Science fiction movies and books have given all of us ideas about what kind of world we will live in in the future: a world with flying cars, a simulation led by robots, or a colony in space. It is unknown what awaits the real world. But we are now transitioning into an era where we can create virtual worlds and create all the conditions we see in movies. Moreover, these worlds promise a change that will redefine our horizon in the field of marketing.
Imagine a universe where everyone freely communicates with whomever they want, under whatever conditions they like. It is a universe where we can take our place in three dimensions by transforming our avatar into a body, just like entering the program you watch on television with a single button. It's not limited to a video game where we follow a particular story and more than a social network with which we can communicate; it’s Metaverse.
Although it sounds like a new concept, the term Metaverse and its philosophy have been in our lives for a long time. The traces of the word Metaverse can be traced back to the book "Snow Crash" written by Neal Stephenson in 1992. Ideas of alternative universes where people can experience different feelings have also long been in the culture of humankind. However, the word got its current meaning in Mark Zuckerberg's speech during the rebranding of Facebook products under the name Meta.
Metaverse can be explained as virtual mini universes created by blending various technologies. In these mini universes, it is possible to find every environment you can enter in real life and more.
You can go shopping in a clothing store and try on clothes you can buy for your digital avatar or yourself. In one universe, you may find a classroom where you are trained face-to-face, while in another universe, you may come across friends fighting hard in a game. In the quiet parts of the Metaverse, you can design a unique virtual space where you can breathe and rest.
You can even redesign the apartment you live in. In the Metaverse, universes advertised as a second world where you can buy an exact copy of real-world lands have also been created, and a significant amount of investment has been made in these virtual lands.
So to see the Metaverse as a gaming console or a social media network would rather underestimate its potential.
Many people see the Metaverse as a continuation of the development that brought us to the internet. You can compare Metaverse's alternative realities to websites, applications, software, or many tools that enter our world via the internet.
A firm or organisation does not own Metaverse. For this reason, it continues to develop with the common knowledge of the whole world. Just as the internet has inevitably changed us all, it seems likely that the Metaverse can do the same.
We can understand that important brands also think the same from their significant investments in Metaverse. In 2021, Meta announced a $50 million investment package, which it expresses as its responsibility for Metaverse.
Likewise, Epic Games has created a $1 billion fund to shape the company's vision for the virtual environment. They stated that they would strive to make their games an experience for the Metaverse.
The Epic Games Team said they would seek to make their games an experience for the Metaverse. And they organised a Travis Scott concert for the Metaverse through their video game called Fortnite. The performance of Travis Scott's avatar received 45 million in-game views. Considering the large player base of their games, we can consider that this is a cultural investment as well as a financial one. Because the spread of such events can radically change our art culture.
Apart from these two examples, many companies from different sectors continue their investments to serve over Metaverse. If these investments continue and the Metaverse turns into a shared experience area for the whole world, it will likely shape the future.
Although the definition of mini virtual universes makes you think of portals to digital worlds, there are very physical requirements to enter the Metaverse. You need augmented reality glasses or VR headsets for the full experience. When you use this equipment together with devices that offer powerful hardware, such as phones and computers, you can enter the created universes.
To improve the quality of the experience, the development of VR equipment continues intensively. In addition, a great effort is being made to develop additional products that can interact with your body and create a physical experience. If the developments continue and result in success, an experience much closer to real-life will be possible.
Metaverse is developing rapidly and is starting to take up more space in our lives. However, it can also add new problems to existing threats to personal rights and social life.
Currently, the issue of protection and processing of personal data causes many discussions. Metaverse allows our physical and behavioural characteristics to be analysed and converted into data on a much more deep level. It becomes tough to protect this data in an environment that stands out with its decentralisation.
At the same time, disturbing social interactions and the impact of these interactions on people is another concern. It is clear that we can encounter many dangerous social behaviours within a much more physical and realistic experience. To overcome these threats, companies need to invest heavily in cybersecurity. However, since securing the Metaverse is not the responsibility of a single company, it is necessary to find solutions that will keep all users safe.
Besides the advanced virtual banking services, the close relationship of the Metaverse with decentralised currencies creates economic opportunities. Metaverse also creates opportunities for many companies to interact with their users directly. Of course, organisations are making moves to take advantage of these opportunities.
For example, some retail companies provide the opportunity to shop in the virtual environment through their Metaverse concept stores. After the purchased products are paid for with a digital wallet, they are sent to your home physically. Some companies create virtual showrooms for the customer to perceive better what the products they sell actually look like. The structure of Metaverse, which brings together the user and the product very closely, creates a very wide pool of possibilities for marketing.
Some of the agreements made by the game platform Roblox, which has a significant audience on the Metaverse, give an idea about how much these possibilities can expand. An adventure universe called Mobility Adventure created by Hyundai, a sports game universe called NIKELAND created by Nike, and the Gucci Garden exhibition universe created by Gucci took their place in the Metaverse through Roblox.
Many opportunities, such as collaboration options between companies and virtual world platforms, hundreds of areas that allow advertising, and events that don't create a significant financial burden but reach a massive audience, may create the possibility of a complete change in the marketing industry and marketing strategies.
Interactive content possibilities within the Metaverse can breathe new life into content marketing. New search engines to be created for the Metaverse can bring brand new SEO principles to the industry. New social media platforms may emerge, and paid advertising and social media marketing strategies specific to these platforms may be created.
Like the journey from traditional marketing to digital marketing, virtual marketing can change the marketing industry forever.