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Marta Peral Ribeiro

Marta Peral Ribeiro
– Communication Consultant –

A few months ago, Facebook announced the change to Meta, to follow the technological news of the metaverse experience. Now, without major surprises, it is Youtube that wants to integrate virtual and augmented reality features, starting with games.

Marta Peral Ribeiro

Marta Peral Ribeiro
– Communication Consultant –

A few months ago, Facebook announced the change to Meta, to follow the technological news of the metaverse experience. Now, without major surprises, it is Youtube that wants to integrate virtual and augmented reality features, starting with games.

The metaverse experience 

In a one-minute video, Neal Mohan, Chief Product Officer of Youtube, tells us some news of the platform for 2022.

What we’re going to cover in this article for now is the integration of metaverse features in the gaming industry, so that the user experience is more immersive.

Through emerging technologies such as Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and other technological elements, individuals “transform” into their own avatars and can interact in a 3D virtual world that mirrors the real world.

In a nutshell, the metaverse is where the two realities, physical and virtual, touch each other.

We’ve already addressed the potential of the metaverse here when Facebook changed to Meta.

metaverse

Zoom in: YouTube as an ecosystem

At first glance, there are factors that easily contextualize the next step of the platform:

Nearly 2 decades of technological innovation

Since 2005, the year YouTube emerged, we have witnessed technological developments within the platform, particularly at the visual level, through the different content formats.  Given, also, that it is a subsidiary of Google LLC, the exploitation of Web3 would be, at the very least, expected. 

The user experience

Putting the user at the center of the action, along with the development of algorithms to better understand it, has guided the actions of the platform, which aims to offer personalized experiences and apps that meet each person’s needs.

Increasing online monetization

The explosion of e-commerce in recent years, and the very evolution of virtual products (such as cryptocurrencies), particularly within social networks, makes these platforms a source of business. 

And that leads to another point: knowing not only who the target audience is but also who has the purchasing power. 

Zoom out: the environment around Youtube 

At a more distant perspective, now reflecting the transformations that have taken place in the general digital landscape, many of them catalyzed by the pandemic, there are other circumstances that eventually converge for the metaverse: 

The rise of the gaming industry

According to Yahoo Finance, the estimated revenue for the gaming industry in 2026 globally is $314 billion.  These values will probably be reached even before then. 

Attentive to the exponential growth of the gaming industry and, in parallel, to the rapid progress of emerging technologies, the primacy of Youtube in this category is justified.

The purchasing power of Gen Z 

The YouTube universe encompasses audiences of various age groups:

Users-Youtube-2020-Statista
Source: Statista

Despite matching 2020, the chart will not have fluctuated significantly, however. Now, if  the individuals of Gen Z (born between 1996 and 2010, approximately)  represent a generous slice of the  audience that consumes not only Youtube (77%) but also video   games and have a purchasing power of around 143 billion dollars, the investment in metaverse experiences is undoubtedly a  good game.

And it wasn’t just Youtube that realized this.

Metaverse: fertile ground for brands?

We already know that one of the golden rules of marketing is to be where the audience is. And it’s also known that users create greater relationship with brands that have a stronger digital presence. 

 If we think that Youtube has a universe of more than 2 billion active users, this platform proves, on the one hand, a fantastic source of entertainment and, on the other, a convenient resource for businesses. 

After all, if the metaverse represents a virtual reality, it is natural that business opportunities arise in the virtual plan as well, with virtual products and eventually also a bridge between both areas (virtual and physical).

The idea becomes even more fascinating if we consider that the virtual environment does not have the same barriers as the physical world!

Above all, technology should be looked at in a pragmatic way: as a means to improve experiences, not just as an end. 

The national panorama

In Portugal, the metaverse is also a subject that arouses the interest of many users, especially as it was a highly spoken about topic at the end of 2021:

Metaverse-Google-Trends
Source: Google Trends

Alongside the enormous transformation of the World Wide Web, the metaverse undoubtedly represents a business opportunity to be explored. 

Indeed, the companies that are already monitoring these emerging technologies are also the ones that can benefit from greater visibility and thus position themselves solidly in the market.  In the near future, it will be perfectly common for brands to be in virtual reality.

Brands that are (already) repositioning themselves in the metaverse

Finally, here are some examples of brands that are being spoken about in the virtual world, through partnerships with large video game platforms such as Roblox or Fortnite:

Nike

Last year Nike created Nikeland in the Roblox universe. In the game, in addition to being able to choose your Nike gear, players can create a mini game – proof that Nike is attentive to its audiences, notably Gen Z, who want to be part of the process more than watching on the sidelines.

Nikeland-Nike-Game

 

Source: Nike
Nike Game

Balenciaga

Bold Balenciaga went further, creating a bridge between the virtual world and the physical: in addition to users being able to choose the brand’s clothes within the game, the partnership with Fortnite was disclosed through three-dimensional billboards in New York, where the character acquires a dimension without limits, as in the metaverse.

Youtube-VideoSource: Vídeo Youtube

 

KAWS 

It’s not just clothing and sports brands that have innovated in the metaverse. Also, in collaboration with Fortnite, and London’s Serpentine Gallery, American KAWS brought his art to the virtual world via a digital version of his exhibition.

StirWorldSource: StirWorld
Epic GamesSource: Epic Games Video

Emerging technologies bring us the metaverse. First announced by Meta (Facebook), we now witness Youtube, which will soon integrate new features, initially for gaming.

Along with that we also see that some companies are already realizing the potential of the metaverse, especially to position themselves in the market. Undoubtedly, the innovative character of these new technologies represents a great opportunity for brands to differentiate themselves, both inside and outside digital. Especially among the younger generations, who in addition to growing up naturally in a technological environment, reveals a purchasing power that should by no means be underestimated.