Despite its global hype, the metaverse—the 3D experience layer of the internet—is not yet actualized; it will be built out in stages over the next decade, according to new research from Forrester.
Today, any extended-reality experience is inaccurately being touted as “the metaverse.” According to the research, however, single-vendor platform activations such as augmented or virtual worlds, gaming environments, and development tools are just metaverse precursors.
Only 34 percent and 28 percent of US and UK online adults, respectively, are excited for what the metaverse will offer—yet 76 percent of US B2C marketing executives plan to invest in metaverse-related activities in 2022.
For the metaverse to become a reality, it must support an immersive experience of interoperable and interlinked environments delivered via a variety of devices—from smartphones and virtual-reality headsets to other form factors not yet conceived. The metaverse also requires regulatory standards, privacy codes of conduct, and inclusive and compelling user experience design. In a new report, Forrester offers considerations for business and tech leaders to evaluate their investments in the metaverse. Key considerations include:
- CMOs should explore how their consumers want to engage with extended reality while keeping metaverse investments modest. Brands must create a compelling value exchange with consumers or else face disinterest. Currently, Forrester finds that only 14% and 12% of US and UK online adults, respectively, feel brands should deliver branded experiences in the metaverse.
- CIOs and CTOs will need to plot hardware, software, and other technology requirements to support future metaverse-style experiences. According to Forrester, 58% of global business and tech professionals with metaverse and virtual-world knowledge say that their organization will adopt metaverse or virtual-world solutions over the next 12 months to support workplace collaboration, especially to enable anywhere work.
- Customer experience and design leaders should explore the metaverse’s potential for a new generation of customer experiences. For example, over the next decade, Forrester expects virtual shopping experiences to be highly personalized and purpose-built for the metaverse. Design leaders that excel at human-centric design will make the metaverse inclusive, co-creative, and beneficial to people.
- Digital business leaders should focus on core digital experiences that align with their consumers’ access, comfort, and preferences. They should also examine how comfortable consumers are with extended reality. Metaverse precursors won’t create substantial value for B2C companies in the near term, but digital leaders should continue to test and learn.
“Despite consumer skepticism and the fact there isn’t an actual metaverse, companies are still determined to stake their claim in it,” said Keith Johnston, VP and group research director at Forrester, in a news release. “Business and tech leaders should use this era of metaverse precursors to see where future opportunity lies, manage expectations around this concept, and gauge proper investments.”