Think about creating a new online society but doing it right from day one.

Daren Tsui

CEO of Together Labs

The metaverse is offering a chance to create a world that is inclusive, ethical, and accessible. The evolution of technology points to a positive future: 88% of global consumers believe tech can make the world a better place, and 78% agree it can help create a more equitable society, according to a July 2021 survey by Wunderman Thompson Data.

Habits and beliefs from our physical lives are not only extending into the digital realm, but are becoming more significant, as users explore the potential to do better in the metaverse. “When you’re born, you don’t choose who you are, but in the virtual world you’re starting from scratch,” Sébastien Borget, cofounder of The Sandbox, told High Snobiety.

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New digital societies

Tech companies are innovating by creating digital worlds that foster meaningful connections, collaboration, and discovery.

“Think about creating a new online society but doing it right from day one,” Daren Tsui, CEO of Together Labs tells Wunderman Thompson Intelligence. Tsui is describing IMVU, the company’s 3D avatar-based friendship discovery social network. The platform is designed to reflect academic research suggesting that interacting with others in 3D environments that feel realistic helps develop social presence—the feeling of being in the same place as someone else—thereby fostering a more authentic connection.

Nowhere is a new social networking platform placing people in 3D environments that range from forests to an island in the sky. Jon Morris, CEO of Nowhere, describes the platform as “the first online event space where you can truly be present, whether feeling the raw energy of a virtual performance or serendipitously vibing with a stranger you just met.”

Big tech players are also harnessing tech to enhance social experiences. Facebook Horizon, currently in beta mode, aims to be a “VR social experience” where explorers play, build, and create together. And Microsoft Mesh uses mixed reality to create interconnected worlds allowing people in different physical locations to be together in real-time via holographic experiences.

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H&M offers virtual recycling in Animal Crossing

Virtual values

88% of global consumers say their online self should reflect their real-life ethics and values. This is perhaps why H&M offered virtual recycling in Animal Crossing in April 2021, with users able to recycle game outfits into new ones through an online version of Looop, that brand’s in-store garment-to-garment recycling system.

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MetaHuman Creator by Unreal Engine, Epic Games

Inclusive identities

Avatar creation companies like DNABlock and Unreal Engine’s MetaHuman Creator by Epic Games are on a mission to make the metaverse more inclusive with its photorealistic capabilities. “The metaverse needs to represent everyone,” Anthony Kelani, CEO and co-founder of DNABlock told Protocol in a September 2021 publication. “This needs to represent the world. And with avatars, specifically, you should be able to generate an avatar that looks like you or like someone of color.” The company recently received $1.2 million funding from a number of investors including Softbank, with the view to build a diverse and include metaverse for all.

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