There are big hopes for the emerging metaverse but forecasters and specialists differ when it comes to timing and importance. Two new reports from the World Economic Forum say the metaverse’s full potential will take time but to benefit from it, public and private sectors have to plan for it today.
“While the metaverse’s full potential will likely unfold in the coming decade, its current nascent stage offers great opportunity to individuals and organizations to position themselves clearly in a newly emerging world.”
“As education and understanding drive equitable adoption and value distribution, it is essential that the public and private sectors create a deep understanding of the metaverse, its components, implications and economic models today.”
“This nascent stage of the metaverse offers an unprecedented opportunity to build better, more equitable and just worlds that may greatly impact current physical reality.”
A majority of experts in a recent Pew Research survey predicts that by 2040, the metaverse will for a half billion people or more globally be a well-functioning part of daily life.
The WEF reports say that growth drivers and emerging technologies require further development and innovation to enable meaningful metaverse engagement and interaction.
These drivers include metaverse-ready networks, software, hardware infrastructure and AI.
“Individuals and businesses must find their role within the metaverse economy and clearly define their metaverse strategy, goals and target group to ensure meaningful value exchange and distribution in augmented or immersive worlds. They must evaluate their current offerings, appropriately translate them into metaverse environments, or allow disruption of their business models.”
- While it currently is difficult to define the metaverse, its main distinguishing components are highlighted to be social interaction, identity, multilateral value exchange and distribution, and a degree of immersion.
- Impacted by wider society – organizations and individuals can take on one or multiple roles in the metaverse, from being participants to creators or providers.
- The role of individual creators will be amplified in the metaverse. Technologies such as AI and blockchain, will support this amplification. An evolving creator economy will influence value distribution in the metaverse greatly and offer far-reaching opportunities for businesses and individuals, but it will also pose challenges when approached incorrectly.
- Eight economic models were identified to drive value in the metaverse, including digital products and assets, access and influence, immersive commerce, payments and currency, asset monetization, advertising and marketing, the creator economy, and metaverse-native services.
- A selection of six drivers of metaverse growth and adoption were identified, including metaverse-ready networks, realistic avatars, infrastructure, governance, standards and regulation, ownership and artificial intelligence.
The reports say that to enable responsible metaverse interoperability, stakeholders must consider technical, usage and jurisdictional aspects:
- Technical interoperability design addresses topics such as network constraints, asset ownership, intellectual property protections, payments, identity, data privacy and security concerns at both hardware and software levels.
- Meanwhile, usage interoperability keeps users at the centre of design, creating the metaverse globally, inclusively and across demographics to ensure equitable experiences.
- Jurisdictional interoperability must include best practices and standards for the entire data supply chain and across localities, industries and nations.