What could the Metaverse mean for Visitor Attractions?
We’ve all heard the metaverse being used more in our everyday lives but what is it actually and what impact could it have on the visitor attraction. In this blog, we explore the history of the metaverse, along with some potential implications for visitor attractions.
What is the metaverse?
It may surprise you to learn that the Metaverse is not new, having been coined in 1992 by sci-fi writer Neal Stephenson as a phrase to describe a 3D virtual space. Thanks to Facebook rebranding themselves as Meta, its recently had some great PR becoming a hot topic for marketeers and attraction managers alike.
Pre-Covid, it would forecast to become a viable technology product by 2035, however like most things digital, Covid has sped up its growth creating sudden market and public interest
What is it actually?
The actual definition of the metaverse is as “a virtual-reality space in which users can interact with others in a computer-generated environment”
Since the World Wide Web was created almost 30 years ago, the amount of social activity online has increased substantially. From online chat bots to digital groups, video calls and AR filters, the real world is fast becoming blurred with the virtual.
In other words, the Metaverse is a virtual universe that allows users to create and live in their own digital world.
Nike were early ambassadors
In early September 2020, Nike became one of the first companies to monetise this 3D online universe by creating an online experience within the Roblox world. It created a collection of over 50 million games all developed by its users, allowing the public to enjoy Nike digital clothing and activities digitally.
This new world ‘Nikeland’ has become extremely popular for young teenagers, allowing them to log on and catch up with their friends whilst customising their spaces and wearing the latest apparel from Nike.
Facebook have evolved it further
Facebook are taking this concept a step further in their virtual world within the online Metaverse, users will be able to experience things in virtual reality. For example ‘go to the office’ whilst remaining in their kitchen wearing a virtual reality headset. Or play tennis with a friend in the park whilst remaining in their own living room.
Of course, it can only be a matter of time before the theme parks museums, and concert arenas join this virtual playing field (infact the Abba Voyage Concert back in May 2022 already blurred the lines between physical and digital).
Are there any negatives to the Metaverse?
Whilst the Metaverse is an exciting idea, there are potential negatives. Daily doses of virtual reality could separate us from the real world, especially for the younger generation. The damage that digital influencers and social media causes to mental health is already headline news.
A virtual world where users can create the perceived perfect version of themselves could be a catalyst for problems.
What does the Metaverse future look like for my Visitor Attraction?
The sky is the limit. Similar to the birth of the internet in the 90’s the possibilities of the Metaverse are endless for visitor attractions.
You will be able to extend geographical reach by allowing global access to a virtual version of your real-life attraction.
You’ll be able to open a roller-coaster that would be unaffordable in the real world, or provide a virtual version of an endangered animal. The Metaverse has the power to make dreams come true.
Thinking leisure with a big ‘L’, you’ll attend virtual concerts, visit the Great Wall of China for a week from your living room or sell 100,000 front row seats virtually at the next World Cup Match… The Metaverse makes unique experiences accessible to the majority.
But this does widen the playing field? Is this all-positive news? With geography no longer important, how do you differentiate? Could a global market, drive ticket prices down.
It is certainly food for thought. The future winners of the metaverse will no doubt combine Attractions that effectively blend virtual and real-life experiences with excellent targeted marketing. Exciting – yes. Challenging – yes. And we can’t wait.
This blog was written by Miles Thomas, Marketing Executive of Agility Marketing, a boutique marketing agency specialising in Digital Marketing for Visitor Attractions.