The opportunities for virtual worlds and metaverses may still be reliant on physical retail, where shoppers are continuing to spend the majority of their time and dollars.
In a report released by the New York Times last week, Meta – formerly known as Facebook – is planning to build physical stores in order to build its Metaverse. The social networking giant said the brick and mortar outlets would showcase its virtual reality and augmented reality devices to a wider public.
The metaverse is niche
The connection between the physical world and the metaverse is a device, and these devices, gadgets and other such tech items remain niche, are often expensive, lacking in simplicity in design and user experience. Their appeal is also limited to what some say are hobbyists and ‘tech geeks.’ The brick-and-mortar channel may prove to be the technological bridge to the metaverse.
Both Google and Amazon are launching experimental retail outlets to support their own metaverse initiatives, said Yahoo Finance. “The idea of harnessing the physical world as a complement to the metaverse isn’t new, it has been utilized for high-end gaming experiences.”
“Meta stores would also give the public a chance to sample everything from headsets, to Facebook’s Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses, and its Portal video calling device.” Facebook’s stores would be centred on delivering experiences and learning about its technologies, as opposed to only selling products.
Facebook’s rebrand comes at a time when its tarnished image could use the diverted attention to focus on its hardware and software lines. An accompanying retail presence could help reframe its narrative. Still, a number of skeptics say the metaverse would remain too expensive and only interest a niche market of hobbyists and tech geeks, said Retail Wire.