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The Metaverse: Separating hype from reality

Using AI to Uncover Market Insights: The Metaverse

On October 28, 2021, Mark Zuckerberg announced the rebranding of Facebook as Meta in anticipation of the emergence of “the metaverse”—a virtual world offering an immersive experience where people can play, socialize, and work. While the term “metaverse” immediately began to trend across the internet, it wasn’t the first time we’d heard it in recent months. June brought rumors of Facebook’s plan for a virtual metaverse. Three months later, the company announced a two-year, $50M investment fund to transform the hype into reality.

At the same time, however, the name change raised more questions than it answered.

  • Which regions and sectors are interested in the metaverse?
  • What opportunities are available and for which market sectors?
  • Which companies are in the lead and expected to have the greatest influence?

Leveraging complex machine learning algorithms, ReportLinker gives exclusive market insights to help understand the metaverse universe and its impact on the industry.

Where is “metaverse” trending in the industry?

Searching for “metaverse” and focusing only on content with metaverse as the main topic allows us to see recent data trends. In this instance, analytics show how the appearance of the term “metaverse” in published reports increased exponentially between September and November following Facebook’s announcements(see Figure 1).


Figure 1. Data trends related to the metaverse

Furthermore, while the topic appears to be of interest worldwide, the countries most often tagged are China and the US (see Figure 2), indicating the primary locations of innovation and impact as developers begin to create decentralized and interoperable metaverses of their own.


Figure 2. Countries appearing the most in metaverse queries

Not surprisingly, Facebook is currently getting the most mentions (see Figure 3). However, Microsoft’s Mesh for Teams, Roblox’s Metaverse Champions Hub video game platform, Decentraland’s open-world metaverse built on the Ethereum blockchain, and Twitter (with its access to data allowing it to gather information about key metaverse audiences) are all mentioned multiple times in trending content.   


Figure 3. Companies trending in recent news related to the metaverse

In which sectors will metaverse opportunities emerge?

As expected, a new “metaverse” sector is appearing powered by advanced technology sectors, including blockchain and virtual and augmented reality, enabling rapid innovation in the entertainment, gaming, and media sectors (see Figure 4). However, they’re not the only ones. The development and use of metaverse environments require a massive amount of processing power, driving increased demand for high-performance computers. Sooner or later, the demand will impact the already under pressure semiconductor and electronic component supply chain, providing new opportunities and introducing an element of risk.


Figure 4. Sectors standing out in data published about the metaverse

In addition, the market trends spotted by ReportLinker’s AI-powered Smart Insights identified how various sectors are already taking advantage of the metaverse to create differentiated user experiences. These include companies in the retail industry utilizing metaverse technology to market their brands and sell merchandise. Some offer virtual tours of their production sites to reassure customers of production practices and quality, while others use the metaverse to generate virtual influencers or various voices matched to different audiences and scripts (see Figure 5).


Figure 5. Retail companies are taking advantage of the metaverse

Venture capitalists (VCs) are also seeing considerable opportunities in the metaverse, with companies related to the metaverse raising nearly $10.4 billion in 2021 compared to $5.9 billion in 2020 (see Figure 6). Blockchain and crypto companies are expected to receive the most attention from investors since their technology enables commerce and payments within the metaverse.


Figure 6. The metaverse offers opportunities to VCs

Who’s taking the lead in the metaverse?

Concerning market competition, ReportLinker provides insights into which firms are leading the way in terms of investments, partnerships, and products developments. For example, the Partnerships Smart Insights detects which companies are making advancements in the metaverse sector, including investments, infrastructure projects, and recent partnerships (see Figure 7).


Figure 7. Find out who’s using the metaverse to differentiate their brand

Big names like Gucci and Nike have already made the leap, partnering with the Roblox video game to develop metaverse environments. Gucci launched its Gucci Garden, allowing users to accessorize their avatars with collectible and limited-edition Gucci accessories. Nike debuted Nikeland world, where players can create avatars to participate in sports games, dressing them exclusively in virtual Nike clothing. The company also recently acquired RTFKT, a virtual collectibles company that makes digital products like sneakers, leveraging blockchain technology to ensure authenticity.

Many other companies spanning various sectors are already launching their metaverse applications and platforms. ReportLinker’s Product Launch Smart Insights tool lets you keep up-to-date with every new product development and launch in the sector (see Figure 8).


Figure 8. Product Launch Smart Insights tool lets you keep up-to-date with the latest developments

The bottom line

Facebook’s announcements triggered a boom in the metaverse industry. Large firms are scrambling to invest in the sector, launching their own applications and platforms independently or in partnership with leading software companies. While the entertainment sector has undoubtedly been in the lead, retail is rapidly innovating as it strives to merge the digital space with the physical one. Today, the opportunities appear to be endless.

At the same time, however, the metaverse also brings risks. Gobbling up CPU cycles, the expansion of the metaverse accelerates the risk that the current semiconductor supply chain shortage will only be exacerbated. In addition, the metaverse will bring with it new security vulnerabilities and opportunities for bad actors. Finally, there is the potential long-term threat of regulators eager to contain monopolistic risks or take their cut of the virtual metaverse economy.

Pooling vast amounts of information and intelligent, AI-based search tools, ReportLinker delivers up-to-date, indepth insights for better, more informed decision-making on emerging topics and trends.

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