The Metaverse today – what it means for German companies

The metaverse is and remains one of the trending topics, which is discussed up and down in mainstream media, but especially in new media such as Discord Channels. And the German Bundestag will also take care of the metaverse on December 14, 2022. But where are we in 2022, just over a year after Facebook Inc.’s name change to Meta Inc.? What can German companies do today to recognize the potential of the metaverse, to position themselves to generate a so-called “unfair advantage”?

First of all: many definitions still circulate with sometimes different opinions on what the metaverse really is today. A camp pretends that it already exists (eg in the form of virtual worlds, or in whatever form). The other side, on the other hand, calls the merging of all worlds only the ONE metaverse. Unfortunately, there is no consensus here. On the contrary: the fronts are hardening. Notably because economic interests come to the fore.

A look at the past shows that metaverse elements are used very early, e.g. B. appeared in the game Habitat in 1985. Well known to many, but a failure, is Second Life (2003), the first self-proclaimed “Metaverse”. And the video game World of Warcraft (2004) also combines some elements of the metaverse, such as avatars, its own trading place, interaction with other players, and much more. Pokémon Go (2016), also a game, only this time on mobile, then uses augmented reality technology on a large scale for the first time, creating a convergence between the physical world and augmented reality. More recently, Decentraland (2017), a decentralized “metaverse”, is moving forward. But there too, the critics (and me too) object that it would be better to speak of a virtual world.

Now the question surely arises: if the metaverse is all and nothing, what can I or my German company do anyway?

The short answer: a lot!

Most detailed: The development of the metaverse holds a wide range of opportunities for German companies. They can now gain a competitive advantage by actively participating in the development of e.g. B. in the field of required technologies or components. Because different components or technologies are necessary for the emergence of the future metaverse. They can either act alone or develop their potential in interaction with others. Both the component of unlimited usage capacity as good as ensure interoperability are for the emergence of the Metaverse of the future absolutely necessary. Other (key) technologies are input devices, blockchains, non-fungible tokens, quantum computing, user interfaces, continuity, artificial intelligence, chip design, presence, simulation and the cloud, and many more.

German companies do not necessarily have to change their own business model. For example, the required network technology 5G (in the future also 6G) can be developed by telecommunications companies in order to reduce upload and download times. Startups, on the other hand, could develop devices that will serve as entry devices into the metaverse in the future.

In general, German companies have three options for positioning themselves in the metaverse: as enablers, creators and/or users. Additionally, it is possible to assume a hybrid role consisting of two or even all three roles. The respective role(s) are determined by the (future) business model of the company and its possibilities.

From my point of view, it is important that the subject of the metaverse is approached with optimism. The statements above represent only a small part of what will be possible in the future. But one thing is clear: we now have the opportunity to play a proactive role so that the most valuable companies of the future no longer come from the United States or China, but from Germany!

About Stephen Bauer

Stephan R. Bauer works at Microsoft Germany as Marketing Communications Manager – Experiential Marketing. He is also the owner of Impulse Coaching – Stephan Bauer and today published the first qualitative research on the Metaverse. He dealt with the topic “The metaverse today – opportunities, risks and success factors for German companies” and drew concrete recommendations for action.

The guest comment reflects personal opinion and not that of Microsoft.

Statements by author and interview partner do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editors and publisher

The Metaverse today – what it means for German companies

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