The metaverse is an immersive 3D world. Within is a series of connected virtual worlds users can explore using retinal movement, haptics, their voice or controllers – depending on which platform they’re using.
The metaverse has naturally proved popular with gamers – but the technology is already being adopted by businesses seeking new ways to interact with their audiences.
What is the metaverse, then – a gamer’s delight, a marketer’s very own Idaho, or a flash in the pan?
In this short guide we’ll:
- Explaining how the metaverse works
- How it could be used as a marketing tool
- Whether or not law firms should adopt it
- The pros and cons of this brand new tech
How does the metaverse work?
You can’t just stroll into the metaverse on a whim and look around – as you might on a conventional website.
To access the Facebook metaverse, for example, you’ll need:
- A VR headset
- Augmented Reality (AR) glasses; or
- a compatible controller.
In theory, once inside you could interact with others and teleport to specific locations – a meeting perhaps or rendezvous with a friend.
If you want to buy products or services you’ll need to use an approved cryptocurrency – examples of which include:
- Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) – assets containing unique identification signifiers and metadata which can be transferred to others.
- MANA – used as an in-game currency by Decentraland where users can buy plots of digital land and other virtual assets.
- Bitcoin – a payment method that isn’t controlled by banks or governments and can be used to pay individuals and businesses.
Cryptocurrency is built on the foundations of Blockchain: a technology that provides an auditable trail of transactions and lets users transfer funds, trade, and much more. It can’t be hacked and it isn’t controlled by any financial institution.
Is the metaverse live?
Yes and no. It’s a work in progress and doesn’t quite live up to the hype (yet).
There are multiple metaverses
The metaverse isn’t a singular entity. 160 companies worldwide are building metaverses as we speak – including household names like Microsoft and Facebook.
Some of these platforms are fully functional. Others are still in development.
Examples of live metaverses include:
- Minecraft and Roblox – gaming platforms where users create avatars and make purchases using virtual currencies
- Facebook metaverse – a growing virtual community where people can work, play, or just hang out for the sake of it
The technology isn’t there yet
The metaverse is still a work in progress. Right now aspiration leads the pack with technology struggling to catch the pacemaker at the front. True, the worlds accessible to us now deliver better experiences – but the full potential of such platforms is unlikely to be realised until the end of the decade (at the earliest).
Can you use the metaverse for marketing?
According to Mckinsey:
- Billions of capital have been raised by tech companies to fund ‘meta-platforms’
- Internet searches for ‘the metaverse’ increased by 7,200 percent in 2021
Big companies don’t throw big money at vanity projects. So, make no mistake. These interested parties are serious about building new (and profitable) virtual worlds. Worlds organisations like yours could build digital real estate on.
Are law firms using the metaverse?
Early adopters in the legal sector have already started snapping up virtual real estate on recognised metaverse platforms. The first to do so was ArentFox Schiff. But others have since followed suit.
In July of this year, Gleiss Lutz became one of a small minority of European law firms to join the metaverse. Its platform of choice, like ArentFox Schiff, was Decentraland. Why did they make this bold move into largely untested territory?
The reasons given were as follows:
- To remain accessible to its clients – not just now but in the future too
- To demonstrate its commitment to this growing and popular technology
True, the metaverse is still in the development phase – but it makes sense for businesses to establish themselves now instead of scrabbling to buy land once platforms have become saturated.
Organisations that become early adopters will also signal to customers and investors that they are forward-thinking. This will lend their brand credibility and attract attention for all the right reasons.
The metaverse: advantages and disadvantages
- Physical location is no longer a problem – because you’ll be able to interact with customers anywhere in the world
- Immersive environments populated by avatars lead to more personal experiences superior to those currently available
- Virtual working environments will bring teams together to create a better sense of inclusion and facilitate interactive meetings.
- Your brand identity could be hacked – leading to costly real-world percussions
- It’s tried and untested, so your investment might not pan out in the longer-term
- It’s unclear how the law will work, which raises complex challenges
The metaverse, although incomplete, presents as many benefits as it does challenges for ambitious law firms seeking to widen their reach and deliver even better user experiences.
But there’s no harm in establishing a presence early and building your brand slowly in this still-evolving universe. After all, you’ll be one of a small minority of firms experimenting with this new tech.
Confused? Then contact us for friendly guidance.