By renaming itself Meta Platforms, Facebook has intensified the race for supremacy in the so-called metaverse. Until this radical step by the leading social network, only a few technology-crazy people could imagine anything about it. In the meantime, however, the metaverse is on everyone’s lips. In the investment community, too.
The outlines are visible
Facebook and group CEO Mark Zuckerberg are very serious about it. The group was ready to change its name. And this after this could be built up in recent years to a billion-dollar brand. Instead, the renaming to Meta Platforms made it clear where the journey is to go in the future. At Facebook, the Metaverse is seen as a natural continuation of the development of the Internet. After desktop PCs and the World Wide Web, the Internet became mobile. At the same time, photos were added to texts, and later videos. In the next step, the group talks about immersion and an embodied Internet, where Internet users immerse themselves in the experience and don’t just look at it. This is what Facebook calls metaverse.
The group has entered a new phase of connected virtual
Experiences with technologies like virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR) in mind. According to Facebook, people in the Metaverse will be able to do almost anything they can imagine – meet with friends and family, work, learn, play, shop, create things – as well as have entirely new experiences that don’t fit our idea of computers or phones today. Still, for many, the Metaverse remains a rather vague concept. In the investment community, an essay by venture capitalist Matthew Ball currently serves as the primary guide to the metaverse. This was published on January 13, 2020 under the title “The Metaverse: What It Is, Where to Find It, Who Will Build It, and Fortnite.”
Right at the beginning, it says that technology as a whole would always produce surprises that no one would have predicted, but the biggest developments would be anticipated decades in advance. He cites the World Wide Web and streaming services like Netflix as examples. Accordingly, the outlines of future solutions would be understood and visible long before they were technically feasible. Nevertheless, he says, it is often impossible to predict which aspects of new technologies will end up being more or less important, or which governance models or competitive dynamics will drive them. We would now find ourselves at a similar point in the case of the Metaverse.
Meta Platforms hopes for first-mover advantages.
In Facebook’s ideal vision, the Metaverse is even expected to help drive the global energy transition. Imagine a hologram that would allow people to teleport to an office, concert or friends’ living room without commuting. In this way, everyone would reduce their carbon footprint by spending less time in traffic. The goals are ambitious. In 2030, Facebook wants to welcome 1 billion users in the Metaverse. In addition, an entire economy is to develop, generating a digital trade volume of hundreds of billions of U.S. dollars.
This should create new jobs, for example for programmers and developers. Just how serious Facebook is about the Metaverse project for the future is shown not only by the name change, but also by the fact that 10,000 new jobs are to be created in the European Union alone. And this, in particular, to support the development of the Metaverse. Billions are being poured into the development of the Metaverse. Thanks to its early entry, Meta is hoping for all sorts of first-mover advantages. However, the metaverse is just in its infancy. The outcome remains open.
Roblox users show their creativity
An important part of the future Metaverse economy is expected to be NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens). They, in conjunction with the increasingly popular concepts of cryptocurrencies and the blockchain, provide many opportunities for Metaverse users to be creative, create things, earn money, and in this way contribute to the growth of the Metaverse economy. Roblox demonstrates how this can take place. In this online game, players create virtual worlds with the help of Roblox Studio. These are mini-games that can be played by other users.
A look at the user figures shows the dimensions that the Roblox world has reached. In fiscal year 2021, Roblox put the number of Daily Active Users (DAUs) at 45.5 million. A 40 percent increase from the previous year. The number of hours spent there by players and developers increased by 35 percent to 41.4 billion hours. While developers can earn money from their creations, Roblox rakes in commissions. These also gave the company a 108 percent jump in revenue to $1.9 billion in 2021. This growth ensured that Roblox was able to pull off a high-profile IPO.
Microsoft: The new gaming giant
The Roblox example shows that gaming is likely to play a major role in the growth of the Metaverse. After all, video games are already a key driver of the technologies needed for the metaverse, such as virtual or augmented reality. Among the entertainment industries, gaming has risen to number one. Most recently, trends such as the emergence of mobile games, the e-sports boom, or the Corona pandemic contributed to growth in a special way. One important player is Microsoft. The takeover of ZeniMax cost the software group 7.5 billion US dollars. Right at the beginning of this year, the gaming industry experienced another bang for the buck when Microsoft announced its intention to take over Activision Blizzard for just under 70 billion US dollars. With this deal, Microsoft is bringing numerous popular and extremely successful game brands such as “Starcraft”, “World of Warcraft” and “Call of Duty” in-house. In addition, the company will become the third largest games company in the world, just behind Tencent and Sony. Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella also sees great growth potential in the metaverse area in the planned acquisition.
Unity Software brings creations to life
Unity Software is often counted among the promising Metaverse players. The software company was founded in 2004. It went public in the fall of 2020. Unity describes itself as the world’s leading platform for creating and running real-time interactive 3D content. Creators, from game developers and architects to automotive designers, filmmakers and more, use Unity to bring their creations to life. Unity’s platform offers a comprehensive set of software solutions for creating, running and monetizing real-time 2D and 3D interactive content for cell phones, tablets, PCs, consoles and augmented and virtual reality devices.
Unity Software is also currently benefiting from its focus on gaming. For example, games created using the Unity Software platform have seen growth of around 93 percent in 2021. Unity CEO John Riccitiello told CNBC that this positive trend is sustainable and wouldn’t just have something to do with a Corona bubble when people were forced to stay home more often. This should continue the growth trajectory after Unity 2021 revenues increased 44 percent to $1.1 billion.
The Metaverse is still in a very early phase. However, it seems that not only Meta Platforms, formerly Facebook, is convinced of the prospects for the metaverse. It is not for nothing that the investment community is suddenly talking about the metaverse and which stocks should be the best in this area.
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