When do you build a metaverse equivalent of a real-life location? Some projects that opine to invest in the metaverse are so half-hearted and dismissive that they are seen as momentary flicks of the flame, squandering an opportunity to provide a full response. How many plots of land are full of companies who wanted to make a metaverse play on behalf of their company, but then stand empty long after? In real life, these sites would become weathered and broken; in the metaverse, the absenteeism is crystallised in pristine condition.
A notable failure is Samsung’s recent phone launch. The company hosted a metaverse unveiling of their new Galaxy S22 line, but the realm was hit by a range of technical difficulties that hampered the experience. When brands want to create a curated brand experience, any issues leave a mark on what is otherwise a controlled launch.
Others provide a robust response. Manchester City, a popular football team, announced that they are rebuilding a metaverse equivalent of their Etihad Stadium so that fans can watch in the virtual location. A bold move, and one which implies some level of consistent upkeep as they broadcast games on the location. But time will tell whether the stadium will have the capabilities to service thousands of fans simultaneously, while likely selling NFTs of club shirts or merchandise.
Learning from these, brands must make two considerations. The first is whether they need to make a metaverse play, to begin with. Not all companies need to hop on a burgeoning trend to make a dent, before they disappear back to their core corporate strategy. Companies must lead with a genuine investment for it to have resonance and impact from the first day. The second is technical; the space itself must be well-designed and supported to uphold a positive brand experience, otherwise its failures will reverberate well beyond the activation.