The Metaverse: An Adventure 30 Years In The Making. Blog post summarising a report on the metaverse by Ten Bear Social.

The term ‘metaverse’ was coined in 1992 by sci-fi writer Neal Stephenson to refer to a 3D virtual space. Today, thanks to technologies such as AR & VR, crypto, and of course the Internet, the metaverse is no longer just a futuristic, intangible backdrop. 

According to Meta, the ways in which we socialise, learn, collaborate and play are about to go beyond where our imaginations can take us. In some ways, that feels quite Jurassic Park-esque, seemingly both marvellous and uncontainable. To find out how people are reacting to this impending new reality, we looked into online conversations about the “metaverse” to identify key highlights and overall trends.

The Metaverse: Talking Points

We don’t need to tell you that there’s a great deal of hype surrounding the metaverse, but what are the key topics within the conversations taking place online? In our Metaverse Report we identified six trends:

  1. NFTs
  2. Crypto
  3. Play-to-Earn
  4. Web 3.0
  5. Virtual Shopping
  6. Digital Real Estate

Slide from The Metaverse report identifying key topics by Ten Bear Group.

NFT Incentives

There is no surprise that NFTs are dominating the conversation, particularly as fashion brands open virtual stores and release products that exist exclusively in the metaverse. An unlikely contender was GAP, which combined the purchase of an NFT and physical product for a collaboration with Frank Ape. Though it definitely turned heads, it also seemed to draw attention to the brand’s inability to understand what people want, with one user comment reading, “Nice, but I don’t even wear GAP in real life”. After closing all of its physical stores in the UK in 2021, it will be interesting to see if the metaverse can provide an answer for GAP.

Slide from The Metaverse report discussing fashion brands and that are using NFTs by Ten Bear Group.

Play-to-Earn Concerns

For any gamer, the prospect of earning money whilst playing your favourite online game is an attractive one. Players can earn funds which can either be transferred into crypto, or used to purchase in-game items or NFTs. While that all sounds wonderful, users have voiced concerns that Web3 P2E gaming formats will turn play into work. Though monetising people’s leisure time isn’t a new thing, it seems that escapism and earning may not quite go so hand-in-hand.

Play to earn concerns page from The Metaverse Report by Ten Bear Group.

Trust Issues

Though the metaverse promises opportunity, consumers are feeling uncertain. Awareness is fairly high around scare stories of digital currencies and brands that have “run away with users’ money”. Users are also alert to the lack of Web3 regulation, and are watching closely to see if stricter policies will be introduced to protect them. Brands should proceed carefully, taking into consideration the wellbeing of their customers. In the wise words of Dr. Ian Malcolm, “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.”

Trust issues: page from The Metaverse report underlining key concerns by Ten Bear Group Social Listening agency.
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