So much can change within a short time – for the better or for the worse. The metaverse has experienced its own fair share of change. With companies, like Meta, just concluding their Q2 appraisals, here’s what you need to know about the metaverse in July.
Metaverse: A Sustainable Solution To Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Every Tom, Dick, and Harry knows that climate change has become an issue of global concern. Experts think that beyond entertainment and business, the metaverse has a potential of positively impacting the environment. As it is, economic and industrial activities tend to release a copious amount of greenhouse gases but adopting innovative solutions like the metaverse can pave the way for a greener and more sustainable future. There are plenty ways in which the metaverse can contribute towards a more green planet. For one, adoption of virtual workspaces and remote collaboration will change the way we work. This way, we’d be able to work from home thereby reducing the fossil fuels we burn commuting to our physical workplaces, while reducing traffic congestion. Remote collaboration will allow employees to engage with their colleagues and clients from the comfort of their homes. This will further curb energy consumption and emissions related to office buildings.
Through adoption of sustainable entertainment and leisure activities in the virtual world, our planet will become safer by minimizing traditional entertainment which entails massive energy consumption and waste generation. The Metaverse offers an eco-friendly alternative by providing a vast array of immersive and engaging experiences that do not require physical spaces or resources. Virtual concerts, sports events, and interactive gaming can help divert people from energy-intensive leisure activities, leading to a noticeable reduction in carbon footprints. Virtual travel and tourism in the metaverse would help people explore far and historical sites and reduces the carbon footprint associated with physical travels.
The Metaverse also presents a unique opportunity to educate and raise awareness about climate change and sustainability. Virtual simulations that vividly illustrate the consequences of environmental degradation and empower individuals to take eco-friendly actions in the real world can be shown. Through this education via the metaverse, users may develop a heightened sense of environmental responsibility and consciously work towards a greener future for the planet they live in.
The Sandbox & British Museum Merge Art, History & Blockchain in the Metaverse
It’s becoming very clear that people are favouring immersive experiences and digital collectibles more than before. The Sandbox has created a partnership with the British Museum to leverage the Blockchain technology to increase accessibility to historical artefacts. Though this is not the first time that a museum is venturing into the metaverse, this partnership is an indication that major museums are exploring the potential of blockchain and NFTs to enhance appreciation of art and culture. The Sandbox is already a big name in the blockchain and metaverse space and this partnership with the British Museum will even increase its popularity.
According to a blog post by The Sandbox, the collaboration aims to generate a wide variety of digital collectibles reflecting the diverse collections within the museum, offering an innovative approach for users to interact with and appreciate history. In the words of the Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of The Sandbox, Sebastien Borget, the partnership is an avenue to engage new audiences with the rich collections of the British Museum. He emphasized the value this opportunity provides to Sandbox players, inviting them to learn and relish the extraordinary collections of human history, art, and culture hosted by the Museum, irrespective of their geographical location. This collaboration also extends to a third Web3 platform known as laCollection. This platform, serving as the museum’s licensing partner, has a strong track record of collaborating with leading museum institutions worldwide to usher art into the digital realm. Other museums that have made an inroad into the metaverse include the Centre Pompidou in France, Kharkiv Art Museum in Ukraine, and the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp in Belgium.
Zuckerberg Remains Firm on Metaverse and AI plans During Q2 Results
After the whooping losses recorded by Meta in 2022, one would expect a tune down on the company’s enthusiasm about the metaverse, but no. Mark Zuckerberg surprises the world with the announcement of his confidence in the company’s plans to develop its metaverse and artificial intelligence (AI). This announcement was made during the company’s Q2 earnings call despite coming off the back of a year that saw its metaverse division, Reality Labs, lose over $13bn. In his statement:
“We had a good quarter. We continue to see strong engagement across our apps and we have the most exciting roadmap I’ve seen in a while with Llama 2, Threads, Reels, new AI products in the pipeline, and the launch of Quest 3 this fall. Our investments in AI continue. We remain fully committed to the metaverse vision as well. We’ve been working on both of these two major priorities for many years in parallel now, and in many ways the two areas are overlapping and complementary.”
Perhaps this boldness is coming from the earnings report in which Meta’s revenue for Q2 2023 jumped by 11% year-over-year (YoY) to $32bn as the tech giant experienced a return to form, gaining double-digit growth for the first time since the end of 2021. Its net income also increased to $7.79bn YoY, with operating income representing a 29% growth margin of $9.4bn. Already, there’s a Q3 forecast predicting a revenue of $32bn – $34.5bn which would indicate a 15% growth from the same period last year. Commenting on its cost saving plans, Meta stated:
“The reduced forecast is due to both cost savings, particularly on non-AI servers, as well as shifts in capital expenditures into 2024 from delays in projects and equipment deliveries rather than a reduction in overall investment plans.”
Although Reality Labs posted a loss of $3.7bn for Q2 2023 and brought in $276m in sales, the losses were substantially lower than that of Q1 2023, a near 73% decrease as its metaverse is still in its infancy of development and adoption.
Meta Revamps Horizon Worlds Metaverse with In-house Game Studio Amid Struggles
In an attempt to boost Horizon World, Meta is now introducing an in-house VR game studio known as Ouro Interactive. It ahs been in Meta’s plans to expand app stores targeting mobile gamers. Although Meta’s Reality Lab’s Q2 report showed some losses, Zuckerberg is not looking back in his resolve to keep investing in the metaverse and Reality Lab. This new platform – Ouro Interactive – is aimed at giving users first-party titles and enhance the appeal of Horizon World. This move comes as Horizon Worlds grapples with a reported $3.7 billion loss in Q2 2023 and a perceived decline in consumer interest in the metaverse.
This time around, Meta seems to be taking an interestingly different approach to make this work. The platforms first release, a game titled “Super Rumble,” is expected to showcase the studio’s ability to leverage new technological advancements to create visually complex, interactive, and engaging gameplay. It is expected that this game will contribute to revitalizing Horizon Worlds and recoup significant losses. The company aims to attract the estimated billions of mobile gamers worldwide by making Horizon Worlds available in app stores. As it is, it’s not clear yet what the timeline for this expansion remains is.
This revamp is taking place at a very critical time when other companies are scaling back their metaverse projects. For instance, Disney reportedly laid off its metaverse team and shuttered its virtual world-building efforts in March. These challenges notwithstanding, Zuckerberg affirmed Meta’s commitment to AI and the metaverse. The service has reportedly attracted less than 200,000 monthly active users, highlighting the public’s current general lack of interest in VR. Despite this, Meta’s hope seems not to have dwindled a bit.
Web3 and the Metaverse as Puma’s Next Great Commerce Opportunity
Nothing good comes in life without risks. More often than not, people who first jump on an innovation train are usually the ones who get to make all the bucks. Not to forget, they are the ones who’d get to burn their fingers first. While some brands are still trying to figure out their approach to Web3, Puma have gotten its feet firmly in the door. The sportswear giant currently sees a great opportunity for commerce in the web3 space. This opportunity, it seems, is more on the level of e-commerce and the social media boom — and this time around, Puma is looking to get in on the ground floor of the trend. It is worthy of mention that Puma already has its own Unreal-Engine-based virtual world, Black Station and a non-fungible token project titled Super Puma PFP, as well as in-game activations like a “Fortnite” collaboration with pro footballer Neymar. With this opportunity, Puma looks to knit all these investments together. In the words of Ivan Dashkov, Puma’s head of emerging marketing tech and Web3:
“We basically define it as any new marketing technologies that are kind of shaping the way consumers interact with brands. We weren’t sure if e-comm was going to take off when it happened, and now we’re playing a little bit of catch-up. The same thing happened with social media; I think the brand wasn’t quite sure how much to invest in social media,” Dashkov said. “Now, we’re in this Web3 world, where we’re seeing all these new technologies — and as a brand, we kind of look back at e-comm and social, and we definitely don’t want to miss out on this one.”
Some think that the reason behind Puma’s proclivity to its vision for Web3 is that it doesn’t want to miss the boat — yet again — on the next big shake-up to the retail world, and it sees the coming of Web3 commerce as a potentially seismic shift. The brand’s e-commerce grew by 11.8 percent in Q3 2022, accounting for a significant portion of Puma’s roughly $538 million in direct-to-consumer sales that quarter — its numbers are still a fraction of rivals such as Nike, which generated over $13 billion in e-commerce sales over the past fiscal year. According to a report released last year by Citi, by 2030, the metaverse economy could be worth trillions and everyone would like to take a share of the pie. Puma doesn’t want to be left out.
Investment in Energy Metaverse will Grow to $80 Billion
There is a new report from Guidehouse Insights which provides an overview of the energy Metaverse. The metaverse, as we know it, is the confluence of several emerging digital technologies, most already familiar to energy industry executives, which promises to radically change the way energy companies plan, build, operate, and market their services over the long term. Global investment in the core energy Metaverse technologies is expected to grow exponentially over the next decade and beyond, from a base of just over $6 billion in 2022 to nearly $80 billion in 2031, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 33.0%. This statistics may be surprising, especially considering that the energy Metaverse is just emerging. But be it as it may, the building blocks are securely in place. Core energy Metaverse technologies include digital twins, AI and machine learning, unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and drones, extended reality (XR), and Blockchain-based applications. In the words of Richelle Elberg, Principal Research Analyst with Guidehouse Insights:
“When the energy Metaverse is fully realised – admittedly more than a decade away – utilities and O&G concerns can envision a day when employee onboarding and training take place via XR in a Metaverse-based training centre. Much like it was difficult in the early 1990s to imagine all the ways a smartphone or the Internet would change how business is conducted, in 2023 it can be hard to see just how radically Metaverse technology stands to change the operating dynamics of energy industry verticals. But the benefits are sure to be compelling, and investments can be made incrementally as the industry learns and evaluates where best to begin.”
Utility storefronts in Metaverse malls could provide virtual customers with real-world benefits such as product comparisons and purchasing, energy use analysis, and evaluation of a premises’ suitability for solar. Specialized experts in a field could work on a virtual offshore site, advising onsite workers how to address a problem – without ever leaving their home office. These and many more are the benefits the the energy Metaverse offers.
Whether we accept it or not, we can’t cry ‘foul’ forever. While the world keeps giving Meta a cold shoulder about its involvement and investments in the metaverse, people are seeing its potential as the future and securing their place. If you have been watching the metaverse from a distance, I can tell you that there’s no better time to take your leap of faith. However, be sure to do leap wisely.