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Media & Digital | Our reportages

GROWING INTO THE METAVERSE

16 Dec - 2021

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The buzz around the Metaverse is real. Technologies focused on interconnectivity and virtual presence can put anyone, anywhere, and a multitude of industries are stepping in

Alexander L. Fernandez

Licensing has a ripe opportunity in this new trend. As brands explore new ways to engage their consumers in a digital-first era, the Metaverse is a safe space to experiment. Powered by video game technology and methodology, companies can utilize the experience of a $200 Bn industry to change perspective and grow their business to new heights. 

The video games industry has explored ways to bridge the gap between physical and digital spaces for over five decades, creating new experiences that brands can use to their advantage. Innovative video game brands expand their social communities, develop dynamic monetization strategies, and most importantly, nurture consumer engagement. These digital creatives who paved the way and ushered in the Metaverse are now accessible to all industries.  

What is The Metaverse? 

The Metaverse is the place where physical and digital reality meet. It is an intersection between media, entertainment, business, and technology and allows for the hyper alignment of brands, consumers, and workforce in a digital space. The Metaverse uses video game technologies to build virtual worlds that emulate the real world and our interactions within it, from work to play. So you can go to live concerts, meet friends at a party, have a work meeting, go to class, play games, attend a doctor’s appointment, or even purchase your new car.

“License holders have enormous opportunity to bring authenticity and legitimacy across multiple platforms,” says Neil Haldar, Snr Publishing and Business Development Director, Streamline Media Group. “The opportunity in the Metaverse is nearly limitless as we dive into experiential marketing opportunities that have yet to be explored by traditional retail or industry.”

There have been several significant drivers behind the growth of the Metaverse; 

  • The retirement of baby boomers and the rise of the digital-first Gen-X, Millennials, Xenial, and Gen-Z, who grew up playing video games, surfing the web, and traveling the world.
  • The digitization of financial assets integrating across all aspects of life. For example, blockchain, smart contracts, cryptocurrencies, and NFTs (non-fungible tokens).
  • The rise of the next two billion people, now called Gen-A (born 2010-2025). Emerging markets in Latin America, Southeast Asia, and Africa have become sources of new audiences and voices.

How can the licensing industry make moves in the Metaverse?

The Metaverse gives consumers a whole new way to engage with their favorite brands and IPs. The lines between the real world and the digital one will blur as we create multiple identities in multiple places. Consider it Web 3.0. An evolution of the internet and the next stage in the digital transformation.

License holders have an exponential opportunity to add value to the Metaverse. Brand and IP recognition within a new virtual world holds significant power for both the licensor and licensee. The method of engagement attracts new, traditionally unreachable, consumers and the IP provides consumer trust. Whether you license characters to become avatars or products to sell within these Metaverse spaces or stories and environments for users to inhabit, brands/IPs can proliferate across multiple different digital ecosystems at any one time. Your IP becomes omnipresent, and thanks to ‘internet all the time’/5G connectivity, it’s constantly accessible.

Why now? 

The pandemic exposed our technological ability to run functional businesses remotely while driving customer engagement and reaching new audiences at a global scale. Creative industries naturally benefit from this recent surge in digital media, but traditional industries like healthcare, transportation, and education have also found cause to engage through new means. 

Consumers, now more affectionately known as ‘communities,’ are vitally important and require curated experiences and spaces where they can connect, engage, and enhance their brand loyalty. The task at hand for Metaverse makers is to make it an exciting, safe space for all users and showcase the best of their brands and IPs in the right places.

Now, more than ever, brands need to build community and maintain meaningful connections with their consumers. Your options are to either take up virtual real estate in someone else’s Metaverse or create your own. It’s not a question of when. It’s a question of how. Where will you start? 

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