The State Of Metaverse 2022 | Challenges & Opportunities

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The tech world is always full of jargon and buzzwords, and one that has been making waves in the news recently is “The State Of Metaverse”. The word itself has captured the imagination of practically everyone in the world, from tech giants and venture capitalists to everyday people like us. 

In what seems like a chapter of a classic science fiction book, we’ve arrived at the metaverse, one of the results of technology’s continuous evolution. Years of innovation have brought the onset of increasingly virtual worlds, accessed through games that leverage cryptocurrencies or non-fungible tokens (NFTs), social networks, and augmented reality applications. These, along with other tech and digital innovations, have spurred the growth and expansion of a virtual world. 

The metaverse, while still in the relatively early stages of development, is an all-encompassing virtual world that covers not only games, such as Fortnite, Minecraft, and Roblox, modern tech, and mobile internet, but also marketing and finance. 

But what is the metaverse? How can you get there—is there a roadmap or a set of directions to follow, or would you only need auxiliary gadgets to access what could potentially be the world of the future? How can it potentially reshape the world as we know it? 

The State Of Metaverse:

  • Emerging Trends that are Shaping the Metaverse
  • Challenges in the Metaverse
  • The Metaverse—No Longer the Stuff of Science Fiction
  • Frequently Asked Questions

Emerging Trends That Are Shaping The Metaverse:

What makes the metaverse what it is? How do trends in technology and society play a role in shaping future versions of the metaverse? What trends are coming out as this new world continues to develop? Let’s take a look at some of the trends that are shaping and are influenced by the metaverse.

Marketing

State Marketing

From a marketing perspective, 93% of global consumers think that technology is the future, while 76% say that they depend on tech in their daily lives. 

Tech is one of the factors paving the way for the acceptance and adoption of the metaverse. Below are some of the emerging trends identified in the Wunderman Thompson Intelligence report:

Virtual Possessions

Virtual Possessions

Emerging consumer trends are cropping up as the metaverse continues to evolve. 

Consumers are increasingly recreating semblances of their real lives in digital worlds, replicating everyday actions and routines, such as joining a meeting or exploring their environment. 

Given the replication of our real-world habits, it’s predicted that there will be a rise in virtual possessions, like digital houses or clothing. One example is The Fabricant, a digital fashion house that specializes in digital couture. 

As consumers begin to attribute high value to their digital possession, this encourages new business models, such as the direct-to-avatar (D2A) model, to emerge. 

Gamevertising

The State Of Metaverse: Gamevertising

As the metaverse develops, there’s going to be an increase in in-game advertising, with brands creating branded presences in games like Fortnite and Roblox, both of which showcase metaverse elements. 

Many brands are teaming up with game developers to create environments where their products are featured in games. Balenciaga, for example, came up with Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow, a game where players explore a futuristic world populated by characters wearing Balenciaga goods. 

Digital-Twin Stores

Digital-Twin Stores

A digital twin is essentially a digital replica of an object found in the physical world. 

Brands are shuffling to create digital-twin stores and deliver a more engaging shopping experience through augmented shopping. And while these digital-twin stores only exist in the virtual realm, unlike physical spaces, they’re borderless, allowing their creators to offer more unique experiences that are unlikely to happen in real life. 

Megatrends are also playing a major role in how the metaverse pans out. Let’s look at three megatrends that are influencing the current state of the metaverse.

Challenges in the Metaverse:

Yes, the metaverse is promising but like any other world, real or digital, it comes with its own set of challenges. 

As of now, the metaverse is a gray area—it’s not exactly a good thing or a bad thing. It resides in a spectrum where it has the potential to either be useful or harmful to those who engage in it. However, given that it’s still in its early stages and is rapidly evolving, this creates new challenges. 

Legal 

Legal 

We’ve already established that the metaverse is a virtual realm where many real-world actions are emulated, such as purchasing property or checking out goods. 

The metaverse is a space that brings people together. And while it allows them to connect and build relationships, it can also make them vulnerable if no legislation or virtual jurisdiction is established. 

Another legal issue that can crop up is intellectual property ownership. If creations are made by AI they may not be given intellectual property protection because for a work to be considered copyrightable, it must originate from a human being. 

Content creators on the metaverse may also find it difficult to protect their intellectual property, given the difficulty of tracking instances of copyright infringement in the virtual realm. 

Identity

Identity

When a vicious storm breaks out in the Nevada desert, 10 people seek refuge in an isolated motel. At the same time, a serial killer (Pruitt Taylor Vince) under the care of psychiatrist Doctor Mallick (Alfred Molina) –

– who has just found the killer’s revealing journal — awaits execution for murdering a group of motel guests. When the storm-stranded travelers realize they are being killed off one by one, limo driver Ed Dakota (John Cusack) bids to stay alive and reveal the murderer’s identity.

In the metaverse there are questions like “Are you your avatar?” or “How can you prove you are who you are?” Aside from having a potential problem with ethics, you’d also be facing challenges concerning identity authentication or verification when you’re in it. 

Data

Data

How will your data be used in the metaverse? Is the metaverse just another clever ploy by tech giants to get more data? There’s concern over how the virtual world can potentially foster an environment where abuse of data and misinformation is rampant. 

There’s also the issue of how having control of data can help certain companies control markets. 

Furthermore, will the current security systems be able to keep up with data and security issues in the metaverse? The metaverse is a unique environment that requires new security methods to protect its users’ data and privacy. 

Ownership

People are buying virtual properties or purchasing NFT art, fuelling the growth of digital assets and tokens. 

Ownership

While almost everyone is free to purchase and own digital assets in the metaverse, two major challenges arise: how ownership rights can be granted for creators of digital assets and how ownership of digital assets in the metaverse can be verified. 

One of the major problems with the current metaverse experience is how it creates fragmentation. This fragmented ecosystem leads to the creation of siloed experiences that ultimately restrict what’s supposed to be an immersive experience. 

To create a virtual world that offers seamless experiences, we must go back to Matthew Ball’s definition of the metaverse as a network of interoperable experiences. In a fully-realized metaverse, fragmented ecosystems are bridged to create one virtual environment that’s characterized by the interoperation of each component or aspect. 

The Metaverse—No Longer the Stuff of Science Fiction:

We’re inching our way toward the future and many of the things and concepts we previously thought were only limited to sci-fi and fantasy novels are now slowly being brought to life with continuous innovation in different fields. 

As the metaverse continues to develop, we’re seeing a glimpse of a richer, more borderless world that’s full of promise. However, while this new world continues to expand, we have to be aware of the set of challenges it brings with every new development. 

To make this new world a safer one, we must take into account how we can address these challenges so we can continue to make strides toward progress. 

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