Major Brands Beginning to Test the Metaverse Waters
The Metaverse Is Not Ready Yet
Brands from Vans to Verizon (VZ) are all-in with the metaverse, pouring money and effort into what Meta Platforms (FB) is betting will be the next big thing for the internet. Companies are often reluctant to chase the latest tech idea out of the gate, but Meta has pledged to spend $10 billion on the metaverse, leading brands to feel confident that it will become a reality.
As it stands, Meta’s metaverse is still five to 10 years away from being fully realized. In this virtual world, people will be able to create avatars of themselves, play games, buy virtual products and services, and interact with other people. Video game platform Roblox (RBLX) is leading the way, already hosting concerts and other branding opportunities on its virtual platform.
All About Brand Building
Major brands are not selling anything in the metaverse yet. Rather, they are using platforms like Roblox to build awareness among consumers. Companies are targeting consumers in the 13 to 35 range, trying to be present wherever this demographic is hanging out, both online and offline.
For example, Chipotle (CMG) ran its Halloween burrito giveaway in Roblox’s metaverse this year. Chipotle said it is interested in testing selling items in Roblox. Meanwhile, Vans rolled out a virtual skate park in Roblox earlier this year. Users can try out skateboards and earn points which can be used for virtual clothing and skateboard customizations.
Brands Look to Fortnite and Minecraft
Verizon is also testing the metaverse waters with Fortnite, the popular multiplayer video game. Verizon created a virtual stadium in Fortnite prior to the 2021 Super Bowl.
Many major brands are rushing to invest in the metaverse, but critics worry the market won’t take off as advertisers hope. They point to Second Life, a virtual world launched in 2003 by Linden Labs, as a cautionary tale. It debuted to great fanfare but never really caught on with users.
Still, brands are betting the metaverse will be different. After all, it’s being developed at a time when consumers are more used to living in virtual worlds. It also doesn’t hurt that Meta is pouring billions of dollars into developing it.
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