At one minute, you are waving your hands to Travis Scott at his concert, and in the next minute, you are spectating a fashion week with brands such as D&G and Tommy Hilfiger. Sounds like a fantasy? Well, it isn’t because the metaverse brings you exactly this. Metaverse entertainment is rewriting the industry standards for amusement, and it won’t be long till you realize the potential of web3. From video games, social media, and banking to healthcare, retail, and real estate, almost every industry employs different aspects of the metaverse to fuel its growth.
In this article, let’s look at how the entertainment industry is set for unlimited opportunities with the metaverse.
The metaverse is a concept of an online, 3D universe that combines different virtual spaces and allows users to meet, work, socialize, game, etc., within these spaces. That is to say, a metaverse is a combination of multiple elements of technology, such as AR, VR, XR, etc., that allows users to live in a digital world.
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The metaverse is driven by augmented reality, wherein each user controls an avatar. Some aspects of the metaverse can be witnessed in existing virtual video game worlds like Second Life and Fortnite or in work socialization tools like Gather.com. Besides gaming and social media, the metaverse combines digital identity, economies, decentralized governance, and other applications.
Before other industries, it was perhaps entertainment aspects that backed the metaverse applications. Beginning with gaming, the metaverse has now evolved to include different aspects of entertainment–virtual concerts, theme parks, online sports, cinema, etc.
The metaverse holds endless possibilities for the entertainment industry, majorly across the following verticals:
One of the core reasons for the metaverse’s popularity is that it allows audiences to interact with entertainers in ways that may not be viable in real life. The metaverse enables fans to talk to performers during the show while allowing the performers to respond back. The metaverse supercharges storytelling with deep immersion and interactivity. Instead of passively consuming a piece of content, audiences can become spectators or participants in a narrative.
The metaverse uses immersive channels to scale audience reach far beyond venue capacity and geographic barriers. At the same time, it allows experience-oriented entertainment brands to test out virtual venues that cut across the limitations of physical venues and open up new types of experiences.
Given the extended period of time for which we were prohibited from attending offline events in the last 2 years, the immersive storytelling experience of the metaverse appears to be a development that more and more entertainment brands will look into.
Metaverse’s ability to build new worlds and environments for audiences to explore is another of its most talked-about applications. The metaverse allows people with similar interests worldwide to meet, unite, and organize events that fellow consumers can enjoy and interact with. Metaverse’s potential in building communities lies in its ability to merge different fictional worlds and absorb characters from all sectors of pop culture. Fortnite is actually already leaning toward this direction with the video game franchise addition of Kratos from Gods of War.
The metaverse is already reaping benefits from individuals interested in developing and personalizing their avatars. This has opened new levels of digital creativity among the individual users of the metaverse. The platform enables fans to create their own narratives and take things like fan edits and fiction to the next stages of evolution. Metaverse avatars are actually a key component here. Users spend money to accessorize their avatars. Spending increases a user’s reputation in the app and unlocks extra functionality.
While collaborating with fans can be a tricky task, especially when the need to moderate user-generated content comes into the picture, it should be remembered that the nature of content creation has constantly been shifting. Most popular content now can come from anywhere. Therefore, though brands might want to refrain from monetizing user-generated content for reasons relating to brand safety, they might miss out on a big opportunity.
Digital experiences embracing a hybrid approach with features like remote viewing, live streaming, and virtual co-presence immensely appeal to the users in the metaverse. Entertainment brands can be seen offering mixed media, 3D avatars, AR/VR, and real-time video streaming services to introduce new digital experiences in the metaverse. For instance, Verizon partnered with Google, Disney, and Snap to create AR lenses that allowed viewers to interact with iconic Avengers.
Real-time rendering is a form of immersive computer graphics that allows the entertainment and media sector to develop photo-realistic graphics and animations that can be rendered instantly. Media brands may rely heavily on AI-backed 3D models and virtual avatars to leverage innovative production opportunities. Real-time rendering will power an advanced media experience that will unavoidably dominate future metaverses.
With real-time rendering also comes the aspect of virtual production. Virtual production in the metaverse merges live-action and post-production into a single process. It eliminates the need for physical production when applied to social media and streaming sectors. Instead of using a green screen to shoot scenes, filmmakers can use backdrops rendered in real-time to visualize the entire scene.
Gaming may easily be called the first entertainment avenue to enter the metaverse. Gaming in the metaverse has evolved tremendously in the limited time the concept has been around. Roblox and Fortnite are two popular games delivering what is perhaps the best gaming experience in the metaverse. What’s interesting to note is that these games aren’t just about ‘missions’ or ‘battles.’ With the help of blockchain technology, they allow players to trade NFTs and build a world of their imagination.
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While Fortnite also hosts music and dance events within its virtual universe, Roblox allows its users to build mini-games. Rec Room, Ember Sword, Axie Infinity, and Chain of Alliance are other popular metaverse games praised for their out-of-the-box experiences. Many are looking forward to the release of Illuvium, an NFT-based role-playing game that lets players explore a large virtual world to acquire unique creatures called Illuvials. These creatures help you fight other players and monsters. These illuvials double as tradable NFTs whose value increases with rarity.
Virtual concerts in the metaverse refer to music concerts experienced through AR/VR access to the metaverse. People can now watch their favorite musicians performing from the comfort of their homes.
Ariana Grande, Marshmello, Daler Mehndi, and Travis Scott are some prominent musicians who have already made a mark in the metaverse. Claire Elise Boucher, Nicki Nicole, and DJ Bob Sinclar also recently performed in the Metaverse Fashion Week, an undistinguished entertainment experience in the metaverse. Hosted on Decentraland, the first-ever fashion week featured prominent brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Bulova, and Dolce & Gabbana.
The Sandbox is another metaverse platform that entertains the audience through virtual concerts. In April 2022, Snoop Dogg released an exclusive metaverse music video of his House I Built on The Sandbox. The rapper, as a matter of fact, has his own virtual reality experience called Snoopverse on the platform. Before that, in January 2022, the platform partnered with Warner Music Group to create the first music-themed world in its metaverse.
That said, perhaps ABBA Voyage in May 2022 gave metaverse concert experiences their real edge. Thanks to the maverick technology of Industrial Light and Magic, people attending the concert could actually see it at the ABBA Arena in London without an external device over their eyes.
The combined technological advancements of filmmaking and video games are revolutionizing the media industry, turning the experience of watching cinema in the metaverse into a reality. VR-based films have been famous for some time now. The Line, which won the Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Innovation in Interactive Programming, allows viewers to interact with the movie’s environment to help the story’s progression.
Lustration is another fine example of metaverse filming. The animated series allows viewers to see the story from multiple angles, going way beyond the central plot. The viewers can become a part of the film’s setting and watch the characters talk like we do in the real world.
More steps have recently been taken to enhance the overall experience of cinema in the metaverse. Meta Hollywood announced its plan to build a first-of-its-kind virtual Hollywood-themes backlot movie studio in the metaverse. The studio will allow visitors to tour themed sets and see red-carpet premiere events.
Many movies also film behind-the-scenes footage that people can view through VR to explore the set and see the events that took place as the movie was being made.
Online gambling has shown extraordinary growth over the last 20 years. From mobile games to live streaming of card dealer tables, it is an industry that has unapologetically harnessed the latest technologies to drive growth. It is only fair to predict that gambling operators will soon invade the metaverse. Cryptocurrency casinos such as Bitstarz that allow players to deposit and play with Bitcoin have been running for over a decade.
In February 2022, Decentraland launched a virtual browser-based casino focusing on poker and reporting over a thousand concurrent players at its tables. Another example is the popular casino Mr. Green offering a virtual casino experience with a 3D casino floor and blackjack and roulette tables through an app on your phone. It is only a matter of time before hundreds of online slots like these are available in the metaverse.
The metaverse can impact the entertainment and media industry in 3 major ways:
Many artists canceled their world tours when the global pandemic started in 2019. But certain celebs took a different route and hosted concerts in the metaverse. Fans could enjoy music and concert experiences similar to how they would in real life. Those who owned VR could level up and tap the potential of 360-degree viewing. All of this was possible without the fear of the contagious crowd virus or the fear of hazards in crowds, such as stampedes and other violence. Some artists who have entertained their fans through the metaverse include Marshmello for Fortnite, Soccer Mommy for Roblox, and Foo Fighters in Meta.
Along with enhancing existing forms of entertainment, the metaverse is also planting new ideas. For example, the K-Pop band BTS has its virtual world in the metaverse known as the “Bangtan Universe.” Fans can enter the world, wander around, get into shops to buy merchandise, and more. Cinematic worlds are common in studios such as Universal Studios or theme parks such as Disney Land. But with the metaverse, anyone can curate their virtual worlds and design them in whatever way they want, even if it’s utopian.
There are also platforms where users can create and share their own virtual worlds. Virtual concerts allow users to experience and interact with their favorite performers from the comfort of their homes.
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The metaverse is forcing brands to get more and more creative with their marketing and advertising strategies. In the metaverse, brands can create virtual experiences that allow users to interact with their products in an engaging way that helps them experience what owning the product would be like.
The famous retailer Nike took a deep dive into the metaverse by creating a user-driven, fully-immersive digital experience that connects with their physical offering. The brand used AR tools to bring together entertainment, fashion, and gaming innovations.
Entertainment brands such as music production companies, studios, cinema houses, and even influencer agencies can explore the limitless opportunities of the metaverse. Hosting events to promote your brand or a product is one of the most effective ways to grab an audience. Be it exhibitions, pop-up stores, musical concerts, or film screenings. With the metaverse, you can now host virtual events.
Many brands opt for a live-streaming platform such as Clubhouse to conduct virtual events. With the metaverse, you can take it several levels high by incorporating immersion and interactivity in the content. From metaverse ticketing, avatars, arenas, and games to virtual meeting rooms, merchandise, NFTs, branding, and rewards, there are many virtual event solutions for brands to explore.
Here are some steps to get started if you’re looking to host a virtual event in the metaverse for your brand.
Find a metaverse platform and buy or rent land for your event. You can either choose a landscape in an existing metaverse, or you can build one from scratch. The metaverse offers infinite creative freedom. So if you are ready to put in the resources, you can go wild with building your event venue from scratch. For starters, you can look for some metaverse platforms, including Decentraland, Meta, or gaming metaverses, including Fortnite, Roblox, etc.
Now that you have a choice of the metaverse and land to host your event, the next step is to get proper tech support. The event will be completely virtual so make sure you get the software part right by getting help from the right technicians. Since the metaverse includes several animations, 3D, and dynamic movements, you must carefully curate the interaction based on how you expect the event to turn out.
Other tech requirements include minting NFT tickets, building virtual merch, tokenizing real-life rewards, themed avatar clothes, etc. You also need experts to help you decide the structure of shows, schedule dates and times, etc.
You are presented with multiple opportunities as an entertainment brand looking to profit most from an event in the metaverse. You can let other brands advertise in your event and earn money in sponsorship, and you can sell your own merch or even the ones you make for the event.
Several real-life objects associated with your brands can be digitized by tokenization to be sold virtually. If you are a music/video production company, you can also make money with the ticket fee for your screening/promotional events.
Some other insights into how you can leave your presence in the metaverse as an entertainment brand include.
NFL is working with Amazon on Next Gen Stats, an analytical tool that gives teams detailed player data to analyze player performance and trends and enhances the fan’s in-stadium, online, and during-game telecast experience. Brands can think along similar lines or, better yet, innovate on this concept and use real-time data to enhance entertainment experiences for their audiences.
Entertainment brands should consider a digital-native approach and adopt existing toolchains to design their sets, props, and costumes, creating a complex virtual experience. For instance, Disney is already using Epic Games’ Unreal Engine to power the production of The Mandalorian to render alien landscape sets in real-time and allow cameras to shoot from all angles.
Gaming is emerging as a key growth driver of the entertainment ecosystem, especially in the metaverse. This can be backed by Netflix’s announcement to team up with game publisher Ubisoft to develop content based on the Assassin’s Creed franchise. Entertainment brands should consider investing in gaming as a strategic distribution and engagement channel.
We are still in the early stages of comprehending how the metaverse entertainment will let brands use VR technology to provide more compelling experiences. But from work currently done by theme parks, filmmakers, concert platforms, etc., it is safe to say that these opportunities will improve the standard of entertainment and deepen brand/product royalty among users.
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