Metaverse is poised to become the next trillion-dollar opportunity for technology, as an increasing number of companies are showing interest in immersive virtual spaces that will allow consumers to go beyond what is possible in real life. This was highlighted in a recent report by CB Insights, which found that Metaverse will disrupt at least 13 leading industries including fashion, retail, gaming, education and more.
Although notable, many metaverse environments are still running. For example, tech giant Microsoft announced on May 24 the creation of an “industrial metaverse,” which will allow workers to wear augmented reality headsets to manage supply chains. On the other hand, venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) believes that gaming infrastructure and technologies will be “key building blocks of the Metaverse”.
Utility is the key
As such, it remains unclear which type of metaverse ecosystem will resonate most with consumers. However, given recent developments, it seems certain that avatars in the form of Non-Foldable Tokens (NFTs) will play an important role in the Metaverse, serving as the user’s digital identity within virtual spaces.
For example, Sebastien Borget, co-founder and chief operating officer of The Sandbox – a blockchain-based metaverse project – told Cointelegraph that avatars are the new representation of user identity in the Metaverse:
“By making use of avatars, anyone can digitally express themselves in ways that weren’t possible before. Furthermore, having truly your identity and being able to carry it through NFT across multiple decentralized applications and virtual worlds is a very concrete and easily understandable example.” by the mainstream masses.”
Bourget added that Metaverse avatars are able to represent a user’s different moods, tastes, and appearances. “Avatars ultimately shape how we interact within the Metaverse,” he said.
To put this in perspective, Borget shared that Sandbox plans to create Elvis Presley avatars for use in its metaverse ecosystem, which will allow millions of users to “convert” to Elvis Presley.
Bourget mentioned that Elvis avatars will transport fans through a virtual time capsule to complete fun missions. “Users will be able to apply as a member of the Memphis Mafia in the Sandbox Metaverse,” he said. Bourget believes such a feature could be very entertaining, as the Memphis Mafia was the nickname given by the media to a group of Elvis Presley’s friends, associates, and employees who accompanied and protected Elvis throughout his career.
Elvis’ sandbox avatar on the chain; Source: Sandbox
David Port, Creative Director of Run it Wild, told Cointelegraph that the studio’s set of 5,000 unique Elvis avatars will be able to interact with all of the other avatars in the Sandbox.
While entertaining, these features – also known as avatar utility – are one of the most important elements for ensuring digital identity within a metaverse ecosystem. For example, Porte notes that Run it Wild’s ultimate goal with this particular project is to create a virtual meeting place for Elvis fan culture using Web3 bars, like a utility, to push boundaries.
Highlighting this, Aaron MacDonald, co-founder of FLUF World – a 3D Metaverse ecosystem – told Cointelegraph that while avatars visually engage a broader community using Web3 functionality, utility is what gives purpose to the user’s personality. “The benefit helps users participate in the Metaverse economy, which is important because Web3 is about community ownership and community value creation,” he said.