From today until tomorrow night, Monaco and the show Meta Entertainment World (MEW) are in the metaverse.
Reserved for professionals, the event – the first of its kind – will take place in Miami, Seoul and Dubai. This new virtual world is fascinating, and investment bank JPMorgan, the first to open a branch there, estimates that the metaverse could represent a $1 billion annual market opportunity.
Many luxury or tech brands – Facebook has also changed its name to Meta – are positioned there. Why? How can they monetize their presence? Is Metaverse for companies of any size and industry? We asked Yvan Touhami, CEO of Orbis Holographics, to decode the reasons for this enthusiasm.
Specializing in holographic experiments, the startup Ile-de-France, which was identified in its early days by the LVMH Group, will present in Monaco “its wall of dry fog on which holograms are projected”. Or an animated digital reproduction of American actress Scarlett Johansson that we interact with without the need for augmented reality glasses. So the metaverse, against all odds?
What interest does a company or a brand have in positioning itself in the metaverse?
The metaverse is a bet on the future; brands and companies project themselves into the world of tomorrow to reflect on their strategy. It is an avant-garde interest; a way to show its agility and innovation. And also to integrate the video game industry as a whole because the metaverse, concretely, is a video game.
We move with our keyboard and mouse as in Fortnite Where Zelda… You have to see it as a new interface. Second life [univers virtuel de 2003, ndlr] it is a; Minecraftreleased in 2011, too.
The numbers for the video game industry are absolutely colossal: $175 billion in 2020, where music approaches $20 billion and movies $12 billion.
Why companies weren’t interested in Second life?
The technology and graphics didn’t allow it at the time. They have evolved enormously. What now encourages companies to integrate the metaverse is blockchain, which secures data and exchanges (cryptocurrency, NFT, smart contract, etc.). It reassures them.
How does the metaverse work?
There are several metaverses like Decentraland founded in 2015, The Sandbox born in 2012. They sell land and the advantage of integrating one of these universes is visibility.
Small and medium-sized businesses may also find it interesting. They can more easily position themselves close to a large company, communicate with it and establish links. An amusing example is that of the American rapper Snoop Dogg who recently created his universe there, the “Snoopverse” in The Sandbox. One of his super fans bought – for $450,000, of course – land near his village so he could occasionally meet his avatar and chat with him live. According to the newspaper The Independent, your new neighbor will have plenty of perks, like access to exclusive parties at the rapper’s replica Californian mansion. As people could rush to his house eventually, he could generate a lot of profits…
How much does it cost to buy land in the Metaverse?
In Sandbox, land sells for between $5,000 and $8,000. It is quite affordable for a mid-sized company, as long as it has a digital interest in this new world.
An artisan baker who also sells on the web can acquire a small plot of land, set up his bakery-confectionery there in 3D where he will demonstrate his know-how. Customers will be able to place orders directly in this virtual store.
The advantage compared to a classic e-commerce site?
The immersive side that 3D brings and that is increasingly requested by customers. The latter will access data that it does not have access to on a traditional website and interact with it. They will be able to test the products in 3D like in a video game.
Let’s go back to the example of the baker. The consumer will be able to know the texture and taste of the cake thanks to electromagnetic stimuli that artificially reproduce it. Tomorrow, we can do it with the smells.
Likewise, the combinations will make it possible to feel the touch; we’ll be able to climb Everest, get as close as possible to real-life sensations. The goal of the metaverse is to make the Internet as fun, immersive, and user-friendly as possible.
It’s a game for the audience, but the goal of brands is to monetize it. How?
They can organize any kind of event, invite their customers, create a store, just like in real life. People will be able to walk around, select the products, see their characteristics and composition thanks to 3D, buy them as in a virtual store paying in FIAT currency or in cryptocurrency and receive them at home.
When can companies expect monetization?
In two to five years, I think big companies will do as much business in the metaverse as they do in real life. It is a phenomenal lever for growth.
The entertainment industry, fashion, luxury… What interest to banks like JP Morgan?
In addition to visibility and cutting edge, it is blockchain technology and therefore hypersecurity for transactions. Banks are forced to position themselves in this new bitcoin market, which has been growing steadily 127% a year since its inception. It is 99.9998% stable technology.