State of the Industry
Right now the metaverse is experiencing some growing pains. While the digital world of avatars and augmented reality carries a good deal of intrigue, the broader tech sector is struggling at present. This is largely driven by the rising-rate environment and the market’s diminished appetite for risk.
This trend has predictably led to some recent struggles for companies like Roblox Corp. (RBLX), which went public last year in what many have called the first metaverse IPO. Facebook parent Meta Platforms (META) has also faced challenges as it transitions from social media to the metaverse. But those issues aside, companies aren’t being shy about paying big salaries when it comes to bringing in executives tasked with managing the metaverse division.
If the metaverse is still a bit mysterious, one thing most people can agree on is that it’s got upside. The general growth of online experiences observed in the past 20 years suggests an immersive 3D world connected with other users could be more than a passing fad. To that point, analysts at Gartner Inc. (IT) predicts one in four people will spend at least an hour in the metaverse by 2026.
That type of engagement translates to big dollars, both in terms of things like ecommerce sales and digital advertising. Mckinsey & Co. consultants predict the global metaverse could reach upwards of $5 trillion by the end of the decade.
Part of the reason companies are willing to pay high salaries to chief metaverse officers is the fear of getting left behind. Larger tech firms such as Amazon (AMZN) have the potential to steamroll smaller outfits as the metaverse potentially grows. Advertising agencies and metaverse operators want to convince major players like Walmart (WMT), Target (TGT), Nestle (NSRGY), and others that the digital landscape has upside.
Most metaverse executives are being hired because they have a deep knowledge of things like augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR). A strong background in sales and marketing are also key. Generally speaking, they’re looking to win over metaverse skeptics. To date, companies such as Procter & Gamble (PG), Crate & Barrel, and Creative Artists Agency (TPG) have all hired chief metaverse executives.
Advertising giant Publicis Groupe SA (PUBGY) went a different direction with Leon. Even though he has an email address, French accent, and LinkedIn (MSFT) profile, he doesn’t earn a salary. That’s because he’s a digital avatar the company created and introduced at a tech conference in Paris. Of course a digital guide operating entirely within a digital world is decidedly – meta.
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