A recent article from CoinDesk has sent brands and agencies into a panic suggesting scarily low usage of Metaverse platforms - with a population of each ‘universe’ that’s no bigger than a school class or a single train carriage.
Brands paying big money to build in the Metaverse may have been struck with fear when they saw a recent headline claiming two popular Metaverse platforms “Decentraland” had 38 daily active users in 24 hours and “the Sandbox” have around 522 daily active users.
Since the article's release, it’s prompted the usually secretive platforms to release some of their stats - claiming the article has misinformation. We’re going to break down what we know and what it means for culture and brands…
Both companies released statements on Twitter saying that whoever pulled the stats were using the wrong metrics.
The low figures suggested only 38 people used Decentraland each day - which is a shocking figure and a stark contrast to the level of investment that both have been valued at around $1.3 billion.
The platforms claim that figure is the number of unique contracts being published on the blockchain for a transaction, meaning anytime anyone bought something.
They came back saying that their Monthly Active Users were around 55,000 – still not that high. Sandbox released their stat saying they had 201,000 Monthly Active Users.
How does that stake up in terms of mass adoption, let’s take Instagram as an example. Instagram was launched on Oct. 6, 2010, when it was initially only available for iOS. 4 The app reached one million registered users after just two months.
But has the damage already been done? Will we see far fewer activations in the Metaverse since the curtains have been pulled back?
SHOULD WE BURN THE METAVERSE
Before we talk about if we should abandon all hope on the Metaverse, we have to ask ourselves why we have all believed in building experiences and worlds with a technology that is in its infancy and in fact is nothing more than very basic video games with limited capabilities.
Firstly, it’s important to say that the Metaverse (if you can even call it that) is still its early days – the technology isn't anywhere near advanced enough to see mass adoption.
We all piled on the metaverse because it was a light during the pandemic that we can still have experiences even when we're locked in our homes.
Brands fell over themselves to the ‘first’ anything to appear in this hopeful new world, diving headfirst for the PR buzz and not a worry for user numbers because we’ve all been burnt too many times before when it comes to slow adoption.
Also with tastemaker luxury brands like Burberry and Gucci leading the charge, it was a clear indication of the importance and cultural significance of these new spaces.
Unfortunately, the same reason why we all got excited about the Metaverse during the socially distanced years May we’ll be the reason we don’t see large numbers of people gathering in them today. People are craving real-world experiences, and connect with others at festivals, parties, events and other experiences IRL. The Metaverse to most served it’s purpose and we’re moving on.
This means that the Metaverse and those in it, for now, are a niche community and not the mass population, therefore we should bear that mind when creating anything in this space.
As the tech improves, as we achieve greater interpolarity between Metaverse worlds making it more seamless we’ll then in turn see more people turning up in the Metaverse.
For that reason, I would say now is the PERFECT time for brands to start activating in this space to experiment and begin to shape their future web3 strategies – you'll meet a smaller but highly engaged crowd that if you won over, when it becomes mass market, you'll know you're set up for success.
I would say to brands not to let this deter them in thinking about activating in these space and metaverse opportunities.
In terms of reaching audiences at scale, we'll see two things that will push metaverses / web3 experiences further...
1. More Metaverse companies will appear IRL – they're all going to be looking for a bridge into the real world and the blended realities is what people will want / expect to see (without reminding them of being in lockdown)
2. Gaming and Interpolarity – we should be looking at the tools that are starting to cross worlds into different spaces like Ready Player Me, allowing users to have web3 content and avatars that can be used and seen in multiple places. I think if a brand were to play in this space, that would be super exciting.
So, long story short, should we burn the Metaverse? No… let’s build a better one.