The Metaverse: Business Opportunity of a Lifetime?

Imagine that you walk down the street. You are on your way to work. Suddenly, a buzz from your smartphone. You forgot to log out of the game you are playing. Now your team pings you to join a group raid to collect valuable loot. Loot is valuable and can often be sold for crypto. You don’t want to miss out on the Group’s progress and earning some extra money.
At the same time, digital bidding is going on for the digital art work you are selling for some tokens. Oh and don’t forget that eBlind Date you have in 30 minutes. Meh so many distractions in the metaverse!

The meta-what? Sounds confusing? Perhaps, but this is the world we live in and it is how billions of people interact in a reality that is part physical, part digital.

Welcome to The Metaverse… A reality that is all around us. Like The Matrix. And you better prepare yourself AND your business to adapt fast and adapt deep. Failing to do so will make you miss out on the New Economy, where trillions of dollars will shape what companies succeed and which companies will rule.

Read on and we will help you prepare to focus on the only thing that matters in technological revolutions: how to grasp the motivation of your users and customers in the Metaverse.

Wikipedia defines The Metaverse as:

“a collective virtual shared space, created by the convergence of virtually enhanced physical reality and physically persistent virtual space,including the sum of all virtual worlds, augmented reality, and the Internet.”

Er…what? Let’s rephrase that.

The metaverse is basically a collection of physical and digital experiences that seamlessly overlap and integrate. Think of Marshmellow doing a virtual concert in the game Fortnite:

The metaverse world is an always expanding matrix. In time people will be able to enter the metaverse, completely virtually (with VR headsets) or interact with parts of it in their physical space with the help of Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality.

As the example of Fortnite shows, the Metaverse opens up a whole new world for businesses to make money and reach customers. In the old days there was Second Life of course and already then people sold virtual villas and shops to other people. And some of these properties were valued at millions of dollars. But the current Metaverse takes all of this one step further.

The coming of age of the Metaverse creates huge opportunities for businesses.

This is what the CEO of Epic Games has to say about it:

“This Metaverse is going to be far more pervasive and powerful than anything else. If one central company gains control of this, they will become more powerful than any government and be a god on Earth.

Tim Sweeney, CEO, Epic Games”

Already there are signs of a massive opportunity unfolding. Look at the artist called “Beeple” (Mike Winkelmann for friends) who started selling unique digital art pieces online. All you buy is an image with a proof of ownership blockchain token (non fungible token). During 3 days in December, Beeple sold US$ 3.5 million worth of digital art work. Recently, the buying frenzy topped when the owner of his own art work metaverse bought Beeple’s ultimate US$ 69 million art work.

Beeple's digital artwork sells for $69 million as an NFT - htxt.africa
Beeple was in no way the first to dip into the nexus of art, digital and blockchain of course. Already in 2017 a company called Axiom Zen released digital trading cards portraying cute little cats.

Will you be the first to breed these imaginary CryptoKitties? - CryptoKitties Blog
These CryptoKitties breed with each other so you can combine two of them to create new kitties. Cute but useless you say? Perhaps, but $30 million market transactions tell you they did something right.

Many big businesses are getting involved in the Metaverse space. Microsoft already bought Minecraft developer Mojang in 2014 for US$ 2.5 billion. Gaming universe builder Roblox is now worth US$ 30 billion. Trillions more dollars are being created as we speak and businesses can no longer afford to not be in the know or even part of it.

The Metaverse: a User Opportunity of a Lifetime?

The metaverse is not only a business opportunity. It also creates major opportunities to increase user engagement tremendously.

This is not just interesting for businesses that want to create deeper customer relations and increase revenue. It is of major importance for these customers themselves. Just like in gamelike situations, the metaverse can offer users a completely democratized experience. Especially when these experiences are hosted on the blockchain, further enhancing user agency. Users can take full control of their identities in their own crafted journeys, while at the same time collaborating with other users and interacting with brands.

The Octalysis Group is currently working with a company that is giving its users control of their marketing power for example. What they do is to create identities of users on the blockchain which gives them power to sell their attention to brands that want to advertise to them directly. In return they command a direct . The brand does not see their name and only knows the cohort that this user belongs to. In a metaverse built in the digital space on the blockchain, users become increasingly powerful. Stay tuned for updates from us.

Ready Business Player One?

The advent of the metaverse as one of the dominant environments where businesses will interact with their customers supercharges the need for true user engagement.

How can you ensure that you catch the engagement of users that are highly empowered through the new metaverse setup? Just creating a digital functionality for users to interact with does not mean that they will interact with or buy your product. It does not mean that these users do the actions that you want them to do.
Virtual reality often feels shallow as there is no user journey built in the virtual reality headset experience. Websites without engagement design are nothing more than a collection of functionalities, just like the universe without life is like a black hole. The trick is to create user engagement design that intersects with the fully immersed digital experiences that users have in the metaverse.

In fact the metaverse is all about having a user Journey. Look at the movie Ready Player One for example. The people in this fictional metaverse are not just mindlessly gaming their time away. The design of the metaverse Oasis in the movie is set in such a way that it appeals to all aspects of human motivation according to the 8 Octalysis Core Drives.

Gamification Metaverse

Players in the Oasis constantly feel that they are progressing in their Journey by collecting experience points or currency. The game also provides them a means of livelihood which empowers feelings of ownership and possession. And because certain events are only taking place at certain times there is a lot of Scarcity Designed for people to come back to experiences again and again and again.

Because they have built up such a high level of ownership and possession they also fear to lose what they have built up in the experience. This creates some obsession to come back to the experience on a daily basis. The Oasis also gives users virtually unlimited creativity as it allows them to play whatever role they want to play or whatever area they want to visit.

And obviously the game is extremely social which combines very well with the feelings of curiosity that people face during social exchanges as well as exploration in the game itself. On top of that, the inventor of the game has designed for users to enter an epic hero’s journey to free the metaverse of evil forces.

Making the metaverse work for your own company

Why is this of interest to you?

Who cares how the game in Ready Player One has been designed? Well, the Oasis is the ultimate form of the metaverse. It’s the exact direction that least some of the newly emerging metaverses are taking. It may be an environment that you as a business may want to interact with. In that case you need to make sure that your design optimizes fully for human motivation. The time has gone that companies can just rely on your value proposition of their products to win people over and to get them to buy products and services.

The already short attention span of users in the digital space is shortened even more by the amount of distraction that goes on in the metaverse (or metaverses). The design of your product or service needs to be so good that there is almost no reason the user would not want to interact with your product in the first place. On top of that you need to ensure that users feel truly empowered and engaged when they first start to interact with your product or service. And not long after that your design needs to optimize for long term and deep user engagement.
And even when you manage to get users back again and again, you are not yet done.

You then need to think of a design that empowers veteran users to become your internal and external brand ambassadors. These leaders will show everybody in the experience how to behave and will tell everybody outside the metaverse to join the metaverse (and by proxy your brand influence circle).

Now, crafting such an engaging user journey around your business offering is not easy. It requires a thorough understanding of human motivation; knowledge of Behavioral Science and human biases and heuristics. It necessitates having the ability and empathy to crawl in the skin of the users. Only then will you be able to create the right human touch just like successful games have done.

You need to master gameful design in combination with Behavioral Science. and that is exactly The Octalysis Group is known for.

Let Octalysis help you become successful

For almost a decade we have worked with the most innovative startups in the Silicon Valley as well as major Fortune 500 companies to help them create highly engaging user experiences for their services and products. We are at the cutting edge of design for real and virtual universes, and have been for a long time.

Feel free to reach out if you would like to have a free consultation about how we can help you master the art of user engagement in these rapidly changing times.

Let us help you ensure that you don’t miss out on a huge business opportunity that is unfolding in front of us in the coming years.

joris@octalysisgroup.com