Long Read - Metaverse Transcended

Chris Pash
By Chris Pash | 19 April 2022
Vegas Plaza, Decentraland.

This article first appeared in the AdNews magazine.  Subscribe here to make sure you get your copy.

Leni, aged 11, spent his Christmas money on clothes for his avatar rather than himself.

He plays games within the platform Roblox, like Bedwars, and hangs out with his mates. He lives in both worlds now, the real one and the meta one. The difference is non-existent to him.

His father, Ben Hourahine, strategy partner at creative agency AnalogFolk: “Any children that are in your life, ask around and try to find one that isn’t already on Roblox. My son is pretty forceful with everyone who asks him: ‘It’s not a game, it’s a platform’.”

Roblox, at last report, had 43 million users a day.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg started the latest surge in virtual worlds: “The next platform will be even more immersive — an embodied internet where you’re in the experience, not just looking at it.

“In the metaverse, you’ll be able to do almost anything you can imagine — get together with friends and family, work, learn, play, shop, create — as well as completely new experiences that don’t really fit how we think about computers or phones today.”

The metaverse dominated the 2022 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January and the February Super Bowl included metaverse themed spots from Salesforce and Meta.

Trademark applications are reportedly flooding in from big brands staking virtual claims. Among them, McDonald's plans a virtual restaurant featuring “actual and virtual goods" and operating a virtual restaurant featuring home delivery.

In building the internet, from the 1980s into the 1990s, the early winners were those selling shovels and gold panning equipment -- the servers and the software vendors.

Next came the businesses, with many rising fast and falling faster, before new media players, such as Google and Facebook, and retailers, such as Amazon, emerged and made it an art form. Now the internet is business as usual with online selling accelerated by the pandemic.

Staying with the internet comparison, what was then the World Wide Web (WWW) was a collection of individual bulletin boards which eventually became linked. The metaverse will probably develop in a similar way, with a series of virtual worlds, linked by on and off ramps.

Based on that scenario, Amazon Web Services is in a lead position to benefit by becoming an enabler with cloud services to host the metaverse.

If all this sounds futuristic, it isn’t. The metaverse isn’t new. Neal Stephenson coined the term in his 1992 novel Snow Crash.

It’s clear everyone wants a piece. Even when it’s not clear who has, or will have, the winning formula, it is attracting big money.

Meta (formerly Facebook) is tipping in $US10 billion, into the Facebook Reality Labs division, this year alone.

Microsoft is in the game, spending US$75 billion in January to buy online gaming giant Activision Blizzard, a spearhead for the metaverse.

Forrester analysts: “What this means is that Microsoft is now holding an ever-increasing number of important cards in the developing metaverse: Back-end infrastructure, devices, and a rapidly growing experience platform.”

According to investment bank Jefferies, the metaverse doesn't exist yet but video gaming will be where it starts.

Gaming companies such as Roblox, Minecraft owner Microsoft, and Fortnite creator Epic Games have all been creating multiplayer games that have rapidly become social networks where players hang out, buy accessories, trade and swap stories.

Animoca Brands, formerly listed on the ASX, raised more than US$358 million (about AUD$500 million), in January this year, from a long list of serious venture capital firms.  The company is working to build an open metaverse by using blockchain and NFTs to enable digital ownership of users’ virtual assets and data.

Murtaza Akbar, managing partner at Liberty City Ventures: "The trailblazing Animoca Brands is demonstrating to the world the game-changing characteristics of Web3.0 and the open metaverse. Animoca Brands is championing a more decentralised, open, fairer, and more inclusive future where everyone can truly own their digital goods and benefit from them accordingly."

And with gaming you get an ironed-on audience, highly engaged, and that’s where advertising comes in.

Jefferies analysts describe the metaverse: “The biggest disruption humans have ever experienced, but will take time. A single metaverse could be more than a decade away, but as it evolves it has the potential to disrupt almost everything in human life that has not yet already been disrupted.

“The pandemic accelerated the adoption of various technologies. Many people were forced to spend even more of their lives online from socialising to working, from education to entertainment. This shift to an online world will continue.”

In advertising, John Wren, CEO of Omnicom, releasing full year results for 2021, described the metaverse, and gaming, as a “high-growth” industry opportunity, and one marked for increased investment.

Dentsu is buying land and building a experience space in the metaverse for a beverages client. In the second half of 2021, the Japan-based global agency launched a global gaming solution unit. It now has more than 700 gaming creators globally and has been appointed the lead agency for Facebook Gaming.

But is it a gold rush?

OMD’s Alison Costello (national head of digital) and Nicky Barton (interactive director): “Currently the cheapest price of digital land is 3.7 Ether in Sandbox or 3.46 Ether in

Decentraland – $19,732 and $18,489 respectively.

“It’s safe to say the gold rush has surpassed most of us, especially with the platform tokens increasing by 1000% in the past year.”

Should we all rush in and establish a beachhead, or at least a storefront? 

Costello and Barton: “Like with any strategy, it’s worth going back to basics to figure out what the goal or objective is. Brands such as Stella Artois are jumping into this opportunity headfirst, replicating their real-world strategies in the metaverse; they bring people together to be entertained and to socialise - cue virtual horse racing experiences.  Virtual worlds are creating a great canvas for innovation with more and more brands testing the waters through an iterative approach. There is much to play with before and/or after storefronts.”

However, technological research and consulting firm Gartner expects 25% of people will by 2026 spend at least one hour a day in the Metaverse for work, shopping, education, social media and/or entertainment.

Tuong Nguyen, a Gartner analyst: “The amount of hype around the Metaverse is overwhelming. Technology innovation leaders, including chief technology officers, need to understand what the metaverse is, as well as the innovative opportunities and risks it provides.”

When looking at the opportunities, think of two big buckets. Nguyen: “ … engaging with new audiences via purely digital experiences like virtual reality.  As in experiences that don’t exist in the physical world.  The other is engaging with audiences by linking the physical to the digital.  This means having digital content and experiences anchored to physical people, places and things.”

What is the metaverse?

Xiaofeng Wang, principal analyst at Forrester: “The metaverse is a virtual reality world where users can experience things as they would in the real world.”

Backslash, the cultural intelligence unit of TBWA\Worldwide: “As all things physical dissipate, it will become increasingly difficult to distinguish where the real world ends and the metaverse begins. In a progressively fluid and seemingly limitless world, tangibility, intentional friction, and boundaries will keep us grounded.”

Adam Buhler, who heads Digitas’ innovation practice in North America says the current state of the metaverse is “social media and gaming becoming indistinguishable from each other, wrapped in a thin layer of ecommerce”.

His colleague in Australia, Simon Brock, executive creative director, Digitas Australia: “Building off the above definition, the metaverse isn’t a new platform, but a new way that formerly distinct platforms (gaming, social and e-commerce) are overlapping, enabling people to connect with brands and each other in new ways. Where that’s best exemplified is in Fortnite – a platform that started out as a battle royale shooter game that’s now used as a place for friends to hangout instead of going to the mall.  You can spend hours inside Fortnite without shooting a thing, instead spending your time chatting with friends, watching movies, or shopping for clothes. Gaming, made social, with a layer of ecomm, enabling new kinds of connections.”

Minsun Collier, national head of data & technology acceleration, MediaCom: “We define a ‘metaverse’ as a virtual environment, either a broad or narrowly-focused community, that supports real-time interactions comparable to those in the real world – a workplace, education, gaming, or general community forum – through the integration of emerging technologies like AR, cryptocurrency, VR, and more, depending on the community. 

“There is not and likely will not be one ‘the metaverse’.  Each iteration of a Metaverse will have various ownership models and generate different value for consumers.”

Ben Hourahine, strategy partner, AnalogFolk: “The Internet is something we are used to interacting with, we look at it, we watch it, we listen to things on it. The best way to think about the metaverse is through a virtual reality lens. The metaverse is a place where we will experience the Internet completely, not as an observer, but as someone inside it and within it. It’s not flat, one dimensional or just interactive, it is a complete spatial experience.”

Adam Krass, chief digital, data & technology officer, UM: “There are two main schools of thought for ‘metaversealists’. One is that the metaverse is a version of the internet that feels like a videogame, where the internet becomes a gameified virtual realm.

“The other sees the metaverse as fundamentally about digital identity, where a user can switch between virtual spaces through digital identities with a focus on experience. In this case, imagine virtually shopping in Milan followed by a Billie Eilish sunset concert on Bondi Beach.”

Joe Frazer, managing partner and head of growth, Half Dome: “The metaverse itself refers to the simple concept of a scaled 3D virtual world. The 90s kids will remember The Matrix, and aside from robots taking control, that is more or less the vision for the metaverse. A massively scaled and realistic platform for people to experience anything they really want. The reality of what is possible with today’s technology is found in platforms like Minecraft, which is the best example of a functioning metaverse operating at scale.

“Facebook has gone all in on the metaverse with their rebrand to Meta, and Zuckerberg is clear that he sees the future of social connection thriving in this type of interface. But perhaps more interesting than Meta moving Facebook from a phone to an immersive AR/VR experience, is the push from Web3.0 enthusiasts to use this move from an app and mobile based economy – which is where we are now - to completely rethink how the internet is built, and the control that a few players have (Google, Meta, etc.).

“The real story behind the push to the metaverse is who will control it, and can we use this critical juncture to erode the control of the few and create an arguably better and decentralised version of the internet?”

Martin Beecroft, chief technology & innovation officer at Wunderman Thompson in Australia: “Firstly, let me clarify. The metaverse isn’t one thing, nor is there a single accepted definition of what it means. Whilst it sounds like one giant new place to be, there are many different metaverse iterations in use and more emerging daily.

“In simple terms, it’s a vast array of three-dimensional digital worlds that we connect into in real-time as an individual. These worlds can be full of other individuals, where we will meet, shop, learn, work, be entertained and play. You can be or do anything your imagination can dream up in the metaverse, provided someone has written the code to make it happen. It will become a series of parallel worlds to our real-world, where virtual and real-world connections will drive interworld experiences.

“The metaverse is taking advantage of quickly evolving Web3.0 technologies such as blockchain, crypto and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) - fuelling an evolution in consumer engagement. One that’s rewriting rules of what’s possible in the metaverse; from the Snoopverse land sale (by Snoop Dog) in the Sandbox Metaverse, to TerraZero completing its first mortgage transaction for land in the metaverse.

“There’s no doubt it’s still early days for the metaverse. But it wasn’t that long ago the internet was in its infancy and look where we are now.”

Jordan Fogarty, CEO, Animoca Labs: “The metaverse is better described as a ‘way’; we will use technology rather than a technology or set of technologies itself. An era where we will be able to move between the real world and a virtual world where we have shared economies - the intersection between real life and a virtual life.”

Daniel Samson, creative director, innovation and experience at MediaMonks Singapore: “It’s a bit of an amorphous term and everyone is using it in a different way, it is also a term that will fall away with time, a bit like saying I am going to make an ‘internet’. But I think the easiest way to view it is the continued virtualisation of everything, combined with decentralisation and personalisation. Everything from the digital ‘mirrors’ of entire cities and homes to virtual music festivals to gaming and AR/VR.”

Jade Harley - brand, social and content director, Kaimera:  “The most hotly debated word of the past twelve months. No-one can agree on what the metaverse is; with the term being used to describe anything that blends the virtual and physical worlds. The metaverse is making advances in its goal to be universally accessible to all through personal devices and wearable tech. It isn't a question of if, but when it fundamentally changes how we work, shop, connect with friends and participate in cultural moments.

“If you ask Mark Zuckerberg (CEO at Meta), the metaverse is the sum of all virtual worlds, connected as vast galaxies and planets. As part of his (yet to be built) version of the metaverse, players will be able to move their avatar and money across planets, as well as overlay the real world with virtual worlds. From a consumer uptake perspective, interoperability will be a huge factor in the realising of this vision.

“To get a glimpse of where we could be headed, have a look at the online gaming platform Roblox. This is a world with over 40 million users per day. Users have a single identity across all levels, a constant network of friends, and access to a common currency. That’s probably the closest thing we have to the metaverse right now.”

Ben Cooper, group innovation director, M&C Saatchi Group, and MD - Tricky Jigsaw: “When prompted to explain the metaverse for this article, my initial reaction was to think that the ship has long sailed. Thanks to Facebook’s rebrand, anyone reading this would have some metaverse awareness, but confusion remains since no definition seems to match another. 

“Perhaps it might be worthwhile to consider what the metaverse is not? It’s not just one place. Clearly not coined by a marketer; ‘metaverse’ singular doesn’t help. But it’s too late now. The Internet as most of us know it now is hundreds of millions of sites, rendered as pages, that we visit and look at. The Internet’s next generation will be sites, rendered as 3D, AR, first person or third-person places, that we will visit and experience. How many millions is anyone’s guess.”

Zoe Cocker, head of innovation & Yahoo Creative Studios ANZ: “Imagine trying to define the internet in the 70s. Innovators were hyped about the creation of an entirely new form of communication but no one could provide one singular definition of what this new reality would look like. The same can be said for the metaverse.  The metaverse doesn’t have a standard definition because it’s still a construct, it’s not final yet. That being said, there are some fundamental principles that many can agree on:

“It’s immersive. Your current web experience most likely exists in a browser within a 2D laptop screen or smartphone screen. The metaverse will be a 3D digital space, an all-encompassing immersive experience where you can roam about freely.

“Built on blockchain - one of the most distinguishing differences between Web2.0 and Web3.0 is the fact it's built on blockchain. It’s an entirely new economy. In the metaverse you can assign value to a digital object. For example a designer garment can exist in the ‘real world’ and be sold for an agreed value. Currently in Web2.0 the only value a digital version of that garment has is its reshare or like count. In the metaverse, they could create a digital version, mint it on blockchain and consumers’ could buy it for their avatars to wear across various virtual worlds, and the designer would get crypto in return.

“It’s interoperable, the benefit of a decentralised platform like blockchain means there’s no sole owner. Your digital avatar or object can transverse worlds, environments freely without restriction.

“It’s powered by multiple technologies. Web1.0 was enabled by dial-up modems and desktop computers, Web2.0 was enabled by wifi and laptops, Web3.0 will be powered by VR/AR/MR, game engines, 5G and technologies we haven’t even conceived yet.

“The metaverse presents a unique opportunity to build a new type of internet and to learn from mistakes of the past. Advertisers and technology providers will need to anticipate any twists and turns the metaverse may have, and avoid the pitfalls of identity, walled gardens, and privacy that have plagued the internet since the onset of Web2.0.”

Jordan Taylor-Bartels, MD & founder, Magic: “It is a new digital world, that instead of scrolling a newsfeed, or viewing stories, you are in a large-scale map where you can check out your friend’s meta-home, see all of their art on their wall, check out their clothes in their closet, go into the Adidas store to purchase both digital (NFT) or physical items, or even go to the latest Ed Sheeran concert with friends.

“First, it was emails, then it was IRC rooms for programmers, then it was HTML chat rooms, then it was SMS, then it was MSN Messenger, then it was MySpace, then it was Tumblr, then it was Facebook, then it was Instagram, then it was Facetime, then it was Fortnite, and now it is the metaverse…an essential combination of the past experiences that have lead up to this moment.

“The metaverse is, at its core, the digi-physical output of our experiences in Web2.0 (i.e. Facebook, i.e. Facetime); and in many cases, particularly for the existing metaverses, Sandbox and Decentraland, it is also decentralised via the blockchain.

“What is unclear at the moment, is who the winner is going to be … as it is that early.

“We asked the same in 1998, was it Ask Jeeves? AOL? Google? Or Yahoo? Much like in 1998, the nay-sayers in 2022 are also loud.”

The Opportunity

Martin Beecroft, Wunderman Thompson in Australia:  “Advertising in the metaverse is not that different to advertising in the real world.

“The metaverse is a place where people are congregating, coming together for a variety of reasons. That may be thousands of people joining an online event or just one person exploring an environment. In any world there’s a space for brands to talk to consumers.

“However, much like the internet, choosing where and why can mean the difference between an invasion of privacy with wasted advertising dollars, versus a welcomed interaction and lead. I’d suggest thinking of the variety of metaverse platforms as new channels to engage an audience. Particularly if wanting to connect with Gen Z, the digital first generation.

“In such a space there’s opportunity for content, advertisements, branded sponsorships, products and so much more. The 2020 Fortnite-Nike-Travis Scott collaboration saw over 10 million people attend and set the bar for branded entertainment in the metaverse. This type of promotion and brand investment will only continue to grow along with audience numbers.

“The opportunities are only limited by imagination. The real question is, how effective will they be… But then isn’t that the same question in the real world?”

Adam Krass at UM: “For brands looking to start engaging with early adopters, iterations of the metaverse already exist with Roblox, Discord, Oculus and Fortnite. The metaverse that Meta envisions is almost certainly a few years down the road.

“Consumer data is going to be at the very heart of the metaverse. Just like today where we guide brands to futureproof their data strategies and create personalised experiences, so too will be the case in the metaverse, where data about everything from a user’s location and demographics to their browsing behaviours and friends’ characteristics can inform how brands create experiences and engage with consumers.

“Advertisers will measure engagement and attention in the metaverse, much like we do now. Activity will be logged on the blockchain, including data about which world you visit, which experience you engage with, which NFTs you own and made publicly available. Advertisers can leverage this information to build immersive, personalised and value-based experiences.

“Virtual and augmented reality will be deployed in the world of commerce, allowing consumers to visit virtual Kmart stores, pick a product from the homewares section to see how it feels in our loungerooms. We will go to virtual Drake concerts, sponsored by Optus 5G in virtual locations that enhance the performance. Tourism boards may also sponsor an event to transport potential real-world travellers to a unique location to trigger destination decision making.”

Simon Brock, Digitas Australia: “Gaming is now bigger than the film industry and North American sports combined. So if your idea of peak marketing opportunities involves a product placement in James Bond or a Superbowl ad, then gaming-inspired metaverses should definitely be on your radar.”

And it’s not all kids. According to Bond University’s Digital Australia report, the average age of Australians who play video games is 35 years, with nine out of 10 homes engaging with gaming in some form.

Brock: “As gaming, social, and ecommerce evolve to form what we’re calling the metaverse, those platforms will offer massive opportunities for brands to connect with new audiences, or engage existing audiences in new ways. Those opportunities will feel pretty familiar too.

“There are already paid marketing opportunities which mirror digital display advertising, and content partnerships that mirror in-film product placement. Enterprising brands are creating new content that makes metaversal spaces more entertaining and rewarding for users – much like branded content does.

“If your audiences are in this space (and chances are, they are), there are already opportunities for you to reach them in the metaverse.”

Ben Hourahine at AnalogFolk: “Like with any platform there is always a first mover advantage, the chance to create affinity with future audiences and sometimes a cost advantage before these platforms become too commercialised.

“On the other hand, it can be easy to get this wrong by misunderstanding the environment and the audience’s expectations. It would be nice if in this new wave of the Internet we didn’t default back to another interruption economy again and made brands as immersive as the environments themselves.”

Joe Frazer, Half Dome: “Any good media marketer will qualify an advertising opportunity by the amount of reach potential it has, and the impact that can be imparted on each individual reached. This includes paid media, as well as any potential earned media off the back of that.

“Every single media advertising metric is an attempt to measure these two simple concepts. How many people, and what is the impact? As it stands, metaverse advertising opportunities are admittedly due to one of these two central points of importance not being big reach.

“The exciting thing for early adopters will be monitoring how this reach potential continues to shift, because what the metaverse promises in spades is an interface between brands and consumers that is richer than almost any interface that has ever been created. Including physical product placement.

“Imagine walking into a Nike store and trying on 40 pairs of shoes in five minutes. Possible.

“Attending a Rage Against The Machine concert on the same night as Kanye. Possible.

“With these experiences (slowly) becoming a reality there are undoubtedly opportunities on the horizon worth keeping an eye on. Today though, the smart marketer is leaving it to the big brands with money to burn, who apart from anything else are relying heavily on the earned media off the back of their paid exploits, as well as the fringe players looking to engage directly with the early adopter, tech savvy crowd.”

OMD’s Alison Costello and Nicky Barton : “Looking at the list of ‘events’ in Decentraland (where virtual plots of land can be purchased), you can see how brands are getting involved in the virtual world. It could be hosting a housewarming event for their newly created virtual space or branded entertainment venues promising your favourite bar games and photo booths.

“Whilst the metaverse isn’t necessarily creating new audiences, it does change the relationship dynamic between brands and their customers. The desired immersive nature of the metaverse will only heighten expectations from customers with how they interact with brands and what they consider to be a valuable or meaningful exchange.

“This will of course be underpinned by how the metaverse supports and champions customer privacy and promotes inclusivity. Some areas have very little ‘meat on the bones’ currently.”

Ben Cooper, M&C Saatchi: “While it’s still early days, both B2C and B2B users are migrating to the metaverse in their millions and we’ll need to join them, taking our clients with us.

“It’s time to be curious again, but there’s also that sense of childlike playfulness and learning that accompanies a new type of toy. Children learn through play and we can too. The rewards will be significant.

“My team and our clients have been spending time diving in… virtually… the metaverse. We’ve got our headsets. We’ve got our crypto wallets set up for currency and NFTs and we’ve been on day trips to a distinctly ‘unwalled garden’ called Decentraland. And you should too.

“No matter what, as marketers we must understand the metaverse is not an if or a but. It’s coming and we have to be ready. Just as we did with smartphones, we need to become comfortable using the next generation of Internet hardware and software. Comfortable with new creator ecosystems and decentralised commerce. It’s time to take the unplugged plunge and play. It’s time to experiment with experiences. It’s time to start creating.”

Zoe Cocker at Yahoo Creative Studios ANZ: “The metaverse is still in construction so the opportunities are endless and only limited by imagination.

“For advertisers that are keen to act now, there are plenty of options available to ensure you’re making your mark. But it’s important to lean on the experts who are building for this world, to get your best foot in the door.

“Defining your intention is the first important step. Brands have the chance to own a niche category in this new space. For example, if you work for a makeup company, you’re fighting competitors in an extremely cluttered environment. But in the metaverse, early players could take ownership of the category and build entirely new communities way ahead of bigger players.

“For other brands, the metaverse is a chance to completely reinvent themselves or refresh their image with new audiences.

“So how do you act on these opportunities? It depends on your level of investment and involvement. As a starting point all brands should be thinking about how their brand looks in a 3D space. From creating products in 3D, augmented reality experiences or 3D assets such as wearables and avatars. Yahoo has already helped plenty of brands, including the likes of BIG W, Officeworks and Optus start here.

“At a more integrated level, companies can engage with new communities by creating digital assets that they can trade, wear or consume. Think NFTs and digital garments.

“At the highest end of the spectrum, brands can jump in with both feet and create their own virtual worlds to curate a whole new brand position and audience.

“With Facebook changing its name to Meta, and Nike filing several trademarks to make and sell virtual Nike-branded sneakers and apparel, the big players are already taking this seriously. It’s the direction our ad industry is heading, whether we like it or not.”

Jade Harley at Kaimera: “Much like the emergence of social media, the metaverse will disrupt the way we buy and sell things, engage with others, conduct business and explore new worlds.

“There are two ways to look at the opportunity for advertisers in the metaverse. First, is simply as an additional channel in your marketing mix - the Metaverse will have its own ad formats that are likely to be trafficked and measured in much the same way as digital display.

“More exciting for brands, however, are the rich opportunities the metaverse will offer for immersive storytelling and gamified experiences. Smart brands and agencies will be looking at ways to flex their storytelling muscle and bring added value to the world with immersive experiences that encourage user interaction - enabling deeper, more meaningful engagement and interaction between brands and fans.”

Xiaofeng Wang at Forrester: “We’ve seen pioneering brands using virtual world platforms like Fortnite and Roblox which are providing opportunities for “metaverse-lite” brand activations or marketing campaigns, such as Gucci, Hyundai and Vans. Brands like Burberry and Bobbi Brown also participated in Alibaba’s ‘metaverse art exhibition’ and ‘metaverse symphony’ campaigns on Singles’ Day in 2021.

“But these early cases were more about leveraging the novelty to attract attention and create a new experience for brand engagement, and not yet considered as additional advertising inventory. Most consumers are not yet ready to use the metaverse on a regular basis, therefore, it’s not mature enough to be a regular advertising channel yet, only some pilot marketing campaigns.”

Nick Bell, founder of a string of digital agencies including a metaverse agency, Mooning: “If you are a brand, dive into Web3.0 now for first mover advantage. It’s not only a way to attract a new crypto native audience, but the opportunity to take your mainstream audience into the new online world. To be successful, you need to be authentic. Web3.0 is all about community so you need to invest in where the Web3.0 audience are (Discord and Twitter).

“Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Even the biggest projects experience rollout issues. The rewards for embracing Web3.0 early far outweigh the risk.

“There is money to be made, but also money to be lost. Do your research. As with any investment opportunity, it’s important to understand what you are investing in. Consider which metaverse you buy in. Consider how easy it will be to build in there. As in the real world, location, location, location is everything. Look at who your neighbours are (and make sure you really know who they are). You could be next to Snoop Dogg or someone pretending to be Elon.”

Jordan Taylor-Bartels at Magic: “Advertisers and marketers need to begin to understand the technology behind the platform now, not just its revenue-opportunity; and we must not make the same mistakes that we, as industry, made with data and privacy. We need to, as a collective, fundamentally understand:

“Blockchain, who it was made by, why it is so intrinsically reliant upon Ethereum and Solana.

“Non-fungible tokens, and what the contracts enable, and why the decentralisation of intellectual property repositories (via these smart contracts) will bring accountability and speed-of-delivery that no one has witnessed before

“The worst thing that can happen is that brands enter the space as early-adopters, but don’t innovate … What the space needs now is committed brands”

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