Johannesburg – The use of the Metaverse is expected to balloon in 2023 as tech firms seek to unlock new opportunities within this new interconnected and immersive digital world.
Experts believe Metaverse will be revolutionary and fully transform the way we work, shop, socialise, and play.
Metaverse refers to technologies that underpin a virtual reality-based internet such as Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and Mixed Reality.
Mark Zuckerberg, founder, and CEO of Meta (formerly Facebook) describes his vision of the Metaverse as a place to “connect, work, play, learn, and shop”.
Zuckerberg says he anticipates Meta will contribute significantly to building the Metaverse, along with other tech companies.
The Metaverse economy has been growing globally since 2021 when Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg dabbled into it.
In SA, Metaverse is morphing and investments in the sector are growing, as such industry experts are predicting its adoption will swell in 2023.
MTN, advertising, and marketing consultancy M&C Saatchi Abel and Web3 consulting firm In2IT Technologies are some of the pioneering companies in SA that have made significant investments.
The three firms led the charge earlier this year, with MTN and M&C Saatchi Abel becoming the first SA-based companies to buy virtual real estate in Africa’s first Metaverse, Africarare.
MTN bought 144 plots of virtual land and the plots in Africarare allow the telco to expand its footprint in the metaverse.
Likewise, Web3 consulting firm In2IT Technologies launched its Metaverse studio in September at the GovTech 2022 conference in Durban.
Now as the year ends, experts are anticipating further investments, as more companies seek to garner a significant share of the growing Metaverse market.
“Metaverse is one of the latest technological advancements to come out of 2022 and is said to rise into the new year,” says Jaco Joubert, Skyworth brand manager.
“Typically, it is explained as the immersive digital world. The metaverse hype was created in 2021 when Mark Zuckerberg included the concept in social media.
“Then many businesses around the globe started to explore their own versions of the outposts in the metaverse to be a part of this innovation.
“Even though today, this outpost building is limited to large organisations and multi-million businesses, it is predicted that in 2023 the concept will be adopted by small businesses too”.
In the case of IN2IT Technologies, Amritesh Anand, the company’s vice president for sales, says SA companies that want to engage the next generation of customers, and Metaverse is the catalyst.
“SA market companies that want to engage the next generation of customers or employees are already using this (IN2IT) studio to create used cases relevant to them,” says Anand.
“Many of the customers are using digital meeting places as well as various other applications of metaverse such as training in Metaverse.
“The metaverse consulting and advisory business of In2IT is currently assisting many of the top corporates in the country.
“Metaverse universe building is a collaborative building exercise, wherein multiple digital worlds are going to engage with each other and we are pleased to have the first mover advantage in the country to enable customers to walk this path.”
Global research firm Gartner, says Metaverse is an independent virtual economy, enabled by digital technologies and nonfungible tokens (NFTs).
With this in mind, Anand wants local companies, government, entertainment, and education sectors to adopt Metaverse.
Verified Market Research, in the latest report, says the global Metaverse market size was valued at USD$ 27.21 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach USD$ 824.53 billion by 2030, growing at a compounded annual growth rate of 39.1% from 2022 to 2030.