How to make money from the metaverse

The metaverse is in its exciting, Wild West gold rush stage – which means the opportunity is ripe for businesses to make their metaverse millions.

by Chris Stokel-Walker

Of course, you’ll want to be careful before ploughing significant budget into a metaverse project – though it is worth bearing in mind historical precedent. A previous iteration of a metaverse-like environment, a video game called Second Life released in 2003, ended up with a gross domestic product of $64m by 2006 as brands like Amazon and Disney entered the space and set up shops.

That may be the obvious option for managers to explore when considering the metaverse. Opening a location – whether an office or a store – in the metaverse can expand your potential customer base beyond your geographic proximity and also signals your willingness to embrace new technology, which may be useful for those in the tech sector (and less so for firms that rely on calm and continuity). South Korean mobile phone giant Samsung recreated its New York City flagship store in Decentraland, and uses it as a place to launch products and host concerts and live events. While you can’t buy a phone in the shop, called Samsung 837X, you can buy digital assets – which have been used in the past by real-world brands as early access tokens for physical items.

Not that you necessarily need to have a physical item at the end of it. The rise of NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, shows how people will pay top dollar for digital products that don’t exist in the real world. Luxury fashion retailers like Balenciaga, Dolce & Gabbana and Gucci have all sold graphical representations of their products for the same kinds of price tags that the real things would cost. Burberry created playable NFTs that wore its clothes and accessories that also sold out, netting the firm nearly $400,000.

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