Businesses have ploughed $77bn into metaverse mergers and acquisitions in the past 18 months, as they vie for a slice of a market predicted to be worth $800bn in just two years. Buyers including Microsoft, Snap and the company behind dating app Tinder are betting that virtual spaces will define the next era of the web, while others believe there are significant hurdles to be overcome – not least the human desire for physical interaction.
In December last year, analysts from Bloomberg caused a stir when they released their projections of the value of metaverse, a vision for the future of online communication defined by interlinked 3D virtual spaces. The analysts predicted that the entire metaverse market could be worth $800bn by 2024.
“As video game makers continue to elevate existing titles into 3D online worlds that better resemble social networks, their market opportunity can expand to encapsulate live entertainment such as concerts and sports events as well as fighting for a share of social-media advertising revenue,” the analysts said.
Other forecasts have gone further. In March, investment analysts from Citi estimated that the entire metaverse market would be worth $13tn by 2030. And Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia, claimed that the metaverse would create economies of scale that had the potential to dwarf the current economy itself.
“These forecasts may appear very rosy from a particular point of view but I think there are good reasons to believe in them,” says Nick Rosa, metaverse strategy and extended reality lead at Accenture.
“The metaverse is probably the biggest digital transformation process since the arrival of the cloud that we’ve seen in the last 20 years, because there’s a massive need for a transformation in user experience, product design, and the entire ecosystem that will underpin it,” Rosa says. “So it’s a huge opportunity for everyone involved.”