The Metaverse is not a new concept, but the sudden entrance of Facebook shifted public perception. Metaverse projects went from a distant concept to a new reality overnight. In the same sense that Facebook’s Libra project caused a spike in cryptocurrency
Yet, the numbers do not lie. Investors have sunk millions of dollars into virtual land, snatching up prime real estate in the top metaverse worlds. Recently, an individual paid $650,000 for a “luxury yacht” in the metaverse. While excitement and hype may be driving some degree of this investment, the sheer volume suggests that traditional investors are ready to embrace the metaverse to some degree. In part, this sudden eagerness to embrace emerging technologies may be a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
How the Pandemic Accelerated the Metaverse’s Inception
Before 2020, remote working and greater connectivity struggled against heavily entrenched traditions. In the face of a global pandemic, companies and individuals were forced to adapt to remote technology in a big way. While some pushback against remote work began in late 2021, successive COVID variants have prevented any real regression.
The concept of a metaverse, wherein users interact solely through a virtual landscape, is a logical continuation of this technological adaptation. Users that are familiar with remote work and at ease with virtual communication will be more likely to embrace virtual worlds and the associated avatars for use within them. The key to expanding success within the space and incentivizing continued adoption lay in the creation of scarcity.
Virtual land is, at least in theory, limitless. Metaverse world providers can increase space and provide more land at will, with no inherent limitation beyond technology. Yet, other aspects still influence the value and price – aspects that currently drive the virtual real estate boom. Platform, distance to desirable locations and more can drastically change the value of similar plots. Yet, even these aspects are majority artificial.
Despite the artificiality, scarcity and value help attract investors – and subsequently users. A concept like the metaverse is not wholly dependent on virtual land, as new users will introduce services located on said land. Over time, these virtual worlds will more closely mimic our own, for better or worse – and those buying land now stand to benefit the most from the metaverse’s success.