According to a new Burga report, an average of 28 mobile applications a month mentioned the metaverse in their description between November 2021 and January 2022, representing a 460 per cent spike from the mere five average recorded between June 2021 and October 2021.
The number of apps adopting the word ‘metaverse’ in their description soared following Facebook’s rebranding to Meta back in October, with a name that triggered a lot of buzz around the metaverse concept. In the weeks following the announcement, up until the end of November, the number of apps grew from 11 to 29 By December 2021, a total of 30 apps had aligned their identity with the metaverse that month.
In the three month period recorded by the report, an average of 28 apps a month followed suit, realigning their business strategy and identity with this new emerging form of technology.
Generally speaking, the metaverse concept is a network of virtual worlds focused on social connection as a hypothetical iteration of the Internet as a single, universal virtual world supported by Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) headsets.
Gaming apps were the biggest adopters of the ‘metaverse’ keyword with 107 applications. Finance apps came second at 101, followed by social at 70, entertainment at 57 and books at 33.
Other top categories referring to ‘metaverse’ in their description include 33 lifestyle apps, 26 tool apps, 25 business apps, 13 art and design apps and 11 educational apps.
Why apps are aligning with the metaverse
A significant share of the metaverse will likely be enabled by apps, which explains developers’ decision to board the metaverse bandwagon.
Although the technology is still in its infancy, app developers that are actively utilising the metaverse as a critical marketing tool now will arguably hold an advantage over their competitors when and if the technology comes into full motion in the future.
According to the research report: “Although the metaverse is still gaining ground, app developers are using the concept as a critical marketing tool as different sectors await the actual technical requirements for the metaverse to emerge. It can be argued that the applications are working towards having an edge once the technology’s full potential is realised.”
Players in the metaverse still have significant ground to cover in ensuring the concept achieves mainstream adoption. To achieve success, aspects such as the cost of VR and AR headsets will need to be factored in.
Virtual interactions offer enticing financial opportunities for businesses and could potentially open new revenue streams for companies diving into this new venture. At this point, with the shift towards a digital life, the opportunities offered by the metaverse are limitless.
Why gaming apps are leading the metaverse
Gaming apps have seized the day, being one of the biggest adopters of a metaverse description. These apps have a long and proven history with the use of VR and AR technology; one of the core pillars of the metaverse experience.
While Web 3.0 will provide a great deal of support in terms of delivering the metaverse, gaming engines will most likely become the critical building blocks for creating virtual world applications.
Microsoft’s recent acquisition of the gaming company Activision illustrates the fundamental role this technology will play in the future of the metaverse. The company’s purchase focused on Activision’s existing catalogue of games, which would now come under Microsoft’s ownership. This would allow the company to expand its offering beyond Xbox, enabling it to supply games to a wider net of gaming systems.
However, although its assets have become more diverse, Microsoft appears to be equally as interested in the talent and resources that created best-selling games like Call of Duty, Crash Bandicoot and Doom. Microsoft has now deepened its talent pool with people who know how gaming engines work. Will Microsoft use this talent to establish its own metaverse apps? Most probably.
Outside of Gaming
Besides games, metaverse technologies have found practical applications among other sectors like finance. For instance, VR and AR can be deployed to help teams visualise data and mitigate financial risks, raising the quality of services being provided to customers.
Although app developers are getting ready for a future in the metaverse, it might take some time before its full-scale vision is realised. Developers need to consider elements that support its use, such as the cost of hardware and the speed and accessibility of the internet.
Additionally, the high scale of interoperability required to build various aspects of the metaverse is yet to be achieved. In this line, tech companies will have to partner with other entities on factors such as metaverse laws.