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New businesses need to be aware of the Metaverse

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by Startacus Admin


The Metaverse - what is it and why should we care? Dario Betti, CEO of the Mobile Ecosystem Forum, shares insights on just that...

Like Thanos, the Metaverse is inevitable. Unlike Thanos, that’s not a bad thing. But it is a thing many new businesses will need to keep an eye on. The Metaverse is a virtual digital world where interconnected platforms replicate and improve real life experiences or create new digital and hybrid services. And while it won’t happen in the next few weeks or months, our every-day lives are likely to be different in a few years because of it.

andres-siimon-1hU0nYatcLE-unsplash.Imagine moving from the two-dimensional experience of a web browser screen to a three-dimensional virtual world where people, businesses, services can create a new presence or identity. You—technically, your ‘avatar’—would move across the different shops, offices, theatres, meeting places in the Metaverse. The avatar will be able to talk with others, listen to concerts, buy items, conduct meetings and work, all without the need to be physically anywhere in particular. A lot of this is available today as virtual services without the new 3D interface (web conferences, video channels, e-commerce site).

It should also be noted that many of these three-dimensional worlds already exist in the form of games: Second Life, Minecraft, and Roblox are good examples of virtual games turned into virtual worlds.

How would you navigate in this new world? Possibly by voice assistants (rather than URL addresses) and using Virtual Reality headsets or Augmented Reality interfaces (that will superimpose virtual objects on a smartphone screen pointing at the area next to you.

In the future, rather than VR headsets people might be able to see holograms in front of them, and thanks to Web 3.0 the elements of digital currency (blockchain) and AI assistants will help navigation.

The Moneyverse

Look at what other big players are doing, and it shows that the Metaverse is a big thing. Facebook has changed its corporate name in honour of the new trend. Microsoft’s CEO acknowledged that their latest and largest acquisition (the game maker Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion) was a side bet in games but also a bigger step towards the Metaverse, and the next Internet.

The history of these two companies shows something: they were slow to adapt to new technologies. And now they do not seem to want to miss the next evolution. Microsoft underplayed the Internet at first and had to manage an expensive (and very successful) turnround. Facebook was also too slow to pick up the mobile internet, and it had to acquire emerging competitors such as WhatsApp and Instagram that were threatening to eclipse the social network via their mobile apps. Facebook is looking for a new growth story too, as its core business enters a level of maturity (user acquisition and usage in the social network is flattening). Both companies seem to have learnt the lessons, and do not what to miss the boat on this particular evolution of the Internet.

/shubham-dhage-IlUq1ruyv0Q-unsplashThe list of companies offering a flavour of the Metaverse is growing. Google is working on a Metaverse updated version of its interactive glasses. Epic Games has raised $1bn to support their internal development of a Metaverse.

Where we are

We do not have a ‘Metaverse’ yet, but many companies seem to love its potential and are happy to join in. Get ready for a long list of companies that want to build the new web interface: HyperVerse, Sandbox, Decentraland, Naka, Nakamoto, MetaHero, Star Atlas, Bloktopia, Roblox, Stageverse and Spatial are some of the names you will encounter. Few will still be here in three years’ time – many will be bought, merged, or abandoned.

The real innovation will arrive when, either a platform will become dominant, or when a global virtual standard will take place. Neither seems to be close.

Navigating the Metaverse today is a traditional experience. To enter Nike’s ‘Metaverse’ experience in Roblox you need to download the Roblox app, search for Nike (by typing) and then clicking on a 2D picture of Nike showing in the results. After that you will be able to play a basketball game against other real players. There are still a lot of old-fashioned web/app interactions in the early Metaverse experiences. New models and interface modes are needed to bring a new fresh experience. Otherwise, the Metaverse will die after a short gimmick-laden life.

Payments were not built for the web, and while credit cards are now commonly used this is another after-thought with shortcomings. The concept of web 3.0 would often include a reference to ‘Crypto Currency’, or more simply digital currencies. In fact, most metaverse platforms have built their own blockchain currency in their system. There is more work to be done there to clarify the legal compliance and security for most of these. The multiple attempts by Facebook to create a global digital currency (Libra/Diem) were crashed by local and global regulations. It takes more than a blockchain solution to create a digital currency: the legal framework for real digital money does not yet exist.


So, while the Metaverse future isn’t here just yet, a new wave of usability improvements is coming, which will change the way we experience the Internet. These might not replace the web as we know it, but they will complement and expand it. We have time to understand, plan, test and deliver a new experience.

You should consider the importance of digitalisation of your value creation: how can AI and blockchain support a new customer experience or production efficacy? How can a better digital payment better support your transactions? How can you secure the digital identity (or identities) of your business and your customers?

These are exciting questions worth asking.

1da6ee5a-2024-4e32-a5ed-739021ab06cdABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dario Betti is CEO of MEF (Mobile Ecosystem Forum) a global trade body established in 2000 and headquartered in the UK with members across the world. As the voice of the mobile ecosystem, it focuses on cross-industry best practices, anti-fraud and monetisation. The Forum provides its members with global and cross-sector platforms for networking, collaboration and advancing industry solutions.


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Published on: 4th April 2022

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