If you’re following the tech media, it's been nearly impossible not to hear about the term "metaverse." The world's biggest companies from all industries embrace the idea of virtual worlds and are working together to make it happen.
Many brands – including Adidas, Dior, and Warner Bros. – already took decisive steps to establish their brand presence in the metaverse. Here's an overview of what they have been up to in the virtual worlds.
What exactly is the metaverse?
If you're still unsure what the metaverse is, here's a short overview.
The term "metaverse" comes from the 1992 science fiction novel by Neal Stephenson, "Snow Crash." A similar concept was also covered in the popular "Ready Player One" book by Ernest Cline, adapted as a movie by Steven Spielberg. Both novels describe dystopian visions of the future where people seek to escape reality through virtual worlds.
There isn't a single definition of what the metaverse is or what it will be in the real world. Still, the general understanding is that it's a network of virtual worlds where people are represented as avatars. Many of the characteristics of the metaverse can be observed in existing games. That includes platforms such as VRChat, Fortnite, Roblox, and Minecraft.
At the moment, the metaverse is shaping to be more than a single virtual world. There will be hundreds of thousands of them, all connected through different platforms like Ready Player Me.
Immersive shopping experiences and digital fashion in the metaverse
When the Internet was growing in the '90s, one of the first things brands were exploring was e-commerce. The metaverse gives companies new and more immersive ways to present their products to consumers.
Charli Cohen is a British fashion designer, known for her collaborations with brands such as Pokémon, Capcom, and Assassin's Creed. She partnered with London’s Selfridges and Yahoo to create physical and digital shopping experiences. Users can explore the immersive world of Electric/City to learn more about the digital Kaleidodrip collection. The outfits are compatible with Ready Player Me avatars and can be used in hundreds of compatible apps and games.
Another example comes from Dior. Last year, they launched the Miss Dior Immersive Journey experience, exploring the brand's history. Users can create their own Ready Player Me with a selfie and use it to explore Dior’s virtual world.
One of the latest fashion brands to step into the metaverse is the Inditex-owned Pull&Bear. The brand created a virtual fashion collection compatible with the Ready Player Me avatars. Soon, Pull&Bear's customers will be able to import their 3D avatars to a virtual world experience on the Meta Quest 2.
Metaverse-ready avatar collections
Digital fashion collections are one way into the metaverse. Some brands take a step further and make their own full-body avatars. Ozworld avatars created by adidas Originals are the most recent example of it.
The process of creating the Ozworld avatars is very unique – users have to answer a set of questions to describe their personalities. A machine learning algorithm chooses the most fitting traits based on that. The avatars will be compatible with the Ready Player Me platform and hundreds of apps and games supporting our avatars.
Wearable NFT collections and merchandise for 3D metaverse avatars
More and more NFT projects go past the standard 2D JPEG profile pictures and offer interesting utility in the metaverse. The Canadian EDM musician deadmau5 partnered with the artist Nick “Smearballs” DenBoer to bring a collection of 5,555 Head5. They are inspired by the giant heads that Joel Zimmerman wears during his shows.
Unlike other NFT projects, the Head5 assets have a true utility in the metaverse. Right now, holders of the NFTs can use them with Ready Player Me avatars in compatible apps and games. Deadmau5 also announced a partnership with The Sandbox, teasing utility on the platform.
Branded virtual worlds in the metaverse
As more metaverse platforms open their doors, brands look for opportunities to include them in their metaverse strategies. A Volkswagen-owned sports car brand, CUPRA, is building its own virtual world in collaboration with VISYON – METAHYPE. It will be a virtual island hosting experiences from different brands, including Barcelona's biggest music festival, Primavera Sound. Users will be able to explore the island using Ready Player Me avatars wearing custom outfits created by CUPRA and other brands.
Augmented reality branded experiences
Augmented reality (also known as AR) experiences are often omitted when discussing the metaverse. That being said, they will become more important and common as companies start to introduce their AR glasses and headsets.
Warner Bros. partnered with Yahoo for the premier of the Dune movie to create an AR experience powered by 8th Wall's WebAR technology (now part of Niantic) and built by Aircards. The experience allows fans of the movie to create a 3D avatar wearing outfits from the movie. They can also bring their avatar to life in augmented reality.
Vodafone, the UK's biggest telco, integrated AR into their British & Irish Lions rugby team app. It lets fans of the team create their own Digital Lion based on a selfie and pose in augmented reality with the team's players.
Future of brands in the metaverse
We are still in the early days of the metaverse, and it's impossible to guess what we can expect from brands in the space next. The whole Web3 industry is moving and evolving fast, so it's a good idea to keep an eye out for the latest trends.
There are already many tools and technologies that let you and your brand embrace the metaverse today. If you're looking to get started with Ready Player Me and our 3D avatar platform, apply to become a partner or reach out here.