of Ownership, Monetisation and Versatility. These developments now led To Web3 which in turn is the protocol layer for peer-to-peer, uncoupled and user centric applications. Combined, we call this The Metaverse. We see various definitions, let me mention one that in my humble opinion is a good description:

“A massively scaled and interoperable network of real -time rendered 3D virtual worlds which can be experienced synchronously and persistently by an effectively unlimited number of users with an individual sense of presence, and with continuity of data, such as identity, history, entitlements, objects, communications, and payments.”

With the Metaverse, new developments go hand-in-hand, for example the rise of blockchain applications (i.e. Bitcoin, Ehtereum etcetera and the masses becoming familiar with NFT’s), all elements of the ecosystem that’s shaping up.

Recently I attended a presentation in Brooklyn of Lamiya Boumlaki of Majid Al Futtaim and Saojid Ismail of Publicis. They created a Communications Framework for The Metaverse. It is sketching the opportunities for companies to engage in Web3, defined into five archetypes.

In the upcoming EACD-webinar on the Metaverse and Brands, that I’m hosting together with Carina Hauswald, we’ll be exploring these archetypes to enable you to explore the opportunity that the Metaverse is offering for brands.