Facebook To Hire 10,000 People To Build The Metaverse: What Is It & Implications For The Toy Biz?
Facebook have just announced their plans to hire 10,000 people in the EU in order to develop the company’s offering in the Metaverse space. It isn’t just Facebook though, many other companies are working on the Metaverse, including other giants like Microsoft.
So, what is the Metaverse? Well as per usual, this isn’t entirely defined in an agreed way, but loosely speaking it can be described as a digital reality whereby people can ‘meet’ and interact with each other or with artificial elements combining social media, AR/VR and online gaming. (Wow that’s quite a mouthful).
In laymen’s terms think the Star Trek holodeck…but with more interaction with the outside world. Sounds kind of mind blowing doesn’t it?
PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS OF THE METAVERSE
Many of the tech companies looking at the Metaverse are looking at social and work interactivity functionality. If we can already do Zoom or Teams meetings, imagine working in a 3d reality where concepts and physical renders can be shown, I guess this is where the Metaverse meets Iron Man – those scenes where Robert Downey Jr uses his hands on a virtual screen to move complicated diagrams and specifications around.
The one massive application of the Metaverse of course which may concern those involved in the business of Play is Gaming. Many of the companies looking at this space are working on delivering all-immersive gaming experiences. I remember trying out a VR Gaming headset in the mid-1990s, and frankly while it was very clunky it was also incredibly compelling. It also gave me motion sickness! It has been something of a mystery as to why VR/AR haven’t taken off more quickly and become more integrated into standard gaming experiences. The Metaverse promises to revolutionise gaming as those early VR headsets suggested was possible.
For those of us in the toy business, successful gaming normally takes away revenue and play time from our target market, so this is a big potential impingement on the toy business. Having said that though, the deeper the experience, the more affinity is felt to characters in games the more merchandise and toys sells. Physical gaming stores like GAME in the UK now have extensive amounts of this type of merchandise as they lose sales to downloads and need to find other physical products to sell which fit their consumer base.
Moreover though, let’s not forget that the bigger toy companies have these days morphed into entertainment companies, and should be well set to benefit from the opportunities presented by the Metaverse. Products which can be incorporated into the Metaverse could well become massive hits, think Skylanders but with much deeper interaction – WOW!
There will surely also be Metaverse movie releases to look forward to, with some degree of immersion and perhaps even interactivity possibly. Whereas 3d seems to have been a gimmick which came and went quite quickly in terms of mass popular adoption, the Metaverse is likely to be with us ongoing. Therefore, those of us in the toy business should be keeping an eye on developments going forward.
Our Managing Director, Steve Reece, works with a limited number of companies as a non-executive director, independent board director and as a board adviser. If you are interested in finding out more about this, just click here: