Hyperbole, hype and hope? Trillions of reasons why the metaverse matters
- Let’s start at the beginning: Protiviti defines the metaverse as “an immersive, collaborative virtual world that exists as physical and virtual objects converge.”
- Some forecasts have put the metaverse’s overall global economic impact as high as $15 trillion by 2030. Hyperbole, hype and hope? Maybe, but there’s some smart people and significant brands betting on its success.
- Business leaders will need to know how to invest both capital and resources, how to formulate both short- and long-term strategies and how to measure ROI, calculate risk and navigate regulation along with the more basic blocking and tackling that’s required with any new product or service.
Ever since Steven Spielberg put the metaverse on the mainstream map in 2018 with his science-fiction adventure film, Ready Player One, based on Ernest Cline's novel of the same name, there has been a slow but steady drumbeat of momentum building around the potential and possibilities of this brave, new, immersive world. Sure, the metaverse had been talked about long before 2018, but once Spielberg made a metaverse movie, more than just the gamers noticed.
Never mind that the film portrayed a very bleak future of humanity in 2045; Steven Spielberg, of all people, was talking about the metaverse, or at least a facsimile of it. Like sharks in ‘75 and aliens in ‘82, the metaverse was building a buzz with the Spielberg stamp of approval. For many, and for people of a certain age, Ready Player One was their first, and perhaps only, foray into the virtual worlds where avatars are the stars, and tech companies jumped in to capitalize on the opportunity.
The virtual world had a reality check in late 2022 when Meta—Facebook’s new bold name—laid off some 13% of its workforce. More big tech firms followed with similar moves that left many wondering if the metaverse is more hyperbole and hype than the next big thing.
While it’s impossible to say for sure, most experts, and all the ones we’ve talked to, expect it to be big—game-changing big. Some forecasts have put the metaverse’s overall global economic impact as high as $15 trillion (nearly $2,000 for each person the world today) by 2030. Hyperbole, hype and hope? Maybe, but some smart people and significant brands are betting big on its success, and it’s safe to say Web 3 will not be Y2K. There are, literally, trillions of reasons why the metaverse matters.
With all that in mind and more, VISION by Protiviti goes boldly where we’ve never gone before—Into the Metaverse. We set out to answer a host of questions, including the most basic one: What is the metaverse? But also, who is using it and how? What is its potential? What technologies will enable it? When will it truly be mainstream? Is it being overhyped or underrated? How will companies make money in the metaverse? Should you have a metaverse strategy? And ultimately, how will the metaverse impact global business in 2030 and beyond?
Let’s start at the beginning: Protiviti defines the metaverse as “an immersive, collaborative virtual world that exists as physical and virtual objects converge.” Basically, a future version of the internet where users interact with virtual environments and digital representations of real people in an immersive and tangible way. Others define it in other ways that are too varied and complex to include here. But we break it all down, including the players, the predictions, and the prognosis in “Metaverse 2030: Defining the ‘next internet’ and finding ways for business to thrive in it.” As you begin to navigate the theme, that story is a great place to start.
In this feature story, we reference several of the planet’s leading metaverse voices, including Matthew Ball, CEO of Epyllion and author of The Metaverse: And How It Will Revolutionize Everything. We interviewed Ball and he tells us what could go right and what could go wrong in a metaverse future. Exclusive to VISION subscribers is a longer conversation with Ball where we take a deeper dive into how the metaverse will disrupt traditional business models and legacy brands and which sector he thinks will be most positively impacted by the metaverse when all is said and done.
Some forecasts have put the metaverse’s overall global economic impact as high as $15 trillion (nearly $2,000 for each person in the world today) by 2030.
We also talk with Dexter Thillien of The Economist Intelligence Unit, the research arm of The Economist, who shares the metaverse takeaways from the EUI’s Telecoms and Technology Outlook 2023 report. And we ask Luke Franks, one of the brightest metaverse minds and host of the wildly popular Welcome to the Metaverse podcast, about his rare digital sneaker collection and NFT horse racing stables, among other things. We find out how Mauro Guillén, Dean of the Judge School of Business at Cambridge University, envisions education’s future in the “learning metaverse.”
Half a world away, Winston Ma, an attorney and expert on China, explores China’s effort to go “all in” on the metaverse and how that could, ultimately, threaten U.S. tech supremacy. In Hong Kong, we check in with Matt Friedman, CEO of the Mekong Club, on building a “metaverse for good” with an ethical foundation and how NGOs can help.
There’s plenty more, including tech visionary Edgar Perez who says there are business lessons to be learned from gaming; Julie Tregurtha, a VP with Coupa, whose advice is to follow the customers; and Jennifer Vessels, CEO of Next Step, who examines how we’ll work in the metaverse.
That’s just the beginning. VISION by Protiviti will be rolling out new metaverse content each week through June 2023. In all, we’ll publish more than 30 pieces of content and insights around the metaverse. This is just the first chapter of a story we’re still writing… and researching. We just got a sneak peek at some data from our co-branded Protiviti-Oxford executive survey about the metaverse future, and global business leaders have some interesting things to say. Look for that story and the full VISION by Protiviti-Oxford survey in the coming weeks.
We’ll have plenty more metaverse content and questions to answer around its evolution, the emerging technologies that will enable it, the hardware required to access it, concerns with safety, security and privacy and how all that impacts its adoption.
Our goal is to prepare business leaders—and ourselves—for the emerging metaverse with the insights of established metaverse experts and visionaries. Hopefully, these insights will help leaders make informed decisions about how to formulate both short- and long-term strategies, how much capital and resources to invest, and how to measure ROI, calculate risk and navigate regulation along with the more basic blocking and tackling required with any new product or service. Predicting the future of the metaverse is impossible, but over the next several months we’ll give it our best shot, and we invite you to come along with us on this journey into the great unknown. Don’t worry, our vision of the future won’t be quite as bleak as the one Spielberg and Kline envisioned for 2045, but let’s explore it together. Are you ready, player one?
Source: Deutsche Bank report, Metaverse – The next e-commerce revolution.