Who’s in The Metaverse?

The concept of a “metaverse” first came about over 30 years ago in a 1992 sci-fi novel Snow Crash where it existed as a virtual space parallel to the real world. Now it’s turned into a multi-billion dollar ecosystem that popular brands are eager to jump into.

The metaverse is evolving into an increasingly commercial space, where users can interact, create, buy, and sell all in a digital iteration of the real world. Just like the Internet opened the door to many new opportunities for creators and businesses alike, the transition towards the metaverse and Web 3.0 seems to have unlocked a new level of creative potential.

Although it’s still in its early stages, big brands have starting to take their position within this digital space. Let’s take a look at 10 brands that have already dipped their toes in the metaverse and what they’re up to!

1.     Meta

In October 2021, the social media platform formerly known as Facebook announced that it was rebranding itself and changing its name to Meta. This transition was the first step in publicizing their decision to pivot away from their original product and focus on bringing the metaverse to life.

Although the announcement video didn’t receive the expected reaction from viewers who were not impressed by Mark Zuckerberg’s acting skills, the company has already invested upward of $10 billion on developing the virtual reality functions within the metaverse. The CEO explained in the company’s annual Connect conference that he believes that the metaverse will be the successor to the mobile internet and that “we’ll be able to feel present – like we’re right there with people, no matter how far apart we actually are.”

The company explained that their metaverse will feel like somewhat of a hybrid of today’s online social experiences, so users can do things they wouldn’t be able to do in the physical world. With the platform and resources they have built, Meta will likely have a great impact on the development of the metaverse in the coming years.

2.     Apple

Unlike Meta that has put much of their focus into developing VR, Apple has dedicated their attention to AR, or augmented reality. The company currently has over 14,000 AR apps on its app store, and their CEO Tim Cook suggested that this number is set to increase as they continue to invest in this technology.

From what has been made public about their move towards the metaverse, their approach will see the use of glasses with AR data superimposed into the lenses for users to experience the real world and the virtual world at the same time. They have also hinted at another project to release AR headsets sometime this year or in 2023.

3.     Nike

In November 2021, Nike launched their own micro metaverse called Nikeland. This metaverse exists as a game and marketplace in Roblox where users can join in on playing tag, the floor is lava, and other activities while wearing Nike apparel. Players can even create their own game, as well as their own avatar, and interact with new friends.

In the five months since its release, the company claims that nearly 7 million visitors from around the world have checked out their metaverse store. Nike’s President and CEO, John Danahoe, even announced that LeBron James was included among this traffic and had engaged with other players during NBA All-Star Week.

4.     Warner Bros.

In collaboration with another gaming metaverse company, The Sandbox, Warner Music Group has created their own virtual world with a music theme. The company described their virtual creation as a “combination of musical theme park and concert venue” where they will be able to host concerts and other experiences focused on music. Although, their first interaction with users is set to be a sale of land parcels surrounding their own property in The Sandbox space.

This deal marks WMG’s first project in the realm of metaverse and NFTs, and is likely to kick off more projects in this space with a musical theme.

5.     Gucci

We wouldn’t put it past the Italian luxury brand to make their way into this trendy new space. In January, Gucci launched their own metaverse called the Vault alongside a collection of 10 NFTs called the “Supergucci” of animal shaped models wearing some of their most famous prints. This metaverse has been described as an “online concept store” where vintage Gucci items such as handbags and clothing will be listed.

Since then, Gucci has partnered with NFT project 10KFT to create a new virtual world described as a “New Tokyo” world with another line of virtual accessories up for sale. This project also includes a fictional character called Wagmi-San – a play on the crypto-slang word WAGMI.

6.     CVS

The pharmaceutical brand CVS Health is looking for new and modern ways to engage with their customers, including the creation of the first ever pharmacy in the metaverse. In February of this year, the company became the first major drug chain to file a patent to trademark an online store as well as downloadable prescription drugs, health, wellness, beauty, and personal care products in the form of NFTs.

CVS also plans to provide health services in AR/VR format to improve their consumer experience. Some of these services will include wellness programs, lifestyle nutrition advising and counselling.

7.     Microsoft

As an update to their popular video conferencing tool, Microsoft Teams, the company is developing a new feature called “Mesh.” This new tool allows users to collaborate virtually with 3D avatars and photorealistic versions of themselves to give the impression that all members are physical present in the room. This update is to be used with HoloLens, Microsoft’s “mixed reality” smartglasses that use holograms to display information that blends seamlessly into the real world.

8.     Hyundai

At the 2022 Consumer Electronics Show conference in Vegas, Hyundai presented the concept for their new metaverse project called “Metamobility.” This project seeks to connect the metaverse and the real world with robotics under a theme of “Expanding Human Reach.” The goal of this project is to go beyond traditional transportation methods to help individuals “fulfill unlimited freedom of movement.”

While the details have not yet been made clear, it seems that this technology will be able to reflect changes made in the metaverse into the real world.

9.     Coca-Cola

If you’ve ever wondered what space tastes like, you may want to check out a new flavour of Coca-Cola called “Starlight.” This new drink is part of a limited-edition collection of flavours and virtual experiences set to bridge the gap between the physical and digital world. As part of this collection, the brand is also launching a new flavour that is claims was “born in the metaverse” called Coca-Cola Zero Sugar Byte. The company describes its taste as bringing the “flavour of pixels to life” and claims that this drink “transcends the digital and physical worlds.”

This launch was accompanied by a series of immersive AR experiences to introduce fans to the new beverage and interact with other players in the metaverse.

10.  Amazon

Are you looking to build on your computer skills? Look no further! Amazon has launched a virtual role-playing game with the goal of teaching new computer skills to its users. The game called AWS Cloud Quest is a virtual space where players are tasked with using cloud solutions to help build on their metaverse space.

It seems that Amazon’s step into the metaverse won’t end here. It has been reported based on job postings through LinkedIn that the company is hiring more staff members that will specialize in the development of their activities in the metaverse.

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