Metaverse use cases are expanding
Metaverse would impact gaming, entertainment, work collaboration, social media, virtual worlds, education and fitness in the near term, and will see additional use cases over time.
By moving to a more 3D and immersive form of the internet, the metaverse has the potential to expand opportunities for the current internet.
We highlight the use cases and current developments around some of the major areas the metaverse would impact including gaming, entertainment, work collaboration, social media, virtual worlds, education and fitness. While these are some of the current prominent use cases, given that the metaverse is an adaptation and evolution of the internet, use cases are, frankly, endless although we list some additional use cases, notably in the commercial space at the end of this section.
Gaming: Platforms to further leverage 3D immersion
Video games are expected to play a central role in the metaverse as they already build on immersive experiences with 3D graphics, VR-enabled titles, and platforms for user creativity and built-out digital goods for use in gaming. The overall market is exponential and is now at 3 bn users and projected by industry players to reach 4.5 bn by 2030.
Gaming platforms can be further unleashed with the metaverse by allowing a gamer to be embodied and moving around in the game or building out further upgrades available to other users. As compute power rises, deeper multi-player gaming can be fully enabled and eventually, a user could turn into a hologram to show up visually with someone in another location.
Entertainment: 3D virtual option opens up for film, television, and music content
The metaverse is stimulating new forms of entertainment, with a likelihood that technology eventually would allow a user to be viewed as a hologram in another place and teleport into a remote concert or party.
During the pandemic, a number of platforms developed the major use case of virtual concerts that took the place of live performances. The advantage of these concerts is they could reach far more users globally than a live venue and could also transform the singer into an avatar or the stage into a virtual environment, with special effects and opportunities for fan interaction. The concerts also formed a good platform to promote merchandising for the event.
Social: Leveraging AR/VR for connectivity and presence in the metaverse
Social media is embracing the metaverse as a way to expand connectivity with the use of AR/VR. We highlight the efforts of social media platforms as well as some of the early work by dating sites to introduce virtual engagements before meeting in the real world.
Industrial: A solution for collaborative work amid hybrid office evolution
Work in the metaverse would allow a better sense of presence, shared physical spaces, and a productive work setup in a work-from-home set-up. The work setting can allow collaboration to view a 3D design with others.
Companies are investing resources towards various products, including customisable workrooms for meetings, an office space to customise home workspace, and 2D progressive web apps to view applications and social media through VR.
Commerce: Virtual communities opening up new forms of commerce
The metaverse is also opening up a platform for commerce, with creators making digital objects, offering services and experiences, building worlds, and a place to sell both physical and digital products. The metaverse platform goal is for content that is purchased on one platform to be available on other platforms. For purchases, NFTs can be securely purchased and sold with the data stored on the blockchain.
A number of communities are setting up public spaces that can be accessed through digital means. Most of these networks use avatars to represent the users, though they vary in the digital ownership, centralisation of the platform, rules of engagement with others, ability to build and take ownership on the ecosystem vs being on a platform from one of the major social media companies and the ability to create commerce activities. Some gaming platforms have centralised environments, but several new communities are developing around decentralisation—which places ownership of goods on the blockchain and is opening up ownership and control of the rules toward decentralised policymaking.
Metaverse Other use cases
The above paragraphs detail use cases across various endmarkets and with examples of companies/applications operating within that area. Given that ‘metaverse’, in some ways, is just an adaptation/evolution of the ‘internet’, use cases are, frankly, endless.
Metaverse can help the manufacturing process significantly, particularly in the areas of design and product development, by facilitating an improved relationship and interaction between business owners, suppliers (including design companies) and customers. Such a platform can result in a rapid production process design, increase the number of product designs, lead to more collaborative product development, and potentially reduce the risk to quality control.
In addition, customers in the metaverse could have improved visibility into the supply chain process with 3D representations for how products are built, distributed, and sold. There could also be additional opportunities for manufacturers to have add-on digital-products (clothes/fashion, homes, cars) in the metaverse that resemble and mimic the real-world products.
VR also gives the chance to transform the living room, similar to how virtual sports gaming products got many off the couch to play their motion-controlled sports games. Fitness games through VR will allow more immersion and interactive training by allowing a user to work out in new worlds, playing against other users or against the machine AI.
Education took a 2D step through online learning during the pandemic but still struggled with student engagement. An upgrade to use 3D features and VR has potential to enhance the experience and engagement by allowing teachers to teleport their students to a different place or time, or into a virtual classroom, library or gymnasium with their fellow students. A headset or glasses could enable much more active exploration of history, biology, a visit to a museum in another location, or an interactive class with fellow students.
Other online VR educational applications and programmes are now cropping up. One of the companies is offering these experiences by allowing customisation of a virtual classroom and simulation of presence with virtual avatars for more interactive remote learning. The school features presentations and documents, customisable whiteboards, notifications and moveable Post-its, and live video and text.
Spatial I/O’s collaborative VR platform features iTeacher, which is architecting virtual worlds for high school education to connect on academic topics with its metaverse now having 14 different spaces to simulate different lessons.