There is a well-known saying that the three most important things to consider when buying a property are “location, location, location”.
Well, now that mantra seems to apply to the virtual universe some are hailed as the future of the internet, the so-called metaverse. Still in its infancy, this is an immersive, online space where cartoon-like 3D representations of ourselves, known as avatars, can walk around and talk and interact with others. You usually achieve this by wearing a set of virtual reality (VR) glasses connected to your computer.
Formerly known as Facebook, the company so believes the metaverse is the future of the internet that it changed its name to Meta last year. Meta and its boss, Mark Zuckerberg, think that eventually most of us will work, play, and shop in the metaverse. Or at least we’ll have avatars.
While this may all seem illusory to many people, more and more companies are buying space in the metadata to be able to set up shop there. These firms include Adidas, Burberry, Gucci, Tommy Hilfiger, Nike, Samsung, Louis Vuitton and even HSBC and JP Morgan banks.
But the question for such businesses is which location do they choose? Currently, there are around 50 or so different world providers within the metaverse, the most popular of which are The Sandbox, Decentraland, Voxels and Somnium Space, and Meta’s own Horizon Worlds.
Retailers and other investors are forced to gamble on which of them will become the dominant force in the metaverse by getting the most visits from our avatars. And what other worlds can be lost in the dark.
Also, within winning ecosystems, firms should try to choose what will be the most popular areas.
Canadian entrepreneur Andrew Kiguel is betting on Decentraland. He spent $2.4m (£2m) worth of cryptocurrencies (you need to use a crypto to make a purchase in the metadata) to buy some space in Decentraland’s fashion retail space last year.
Mr. Kiguel, the boss of cryptocurrency investment site Tokens.com, said he is already holding a fashion show and plans to lease his space to fashion firms.
The idea for such retailers is that your avatar can enter a metaverse clothing store and purchase items that will be sent to you in the real world. Or alternatively, you can also apply a new computerized piece of clothing to your avatar.
While Mr. Kiguel supports Decentraland, he warns that not all metaverse worlds will be successful. “It reminds me of the early days of social media. Similar to social media… the metadata store space will have some big winners and a lot of niche metadata that are successful,” he says.