By now we’re sure you’re well aware of the Metaverse. From record-breaking NFT sales to Snoop Dogg’s metaverse parties and big brand fashion houses hosting fashion week within the metaverse.

But, have you considered how the metaverse has the potential to completely transform the events industry as we know it and how event companies operate?

It is fair to say that the events industry has had to completely pivot within the last few years, adapting to both virtual and hybrid events.

However, the metaverse is set to be the biggest change the events industry has seen in decades. With ever-increasing technology, partnered with the massive rise in the popularity of cryptocurrency, the metaverse is becoming more and more accessible and popular.

One year Google trends data for search term 'Metaverse' through 02 February 2022
One year Google trends data for search term ‘Metaverse’ through 02 February 2022

What Is The ‘Metaverse’?

Within the last 12 months, the metaverse has shot to fame, with many industry leaders taking steps to be the first to embrace what the metaverse has to offer.

‘Meta’ is derived from the Greek word ‘beyond’ and ‘verse’ is a shortening of the word ‘universe’ therefore Metaverse essentially translates to ‘beyond the universe’.

Although the Metaverse can have slight variations of meaning, it is essentially a virtual world where people can socialise, shop, play and work. The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as a “virtual-reality space in which users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users”.

However, don’t be fooled into thinking this is a new concept. The term ‘Metaverse’ was first coined by science fiction writer Neal Stephenson over 30 years ago.

Just 3 years after the invention of the world wide web, Stephenson created the phrase ‘Metaverse’ to describe a 3D virtual space. Fast forward to 2022 and by combining Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), Cryptocurrency and the internet, this idea of the metaverse has very much become a reality.

Timeline of points in history that lead to the creation of the Metaverse.
Timeline of points in history that lead to the creation of the Metaverse.

Although there has been a massive advance in technology, as seen above, within the last few years, we are still a long way away from the realities seen depicted in Stephen Steilberg’s adaptation of Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One.

However with Corporate giants such as Microsoft, Meta (formerly Facebook), Google, Shopify, Roblox and more, surely it won’t be long until technology advances enough for this to become a reality.


What Is The Metaverse Used For?

The intention is that people can use the Metaverse for all kinds of different activities. From gaming to meetings, shopping to socialising as well as attending events and experiences and so much more!

In the future, the idea is that users will be able to physically feel like they are in an alternate reality. Whether that’s smelling or tasting the food at a virtual event or even feeling your friends jostling against you whilst you dance at a virtual concert within the metaverse. Using virtual reality goggles, haptic gloves and potentially full sensory bodysuits, users will feel like they are physically in these high definition 3D environments.

It’s clear that the future and potential for the metaverse is endless, but what will this look like for the events industry and how will it change the way that events companies host events?


How Will The Metaverse Change The Events Industry?

20 years ago, online events weren’t even on people’s radars. However, with the huge advancement in technology and Covid completely shifting the way that people interacted both in a social and corporate setting, virtual reality is now the go-to way people choose to connect.

“I think it’s folly to say that we’ll return to an era where the majority of events are in-person. What the metaverse is and what it looks like is still up for debate, but I don’t think there’s much debate that online events will continue to grow, thrive and evolve,” says Lee Gimpel, founder of Better Meetings.

Of course, this won’t be an instant shift. Year on year we expect to see advancement and development within the metaverse. With each new development and the continuing advances in technology, we certainly believe that within our lifetime we will be able to experience and access fully immersive virtual and augmented reality experiences within the Metaverse.


Should Event Organisers Be Thinking About The Metaverse?

Although Bill Gates’ dream of widespread adoption of the metaverse for events and meetings seems a long way away, it could be closer than we think. If the last year has shown us anything it has highlighted how quickly technology has advanced, and, that realistically the fully immersive experience and accessibility to the metaverse could be much closer than we think.

When posed the above question, our Creative Director, Michael Charles argued “You’d be stupid not to, the Metaverse is that next step that will elevate events”. As an events company, it would be foolish not to consider the metaverse and the effects it could have on events companies in the future. “We are in a creator economy, creators are the most dominant marketing forces at the moment”, therefore it is paramount that events agencies cater to this market and offer all the new technology the metaverse has to offer.

As event planners, it is already clear that there is a thirst from consumers for digital technology and the integration of new digital experiences. It is simply a case of either having a larger budget or waiting for the technology to become more accessible.


How Will These Events Differ To The Virtual Events Currently On Offer?

For the last year, the events industry has been offering all kinds of virtual event options. From virtual entertainment to virtual conferences, virtual celebrations and more. The difference between the virtual events that are currently on offer and the vision of the Metaverse in the future is that the current virtual events on offer simply aren’t immersive enough. They don’t allow users to feel like they are truly interacting within a virtual reality. Furthermore, currently, virtual events are fundamentally based in a 2D reality, whereas the metaverse will bring that shift to 3D.

Although the virtual events currently on offer serve a purpose and offer a great solution for many companies, they don’t provide that fully immersive experience. Ultimately, virtual events are grounded in the physical world and lack the ability for users to realistically interact with one another.

“ With the metaverse, we are transitioning from viewing a 2D world looking at the internet to living inside the internet in a 3D world”- David Waters, Digital Supply Chain- Artificial Intelligence.

Technology currently available for VR events.

Take, for example, the Travis Scott concert on Fornite. Did it allow users from all across the world to interact with one another live in a virtual reality space, experiencing the same concert live in real-time? Yes. But did it allow for users to physically interact and connect with that virtual concert space? No. There was a lack of truly being in the event. This is because the technology simply isn’t there yet. However, in the future, these virtual concerts will look very different.

Another example of this is the virtual reality conferences that have been so popular throughout Covid. Attendees can create their own avatars, they can navigate around a virtual environment, move through spaces and interact with other attendees. However, the level of detail and design is still very basic. The Metaverse is set to be a space where you are both visually and mentally transported.


What Kind Of Events Will Work Best In The Metaverse?

The short answer: Anything! The Metaverse truly offers endless possibilities and solutions for all kinds of events as long as you have the right tech teams to support you in your event creation.

Fashion

Within the last year, we have seen the fashion industry massively embrace the Metaverse with partnerships and activations across various platforms from brands like Vans, Nike, Ralph Lauren, Balenciaga, Gucci and UNIQLO. Additionally, in March 2022 Decentraland will host a four-day digital fashion week replete with virtual shows, stores and events.

Furthermore, luxury and mass retailers are beginning to jump on the biggest in-game monetization feature: skins for avatars. The market for skins is reported to be $40Bn a year, meaning that there is huge scope for these fashion houses and retailers to monopolise on creating the latest must-have products in the metaverse.

This is huge as it removes the physical limitations of creating these products in the real world. A prime example of this is the digital Gucci bag on Roblox which was resold for over $4,000 (more than the IRL version) after the Gucci Garden experience.

Chart of different fashion brands and what they did in the Metaverse in 2021
Chart of different fashion brands and what they did in the Metaverse in 2021.

Music

Furthermore, we have seen many artists collaborate with virtual platforms to host virtual reality concerts and events within the metaverse.

  • Snoop Dog developing “Snoopverse” within The Sandbox
  • Lil Nas X mega-concert using Roblox with 33 million views
  • Zara Larson’s virtual dance party including scavenger hunts, selfies and merch
  • Travis Scotts Fornite concert, the first metaverse concert to gain mass media attention
  • Arianne Grande’s live performance on Fornite with an estimated 78 million users
Statistics on Travis Scott in person Concerts vs Concert on Fortnite.
Statistics on Travis Scott in person Concerts vs Concert on Fortnite.

From the diagram above it is clear to see that Metaverse-style concerts are the way forward, reaching enormous audiences with much fewer concerts. This could potentially change the dynamics of how many artists choose to tour in the future.

Sports

The Australian Open announced its entry into the metaverse through Decentraland’s virtual reality platform. This means that users will be able to enjoy all the content of the tournament online while interacting with other users and tennis fans.

Additionally, users will be able to explore a virtual recreation of the Australian Open grounds for the duration of the tournament, discover the venue, complete challenges, view historical tournament content.

From the 3 examples above it is clear to see that there are so many opportunities to create, host and monetize from events within the metaverse, offering exclusive experiences to guests attending.


Who Is Currently Investing In The Metaverse

Whether you’re a business, organiser, technology creator or event consumer, you want the reassurance of knowing who is currently investing in the Metaverse right now. With any new technology, it is important to look at which companies are investing to understand the potential of that technology.

The Metaverse and advancement in technology to support its accessibility has received a lot of investment, especially from big tech leaders.

Some of the most notable investors include:

  • Meta (formerly Facebook)
    • Launched Facebook horizons workrooms with a huge investment budgeted over the next 10 years
  • Samsung
    • Creating their first digital twin store in the Metaverse which will be an exact replica of the physical store in the real world.
  • Hyundai
    • Collaborated with Unity technology to create a Metafactory, looking at intelligent manufacturing, innovation and digital twin technology.
  • Apple
    • A leak suggesting ‘Reality OS’ is going to be created, working on technologies to create their own version of the Metaverse such as Apple glass, VR headsets and haptic technology.
Various different examples of technology Apple is rumoured to be creating for VR and AR interactions.
Various different examples of technology Apple is rumoured to be creating fo VR and AR interactions.

“Think back to 2008, when the app store went live. There was the initial round of apps and people looked at them and said, ‘this is not anything, mobile apps are not going to take off’. And then, step by step things start to move. And it’s sort of a curve, it was exponential- and now you couldn’t imagine your life without apps. AR is like that, it will be that dramatic”- Tim Cook, Apple CEO. Furthermore suggesting that Apple is seriously considering how it can be at the forefront of the Metaverse movement.

What Are The Benefits Of Hosting Events Within The Metaverse?

There are many benefits to hosting events within the metaverse which are key for event planners to consider.

1. The Metaverse is accessible to people across the globe: Regardless of distance, users are able to interact in the metaverse as if they were in the next room. Within the metaverse users simply need to walk up to the avatar they want to interact with much the same as they would if they were interacting within the physical world.

So many decisions on events are driven by the constraints and limitations on budget and space, however, within the metaverse, these constraints simply don’t exist.

2. Avatars allow for complete reinventions of how individuals present themselves: Users can be anyone they want to be and identify in any way they choose. The metaverse allows people limitless creativity and freedom with their personality. Additionally, it allows individuals to present however they want without being bound to gender, physical limitations, race, age or sexual orientation.

Furthermore, individuals are able to access, virtual clothing, skins, and accessories they may not be able to access within the real world.

In the future, we expect to see this idea of Metahumans, where people can create uncanny realistic avatars of themselves or the way that they want to appear.

Photo realistic Metahumans created for the Metaverse by Nvidia.
Photorealistic Metahumans created for the Metaverse by Nvidia.

3. Experience unique event experiences, opportunities and engagement from the comfort of your own home: Users will no longer be limited by how far they can travel to experience sites from around the world. They will be able to travel to Egypt to see the pyramids or go to Australia to explore the Great Barrier Reef from the comfort of their own home.

Specifically, when looking at events, the Metaverse allows for all kinds of interactive activities and unique experiences that may not be possible with the constraints of actual reality. An example of this is some of the celebrity interactions within the Metaverse that couldn’t happen safely within the real world.

Creative agencies are already considering how they might add this new opportunity into their tech stack to provide alternatives for remote and virtual experiences

4. No limitations on vendor and supplier availability: Within the real world if your supplier is not available for the date of your event you simply can’t use them. However, these limitations don’t exist within the Metaverse. You’ll never be limited by a venue space’s availability, furthermore, if the venue space you want doesn’t exist, you can hire a tech team to create it for you.

The same can be said for the design, decoration and special features of your event. You can create whatever style of event with whatever features you want.

5. It opens up new revenue streams. As discussed above in this article there are so many different ways that companies can create different products and experiences that can be marketed to users.

Furthermore, the Metaverse is likely to attract a new type of user with new ideas on what they want events to look like and how they choose to market these.


From our research, it is clear to see that the Metaverse has the potential to have a huge impact on the events industry as we know it. Admittedly, technology is not accessible enough just yet for the Metaverse to be a reality for all businesses looking to host an event in the Metaverse.

However, we predict that with the advancement in technology and the thirst from companies to be at the forefront, it won’t be long until events in the Metaverse will be the norm.

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