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Well versed: how could the Metaverse impact research?

Dr Nick Baker Chief Research Officer 13/02/2023
The convergence of virtual and real with the metaverse is completely different to its purely virtual forerunners

The metaverse has grown as an idea in recent years and more organisations are getting involved. Liam Kay explores what the convergence of real and virtual worlds could mean for market researchers.

The 1992 sci-fi novel Snow Crash is far from a household name, but among the many ideas explored within the novel is a concept of an ‘interactive’ version of the internet. The book named this invention the “metaverse”.

Fast forward a few decades, through world-building games such as Second Life, Fortnite, World of Warcraft and Minecraft to virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), and we have seemingly stumbled up a far more realistic prospect of a metaverse replacing, or coexisting with, the internet with which we are familiar. The metaverse is the idea of an internet that acts as a universal and immersive virtual world, which users access using VR and AR devices.

Meta, formerly Facebook, has made the most discussed foray into metaverse development, but it remains far from the only major player. Apple, Alphabet (owners of Google) and Microsoft are all pursuing their own metaverse tools, and investment in the technology is into the tens of billions – Meta alone has accounted for $38bn as of October 2022. Then there are existing metaverse platforms that are growing in popularity, such as Roblox, a metaverse gaming platform, which has 58.8 million active users, according to its financial results from November 2022 – a 24% increase on the previous year.

The question for research is whether this represents a ‘flash in the pan’ or something that will require a significant change in work practices. If changes are required, it is important that the industry considers what the future will look like, and how it needs to change to thrive in the metaverse.

“The convergence of virtual and real with the metaverse is completely different to its purely virtual forerunners,” argues Nick Baker, chief research officer at Savanta. “What is clear is that this is a new, emerging communication channel. There are approximately 60bn messages sent daily on Roblox – just one platform.”

This article was originally published by Research Live, you can read the full story here.

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