Despite recent headlines that “metaverse-hype” is dying down, new research released recently by Bain & Company shows the metaverse could reach up to $900 billion dollars by 2030—though it may remain in the seed stage for at least another five to 10 years.
Bain’s report, Taking the Hyperbole Out of the Metaverse, concludes that the metaverse poses real and growing economic opportunities for businesses. Companies that engage in the metaverse’s early stages of development, known as the “seed stage,” over the next five to 10 years, are more likely to become the market winners.
“As the metaverse quickly evolves, we’ve already seen these types of technologies take hold within different industries,” said Chris Johnson, a partner in Bain’s Technology practice. “A good example of this is immersive gaming platforms, which are already boasting hundreds of millions of monthly active users. And while it’s not immediately clear how the metaverse landscape will shift, our research shows there are five competitive battlegrounds that executives should be considering if they wish to get ahead and eventually scale. This is an ongoing journey toward more immersive and collaborative experiences, enabled by rapid improvements in the underlying technology.”
The metaverse is – and will be – plural
As consumer and enterprise applications become increasingly immersive and collaborative, Bain’s report finds it’s unlikely that the metaverse will emerge as one singular platform. Instead, platforms with large user bases today may take steps to become increasingly immersive and engaging, while smaller, metaverse-like environments will try to attract bigger user bases. These virtual worlds are likely to remain independent silos as private companies seek to recoup their investments by leveraging the value of the underlying data sets.
“Today, a mix of metaverse strategies exist, from companies with a vertically integrated approach that spans multiple segments of the metaverse technology stack to those with a horizontal strategy that focuses on a single layer of the stack,” said Moncef Maghrebi, Partner at Bain & Company Middle East. “It remains to be seen which will prove to be most effective as the market develops and the shape of the ecosystem (vertical vs. horizontal) is likely to evolve over time.”
Industries that have since exhibited the use of metaverse-type technologies include but are not limited to: entertainment, manufacturing, healthcare, education and employee training.
Five key competitive battlegrounds
Five key competitive battlegrounds that executives should consider if they want to gain market share in the metaverse according to Bain include:
- Virtual experiences (forecast by Bain to be about 65% of metaverse projected market size in 2030). Although gaming is currently the leading consumer metaverse application, immersive fitness and entertainment could also be compelling in the medium term. On the enterprise side, innovative use cases are emerging, primarily in collaboration and productivity, but also in digital marketing, employee training, education and healthcare.
- Content-creation tools (about 5% of metaverse market size in 2030). There’s a growing field of software tools that provide the building blocks, editing platforms and interfaces for creating metaverse worlds and experiences. These features make it easy for users to generate content.
- App stores and operating systems (about 10% of metaverse market size in 2030). The app store role will be crucial during the metaverse’s seed stage, providing users with curated, high-quality experiences to keep them engaged with the platform and headset they use to access the metaverse.
- Devices (about 10% of metaverse market size in 2030). Significant technological barriers must be overcome before the arrival of comfortable, stand-alone devices that allow for truly immersive experiences. To achieve mass adoption, metaverse content will need to work across all types of devices- including, for the foreseeable future, personal computers, gaming consoles and smartphones.
- Computing and infrastructure (about 10% of metaverse market size in 2030). Hardware companies will face pressure to develop higher-performing chips, servers and networking technologies to render high-quality graphics and reduce latency.