While the Metaverse may sound like something found within the pages of an obscure science-fiction novel, it is poised to become a central part of our everyday lives.
In the past half-decade, and particularly since the pandemic, there have been radical changes underway in the tech industry. One of the most significant developments is Facebook’s transformation into Meta, a name-change reflective of its transition from the familiar social media platform to a revolutionary new augmented reality platform called the Metaverse.
This transition has not been without its difficulties, however. Facebook’s name change has not been accompanied by an instantaneous change in its services: the Metaverse is still in development, and Meta has suffered substantial losses since its inception. According to CEO Mark Zuckerberg, these costs have largely been the result of laying the groundwork for the mainstream adoption of such radically new technology. To understand why this is so, and what the Metaverse’s widespread adoption might mean for marketing and UX professionals, it will be helpful to get clearer on exactly what technologies Meta has in the works.
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Things are Getting Meta
As a hybrid of cutting-edge advances in virtual reality (VR) augmented reality (AR), the Metaverse is poised to change what we mean by the “digital world”. No longer an external platform accessed through the medium of a computer or smartphone, the Metaverse is an immersive virtual world in which users are able to experience everything from live in-person events to virtual global expeditions.
The unprecedented level of immersion promised by the Metaverse will profoundly alter the way users work and play. We have already seen how the music and video gaming industries are being integrated and transformed by new digital technologies, and these kinds of hybrid events are only the beginning. As the Metaverse grows and develops, UX designers and marketing professionals will find themselves at the forefront of this exciting new frontier.
Perspective is Everything
The very idea of the Metaverse can be overwhelming to some, but UX designers will need to approach it with courage and creativity. The internet currently hosts 4.8 billion users globally, meaning that any profound changes to its infrastructure will have far-reaching impacts. Those who wish to establish themselves as leaders in this space should consider adjusting their perspective on design: the Metaverse will not just be a platform for “users”, but an immersive digital environment for people.
To provide the best possible experience, UX designers need to level up their design game and think about how to create programs that people want to become immersed in. The Metaverse will allow for a more elevated and sophisticated level of interaction than the present internet, giving marketers and UX designers more tools at their disposal than ever before. Giving players a sense of agency and adventure by designing interactive environments that they are able to discover for themselves will help redefine what we mean by “engagement”.
Moreover, the more complex and lifelike social interactions made possible by the Metaverse will give an edge to designers who incorporate ethical and accessible design, cutting-edge research, collaboration, empathy and user advocacy into their digital worlds. Making seemingly complex activities such as digital real estate and NFT transactions easy and intuitive will massively increase user engagement. While it may seem like a video game, the Metaverse is more like a virtual society, and those who approach it with this mindset will help make it a flourishing, vibrant place to be.
The New Reality of Marketing
Consumers are making a clear shift towards Augmented Reality platforms as digital social interactions become increasingly sophisticated and life-like. As futuristic as the Metaverse sounds, the rules of our universe still apply, including the law of supply and demand. Tracking the increased demand for complete digital-social immersion is pivotal for marketers looking to supply cutting-edge products and experiences.
Grasping the potential of the Metaverse is likely to be a game changer for the savvy marketer. Exposure and sales–the ultimate goal of any marketing company–are the likely outcomes for those who align themselves with a technology that is poised to transform nearly every industry on the planet. Best of all, the potential for growth resulting from this technology is extraordinary.
The key demographic to consider here is Gen Z, 87% of whom are already engaged with Metaverse platforms. This generation is not yet at its full earning power and has massive potential as future consumers. As an example, in 2021, a London start-up named Dimension Studio saw profits double after experimenting with UX marketing in the Metaverse. By creating immersive designs integrated with clever consumer content that “virtually” draws the consumer in, they were able to boost customer engagement. Balenciega’s Afterworld Game is another great example of this strategy, as it netted the company $6.5 million in revenue. These major successes were driven by UX and marketing professionals who rose to creatively meet the challenges posed by this entirely new environment.
Forging A New Path
It should not be altogether surprising that the transition into the Metaverse has not been an instantaneous one. A technology this different from anything we have seen before will take some time to achieve mainstream adoption.
Still, the demand for virtual immersion and augmented reality is already substantial and will only continue to grow. Both UX designers and marketers in general will need to immerse themselves in the Metaverse if they wish to be the drivers of this growth. Those paying attention to these trends might want to put a new spin on an old mantra: “All roads lead to Meta”.
About Patrick Parker
Patrick Parker is a five-time tech founder and the CEO of SaaS Partners. From business ideation to product development to building scalable marketing strategies, SaaS Partners is a support system and launch pad for entrepreneurs.
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