Friday, September 10, 2021
Sep 10, 2021
The metaverse is coming. Which brands are leading the way?
Adults, kids, gamers, and social media-lites alike are spending more time online than ever before, driving demand for updated spaces in the digital realm. As the metaverse grows in popularity, brands are rushing in to stake their claim on it.
At the end of July, Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook’s plans to become a metaverse company. He defined the metaverse as “a virtual environment where you can be present with people in digital spaces,” a forthcoming “successor to the mobile internet.” Betting on social gaming through VR, the company unveiled Facebook Horizon as their first step into the realm. Facebook’s presence in the metaverse indicates social interaction and connection will be at the forefront of the evolution of the metaverse and of digital communication as we know it.
Epic Games announced $1 billion in funding towards their own vision of the metaverse in April 2021. Their stated mission: “to advance the state of the art in technology, entertainment, and socially-connected online services.” A recent host to concerts with massive audiences (their Rift Tour on Fortnite) and widely-played gaming platforms (Battle Breakers, Shadow Complex, Spyjinx) the company has already tested its ability to navigate the metaverse realm with positive results. Building on the technology they already have, the company has its virtual foot in the door to digital gaming interactions.
Tencent has full or partial ownership of gaming giants including Sumo Group, Epic Games, Bluehole and Ubisoft, an interesting addition to their broader focus on FinTech, advertising, cloud computing, and a self-described “technology for good.” Ultimately, Tencent’s ownership of WeChat, the largest digital transaction app, presents a huge economical advantage for the brand in the metaverse. Their venture in WeChat’s digital transactions, advertising, and social commerce within the metaverse indicate that the company will have a well-rounded role in metacommerce possibilities.
AI and automation
In April, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang announced plans for the company to join the metaverse and transform the future of the world’s largest industry operations. The company is pulling up their gaming roots for a hand in other sectors: currently partnering with BMW to create a digital twin of a factory, where engineers will virtually plan and establish new workflows before deploying them in their physical factory in Regensburg, Germany. Huang was interviewed by TIME about his focus on AI and the automotive industry in the metaverse: “Humans’ fundamental technology is intelligence. We’re in the process of automating intelligence so that we can augment ours.”
In May, Gucci revealed the Gucci Garden Experience on Roblox. Made up of themed rooms, interactive pools and social spaces, gamers can shop for luxury digital products by the brand. Gucci is also selling goods on Aglet, a free mobile shopping game, alongside Chinese sportswear brand Anta and Adidas. CMO Robert Triefus told TechCrunch that the “Gucci Metaverse [is] not necessarily a digital manifestation, it’s a narrative.” By expanding its presence in the gaming metaverse, Gucci is building on its brand awareness with a new generation of consumers while setting the groundwork for its future in metacommerce.
Ultimately, Jensen Huang anticipates the technological advancements and digital evolution of the metaverse will lead to “the fusion of the virtual world and the physical world.” These companies are taking advantage of a timely opportunity: establishing their presence in the metaverse and being a part of its growth from the ground up.
For more on brands staking their claim in the digital realm, download our report, "Into the Metaverse."
Main image courtesy of Facebook Horizon.