In 2006, an online gaming platform known as Roblox was released, its interactivity and immersive features have gone on to become the blueprint for what developing metaverse creators strive to emulate.
The game was a heavy case study during an SBC Summit Barcelona panel, where a host of panellists within the meta industry identified the platform when offered the question, ‘how to market within the metaverse’, opened up a treasure trove of opportunities the metaverse can play in a plethora of varying industries.
“Roblox has approximately 250m unique people every month, the latest count is 57m per day. Our biggest experience, for example, is that we have reached 16,500 of play time in a year. So you have a lot of reach,” said panellist Marcus Holmström, CEO of The Gang.
Holmström and The Gang have been working on metaverse-created world games for the likes of the McClaren F1 team and NERF Strike.
But games such as Roblox are extremely catered and targeted towards a younger demographic, where entering these metaverses are almost exclusively used for recreational fun. Holmström offers insight into a future where the metaverse can mature and grow, which has already been in motion.
He said: “Looking at the younger audience – millennials and Gen Z – they are spending two times more meeting friends in the metaverse than in real life. They’re experiencing things together like concerts, which I think is going to be really interesting where it goes.
“Within a year from now, you’re going to see so many opportunities because it is extremely cheap to buy traffic compared to everything else you do.”
Many may have not known it then, but these interactive world-building gaming platforms have almost become the genesis of the more mature metaverse building we are seeing today.
The term metaverse, almost certainly reached global notoriety when Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg changed his company’s title to ‘Meta’, and announced the company will be moving into the future when discovering and exploring metaverse opportunities.
But what can we do in the metaverse? How can companies thrive and succeed in a digital world separate from the physical one? Panellist Edward Boyle, Global Commercial Director at Azerion UK, gave audience members a glimpse of an experience in the metaverse.
“Over lockdown is where we saw an explosion in our metaverses. We put on concerts and held one for Deadmau5. I think that reached around 170,000 people which is a real change to how consumers adapted to the environments we were putting on,” said Boyle.
“When you are creating a world, we’re now moving into a world where you can pretty much do everything. It’s a ‘one-size fits all’ approach so everybody’s learning and is a massive educational piece.
Boyle also stressed the importance of knowing your audience, especially when it comes to those entering a digital world. The metaverse has opened up doors for companies to become fully engaged with its customers, building better relationships through seamless conversations.
Boyle continued: “It’s all about where your audience is and what opportunities there are to touch your audience. With the metaverse it opens up the opportunity to be more engaged, when you’re running an ad campaign you tend to find a closed question.
“If you’re having more of an integrated conversation then you can start to open up the conversation, then start to have a proper conversation with your actual audience.”
Audience engagement is also highly prevalent in the gaming industry, and the metaverse opens up a wide range of opportunities for gambling firms.
Ulrich Gilot, Head of Media at Betsson, described the metaverse as an opportunity to “immerse yourself” via trade and design. But Gilot also sees opportunity in marketing media for Betsson in the digital world and how that can build a better relationship with its customers.
He said: “From a marketing perspective, focusing on promotion which is media driven, I look at it as an opportunity to advertise in the games section that exists within the metaverse.From a media perspective, I look at specific games where we can advertise towards target audiences.
“The one thing I have enjoyed is the tech our panellists brought to the table, instead of buying a package of media, the tech has now improved. You can now buy media through a demand platform (DSP), you can start segmenting the audiences you’re after: the localisation, age-range, the data, behaviour.
“So from a compliance perspective, it opens a realm of opportunities because essentially, another media platform that is untapped. So I embrace this media because now we can really penetrate that new media.
Whether the creators of Roblox intended to become the bedrock of revolutionary tech space or not, its influence cannot be questioned.
We have seen the rise of similar interactive metaverses in Minecraft and Fortnite, where the latter has even hosted its own metaverse concert staging a Travis Scott live performance straight from its platform.
The metaverse is still building and maturing into a space that can become an ideal home for businesses to flourish. Right now, cryptocurrencies and NFTs have found their footing in decentralised areas but when large companies are able to find their foothold, it has possibilities to become a business venture they would have never envisioned.