Product Managers Try To Decide How To Handle The Metaverse

The Metaverse has arrived, are you ready for it?
The Metaverse has arrived, are you ready for it?
Image Credit: Juska Wendland

Ok, so I think that we all have to agree: the metaverse has arrived. For anyone who didn’t realize that Facebook has renamed themselves to “Meta”, the metaverse is going to be a big deal. If you enjoyed the book / movie “Ready Player One” you know what I’m talking about. There is a big bet going on right now that really smart people are going to be able to create a digital world that we’ll all be able to put on headsets and drop into at any time. In this world we’ll have digitally drawn bodies and we’ll interact with other digital creations – sorta like Facebook, but you can actually see people. This all holds a lot of promise, but what does it mean for product managers?

The Metaverse Contains Potential For Product Managers

So just what is this thing that they are calling the “metaverse”? It turns out that the metaverse is a term for virtual worlds where people can play games and attend events via a personalized digital avatar. To showcase their brands to consumers in these worlds, product managers will buy or rent digital space from the platforms or third parties, including a growing crop of metaverse development companies that have already acquired desirable locations. Product managers also see a potential for new revenue streams coming from the metaverse, such as renting digital land that they own to other brands or selling digital collectibles known as nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, to consumers.

There are multiple competing metaverses right now. Two of them are The Sandbox and Decentraland. Right now the Sandbox has a higher concentration of celebrities and well-known brands, which might attract further product managers, while Decentraland provides more opportunities to experiment and build worlds. Because these platforms are still nascent and building out their features, it might be some time until any real successes occur. Product managers need to realize that it can take years to compound the advantages and figure out how all this stuff works.

As an example of what is possible, Molson Coors promoted its Miller Lite brand in a campaign around this year’s Super Bowl by opening the Meta Lite Bar, a virtual tavern, on a digital parcel in Decentraland. It rented this space from TerraZero Technologies, a metaverse development company. At the Meta Lite Bar, virtual patrons could pour themselves a virtual beer, chat with other users and play a preselected tune from a jukebox. Patrons could also pick up Miller Lite digital NFTs such as a “Meta Lite” T-shirt for their avatars. Molson Coors chose the Decentraland metaverse because it offered the ability to restrict who entered the bar by age and it is accessible via a desktop browser.

What Comes Next In The Metaverse

Decentraland said it has about 600,000 users a month. It recently hosted the Metaverse Festival which was a four-day music event with performances by Deadmau5 and Paris Hilton. Decentraland’s proven ability to hold large-scale events is one of its appeals to product managers. Metaverse Group bought about 313,000 square feet in Decentraland’s fashion district for about US$2.5 million. The plan is for the fashion district to be the primary venue for Decentraland’s Metaverse Fashion Week with brands such as Tommy Hilfiger participating. Brands including Sotheby’s, JPMorgan Chase, Samsung Electronics America and even accounting firm Prager Metis International have also set up promotional locations inside of the Decentraland metaverse.

The Sandbox is still in a testing phase and is scheduled to open to the public for six temporary stretches this year. Its first temporary opening, held last year drew more than 200,000 users. The Sandbox is popular with celebrities and entertainment brands. Musical artists Snoop Dogg and Deadmau5 currently own parcels of land there. Other landowners include Gucci and the organization behind the Bored Ape Yacht Club, a popular NFT that depicts cartoon apes. Brands can generate revenue by selling NFTs on both the Sandbox and Decentraland metaverses. Brands are entering the metaverse to engage with customers and create more immersive, fun and social experiences.

The visual style in the Sandbox is similar to that of Minecraft, the popular videogame owned by Microsoft Corp. As the users of Minecraft grow up and age out, they’ll have a familiarity with that visual style, so it is believed that it was a very smart move on the part of the Sandbox to have that Minecraft-related look. Industry observers expect most metaverse platforms won’t expand the land in their worlds, to maintain a sense of security among landowners. Since there is a finite amount of space to buy and rent makes it potentially necessary to experiment in the metaverse now. What product managers are doing is buying people’s attention now and the price for that is very high. If they can discover a way to provide value then and people will come to their site – that’s ultimately where this whole Sandbox and Decentraland thing may ultimately play out.

What All Of This Means For You

The world that we live in is changing and product managers realize this. One of the biggest changes that is currently on the horizon is the arrival of the so-called metaverse. This digital world that we can all enter and interact digitally with one another may transform how products are marketed and sold. What this means for product managers is that we need to make sure that we understand what the metaverse is and how we can make use of it.

The metaverse is a virtual world where people can play games and attend events via a personalized digital avatar. To showcase their brands to consumers in these worlds, product managers will buy or rent digital space from the metaverse platforms. There are multiple competing metaverses right now including The Sandbox and Decentraland. It may take years for these platforms to establish themselves. Decentraland’s has the ability to hold large-scale events. The Sandbox is popular with celebrities and entertainment brands. Product managers are starting to purchase land in these metaverses in order to start to promote their products. The amount of land in each world will not be expanded and so the investment should be safe.

As though making your product be a success in the real world was not hard enough, it turns out that the new digital world of the metaverse has arrived. Product managers need to understand what metaverse platforms are available to them. They then need to understand how they can use the metaverse to make their products available to their potential customers. If we can determine how we can make the best use of this new resource, then we can make our products be even more successful.

– Dr. Jim Anderson Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Product Management Skills™

Question For You: What’s the best way to select the right metaverse for your product?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

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