The term “metaverse” was first popularized in the 1992 novel Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. This concept of an interconnected virtual world was further explored in the 2011 novel (and subsequent film), Ready Player One. It’s fun to imagine a place where you can bounce between worlds, but for that to become a reality, a whole lot of publishers, creators, and rights holders will have to play nice.
From brand sponsor to brand citizen
Movies and TV shows often try to imagine what the internet would look like as a physical place. The result is usually a massive city or shopping mall where buildings represent websites — complete with ads, chat rooms, and even scam artists. It’s a world of wonder, danger, and endless possibilities.
For video game developers who already create immersive worlds, it’s not a far stretch to include other brands and experiences, and the process has already begun.
Fashion houses including Burberry, Louis Vuitton, and Balenciaga have collaborated on virtual collections inside video games. Epic Games hosts a number of branded experiences inside Fortnite to promote brands ranging from Marvel superheroes to Ariana Grande. These partnerships began as sponsorship opportunities to reach gamers but quickly evolved into something much, MUCH, bigger.