The metaverse is one of the next big things when it comes to making digital customer experiences that are more immersive, and more and more brands are looking for ways to use it.
The only problem is that the metaverse is still a high-concept idea that isn't very clear. A recent article in the New York Times called it "During the online-everything shift of the pandemic, there was a rise in a number of virtual experiences, environments, and assets. Together, these new technologies give us a glimpse of what the internet will be like in the future."
Some people, like Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, see it as a virtual place where people can talk to each other digitally. When talking to investors, he called Facebook a "metaverse company" and said, "You can kind of think of this as an embodied internet that you're inside of rather than just looking at."
Even though some industries are still trying to figure out what the term "metaverse" means, Epic Games and Roblox are already leading the way in the games industry.
The two big names in video games are giving us ideas about what the metaverse could be like, both in terms of what it has to offer and who might use it. For example, Fortnite, which is owned by Epic Games, had a virtual concert with hip-hop artist Travis Scott that over 12 million people watched, and Roblox and Gucci worked together to make a virtual Gucci Garden where limited edition virtual bags were sold.
One bag was sold on the scalper market and sold for the game's currency, Robux, which is the same as $4,115. The price of the digital bag was $800 more than the price of the real bag.
Both brands show off the metaverse as a shared virtual space for interaction, gathering, and immersive story-telling. All of these things are very exciting for games companies that want to change customer experiences and make them better.
Gamers know more about the metaverse than almost anyone else. The online, cross-platform, free-to-play battle royal game Fortnite can be thought of as a "proto-metaverse." Millions of people play the game regularly, and they all want to go to in-world events and interact with brands in new ways.
Nike's Jordan brand and LeBron James have both released skins, which are in-game avatars and clothes. The short-lived streaming app Quibi showed its reboot of the popular prank show Punk'd for players to watch in-game.
As a platform for online games and a way to make games, Roblox lets people make their own worlds and games within its larger "metaverse." Brands like Nerf, Hot Wheels, and Sony Music are teaming up with Roblox and building their own immersive worlds to connect with customers.
Movies are also doing this. The musical In the Heights had a virtual block party in the Roblox world, which was a copy of New York City's Washington Heights.
Gamers are happy to spend money on things like skins, avatars, and virtual events. During the second quarter of 2021, the amount of $652.3 million spent on virtual currency on Roblox went up by 161%.
"People are starting to feel more connected to the digital world through things like cryptocurrencies, NFTs (non-fungible tokens), avatars, and immersive gaming experiences," Doug Scott, chief managing director of gaming and e-sports company Subnation Media, told Digiday.
"As people build up their digital identities, platforms like Roblox give the community a place to live."
The metaverse has a lot of possibilities. Each new experience, like an event, an NFT, or getting help from a player, can be re-created in-game (or in-world) to keep customers interested.
It can have no drag. Roblox's head of marketing and people experience, Barbara Messing, told Business Insider, "This isn't a simple, one-way ad. It's a great way to connect with your audience and tell a great story about your brand."
Matthew Ball, a venture capitalist and one of the most important futurists who think about the metaverse, writes that for the metaverse to grow, it needs new technologies, protocols, companies, innovations, and discoveries.
"There will be no clear "Before Metaverse" and "After Metaverse." Instead, it will come together slowly over time as different products, services, and skills merge and connect "He can tell.
New technologies like 5G will help make digital worlds work by giving them the speed and power they need. Big improvements need to be made to digital devices in order for virtual and augmented reality to work without any lag.
Haptics, which are wearables that stimulate senses like touch, will also need to be used by more people. And there needs to be more brand interest in a metaverse.
"On a fundamental level, the technology just isn't there yet for hundreds, let alone millions, of people to share the same experience at the same time," says Ball. So, we're not there yet, but gaming companies can still get ready, especially when it comes to helping players.
As the games industry uses the metaverse more and more, it's important for brands to build a strong digital customer service base. It has to be done in two ways.
Start by focusing on the people on your team. To make the player and customer experience as smooth as possible, brands will need support teams inside the metaverse that are free to talk to customers directly and on the spot.
Your player support team members need to have a certain set of skills. First, they have to be kind. Players will have questions about the metaverse because it is a whole new galaxy to explore. Kind agents will get in the cockpit with players and show them the way with patience.
Second, they must be good with technology. With the metaverse, platforms and services are connected, making a web of technologies that is getting more complicated. Agents who help players should be familiar with different kinds of technology and how they interact with each other.
Support your team with technology to take it to the next level. If a brand does this right, it will use artificial intelligence and machine learning to keep track of trends, handle certain requests, and learn more about players.
For example, it's easy to see how a conversational bot inside a game could help make the experience more immersive, guide players, and free up time for agents. Also, these technologies can be used to keep the metaverse safe from harmful or misleading content by moderating it.
A roadmap is a good idea for brands that want to get their customer service teams ready for the metaverse. Roblox CMO Messing told Business Insider that might require more creativity and thinking outside the box.
Messing says, though, that it all comes down to, "How do I want them to feel and what do I want them to remember? How can I get them to return and talk to me again?"
Games companies can also learn from collaborations like the one between Gucci and Roblox and look for ways to improve the player experience and add unique and interesting touches. Ball says that these points of contact are vital.
Just because there is a metaverse doesn't mean that it's a good place to live. Brands will be a big part of getting people into the metaverse and making it a popular place for people to get together virtually.
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