Gone are the days of Friday nights spent browsing the aisles of Blockbuster and Tower Records, or standing in line to see the newest movie at AMC Theaters. What each of these entertainment-focused brands had in common was their inability to adapt to the evolving technologies of web-based streaming platforms and media apps. If the stories of their demise have taught us anything, it’s that when technology advances in a way that provides a better and easier option to experience everyday life, brands must evolve with their consumers' technology preferences in order to survive.
We are now on the cusp of another technological revolution that will evolve the web into its 3rd iteration, providing a simplified and enhanced way to connect, communicate, consume content, play games, shop online, and experience entertainment – and it’s called the Metaverse.
Often, when the metaverse is mentioned, a look of perplexity filles the faces in the room, whether it is due to the complicated nature of the technology or new terminology like Web3 and Blockchain that causes this confusion, it has created a feeling the Metaverse is some far-fetched futuristic prediction, a trendy buzzword, or only applicable to video gamers. However, when you remove the cyber lingo, forget the tech, and just focus on the data and facts, it becomes less complicated and evidently clear that the metaverse is about to infiltrate every aspect of our lives, disrupting the Entertainment industry to a similar magnitude as the streaming-era of the 1990’s.
It may seem unbelievable, until you realize the metaverse is on track to reach $800B in annual revenue by 2024, making it larger than the global Music and Movie industries combined. Even more astonishing, is that gamers are spending an average 14.7% of their time playing games, while non-gamers in the US are digitally connected to their screens over 7+ hours a day. Gamer or not, consumers' digital affinity and hyperconnectivity to virtual mediums provides a seamless transition for the metaverse’s integration into our lives.
Some industry leaders have taken notice and are quickly getting into the game, betting big on the future of entertainment in this new digital realm. In recent months, Warner Music Group announced the creation of a virtual theme park for concerts and musical entertainment in The Sandbox, Walt Disney Co. is calling the metaverse the “next generation of storytelling” and is rumored to be in development of a wearable that transcends the physical and digital barriers to elevate their theme parks and Disney+ streaming experiences, and Sony Group just announced their commitment to focus full company efforts in this new cyberspace, by leverage their expertise in gaming technology to create new entertainment-focused experiences in the Metaverse.
Whether Entertainment brands are ready to play or not, the metaverse is here and it’s not going anywhere. By blurring the lines of physical and digital, it has created a newer, easier, accessible, streamlined, and preferred way to experience everyday life. All signs point to continued technological innovation that will provide consumers a one-stop-virtual-shop for entertainment experiences.
Now the time has come for Entertainment brands to level up and find their virtual footing in the metaverse, or it could mean Game Over.