The real metaverse opportunity is moving beyond gaming

by | Sep 29, 2022 | Public Relations

New research from independent professional services firms network KPMG finds that the vast majority of U.S. adults are ready to move beyond gaming experiences in the metaverse and see value in immersive interactions, such as socializing with friends and family (78 percent), and on-the-job training (76 percent). Further, 59 percent of adults surveyed report they expect the metaverse to have a significant impact on their lives in the next 12 months, with an additional 48 percent reporting a significant impact in the next 5 years.

“While it may still be early days, U.S. adults are increasingly adapting to creating real life experiences across the ‘phygital’ world,” said Cliff Justice, U.S. leader of enterprise innovation at KPMG, in a news release. “With each interaction, people are becoming more accustomed to engaging in everyday activities in the metaverse. From banking and telemedicine to learning and working, the medium we use to communicate and interact is perpetually shifting towards virtual.”

Rising impact

The metaverse has the potential to revolutionize the way businesses and consumers engage, transact, socialize and work. Of those participating in the metaverse, 92 percent of respondents say it enhances learning opportunities, including job training, school, and higher education while 86 percent report the metaverse provides opportunities for entrepreneurship, including marketing and selling.

Regardless of whether consumers are engaging in the metaverse, a majority of U.S. adults are interested in virtual experiences. Beyond socialization, telemedicine (72 percent), virtual shopping apps (67 percent), virtual work (65 percent) and starting a business (51 percent) rank the highest.

Path to adoption

The path to broad adoption is growing at a steady clip, but existing skepticism may create hurdles along the way. Privacy (80 percent) and protecting personal information (79 percent) were the most significant concerns, according to the survey. In the same vein, feeling secure about privacy and security of personal information were the most important factors to encourage participation.

Increasing access affordable technology and customizable avatars are also the most cited ways to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the metaverse, 38 percent and 36 percent respectively. Nearly a third (30 percent) of respondents say ensuring that metaverse environments are accessible to those with disabilities should be the priority across this category.

“With the companies and people still understanding the potential scope and scale of the metaverse’s impact, we must prioritize inclusive, safe and secure practices to protect users and ensure experiences are adaptable,” said Justice. “The recalcitrance to innovation is low and this is time to embed these priorities across technologies as they continue to evolve.”

As part of its strategic innovation roadmap, KPMG in the U.S. recently partnered with KPMG in Canada to launch its metaverse collaboration hub where employees, clients and communities can connect, engage and explore opportunities for growth across industries and sectors. The firm has formed a dedicated team to help clients develop and execute their own metaverse strategies.

Top findings from the research:

Forging metaverse connections

  • 78 percent of all respondents say the metaverse allows or could allow them to have personal connections with friends and family.
  • 76 percent of all respondents say the metaverse enhances or could enhance learning opportunities such as job training and higher ed.
  • 66 percent of all respondents say it provides the same benefits as social media, but in a more immersive way.
  • Millennials (69 percent) and Gen Z (61 percent) lead when it comes to being excited about the metaverse, followed by Gen X (44 percent).

Current use and expected impact

  • 59 percent of U.S. adults expect a significant impact from the metaverse in the next five years, with 48 percent anticipating a significant impact in the next 12 months.3
  • Current metaverse users are the most satisfied with their virtual experiences. Among those who have participated in the metaverse, the top experiences include starting a business (91 percent), collaborative online games and simulations (91 percent), and immersive, virtual experiences created by brands (87 percent).
  • Current metaverse users also report virtual participation in trainings for work or school (96 percent), work meetings (82 percent), virtual classrooms (72 percent) and government meetings (71 percent) as top experiences.
  • A majority of U.S. adults, regardless of their current participation in the metaverse, are interested in virtual experiences. Top interests include virtual meetings with family and friends (73 percent), telemedicine (72 percent), virtual shopping apps (67 percent), virtual work (65 percent) and starting a business (51 percent).
  • 32 percent of respondents are open to but undecided about metaverse participation. Of this group, 31 percent have a lower familiarity with the metaverse.

Paths to greater engagement

  • Respondents say privacy is the top concern (79 percent) when using the metaverse followed by personal information (79 percent).
  • Gen Z respondents care more about avatar customization (42 percent) with 36 percent of total respondents reporting this is the top DEI concern. Nearly a third (30 percent) of respondents say ensuring that metaverse environments are accessible to those with disabilities should be the priority across this category.
  • Providing access to more affordable metaverse technologies is the top concern among Millennials (39 percent) and GenX/Boomers (40 percent) respondents.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter