Much of the technology that users take for granted today seemed impossible many years ago. The metaverse is another technology that does not yet seem feasible. At least not to the extent that experts always talk about. What do end users expect? McKinsey published a comprehensive study on this in June. The top 5 from a consumer perspective were social media, entertainment, travel, shopping, and gaming. Nearly 60 percent of consumers using today's early version of the metaverse are excited about switching their everyday activities to it. Connectivity between people is the top driver, followed by the ability to explore digital worlds. About 95 percent of executives surveyed by McKinsey expect the metaverse to positively impact their industry within five to 10 years, and 61 percent expect it to slightly change the way their industry operates. Industries most likely to be impacted by the Metaverse include consumer products and retail, media and telecommunications, and healthcare, and these industries are also among those already implementing Metaverse initiatives.
Metaverse is already a reality, especially among gaming companies and the environments they create. Nevertheless, it remains to be seen overall what exactly the Metaverse will be and how it will develop. Defining it now might affect the imagination of the visionaries.
Who will be the winners of the new Internet?
In this regard, there is some hype around the topic. The user experience will and must certainly become even better. After all, augmented reality and virtual reality are important parts of the Metaverse idea. And that currently seems to be the direction in which things will develop. Just recently, the CEO of Nokia stated that smartphones, as we know them today, will no longer exist in 2030. He was also referring to the fact that we will then have other devices that are connected to our bodies and communicate directly with other people. Human communication is at the core of the Metaverse, while real-time communication, ease of use, and a sense of merging with the Internet are its defining characteristics. Ultimately, it is about this merging of “real life” with the virtual world.
Metaverse will also play an important part for companies. For example, virtual meetings will feel real in the future. Especially in the industrial sector, people from all over the world will be able to meet in virtual meetings and feel like they are present because of the advanced technology. There are also many opportunities in the retail sector. Luxury brands from Balenciaga and Ralph Lauren to Swedish fashion giant H&M, for example, have already recognized the opportunities presented by the metaverse to offer their customers another shopping universe digitally. Already furthest along are companies like Nike, which acquired RTFKT Studios, a company focused on digital properties, in late 2021. Soon after, "digital" sneakers were first made available for purchase to their fans, and they quickly became collector's items. To this day, they are exclusively walked by avatars.
There will also be new approaches in the real estate sector, for example when buying a house. Customers who want to see what a potential house will look like will be able to do this quite easily via Metaverse in the future. Various furniture stores are already using augmented reality to show their customers how the piece of furniture would fit on their four walls.
Investment strategy with metaverse players
For the metaverse to become reality, however, companies like Nokia or Nvidia will be needed to supply both the computing power and the chips or infrastructure. The investment strategy here could therefore look the same as it does today for electric cars: One option is to invest in Tesla, for example. The other option is to participate in the value chain of an electric car. These companies are often potentially much cheaper than the more obvious players, so to speak. So far, however, there are not many companies active in the market concerning Metaverse, but the numbers are increasing.
More than $120 billion has already been invested in the Metaverse via venture capital and private equity in the first five months of 2022, more than double the $57 billion from 2021. Large technology companies are the biggest investors - and on a much larger scale than they were for artificial intelligence (AI), for example, at a similar stage of development.
Already quite active on the metaverse terrain are many gaming companies and due to the market correction, entries may make sense. In addition, earnings are relatively good compared to many other sectors. Outside the gaming sector, many companies are just in the business plan phase for their metaverse activities. Here, one might pay too high a price for business plans that are still too vague. Especially industries like logistics or telecommunication might fall behind when switching to the Metaverse. In short, Metaverse and its investment opportunities are still to be strongly observed due to the uncertainty.
As for ultimately Meta or the former Facebook, it remains to be seen how successful they will be. Because Meta is currently putting all its eggs in one basket. Last year, the company invested more than $10 billion in the Metaverse ecosystem. They are taking a big risk, but at the same time, they are trying to take the lead in this transition. Currently, Meta is trading at a pretty interesting valuation. The only thing that is difficult to assess is the earnings visibility.