Gap, US military are the latest to leverage the metaverse

While a single interconnected Metaverse does not yet exist, increasing attention has been paid to the idea of metaverse experiences, most notably those offered by platforms like Roblox, Fortnite, Sandbox, and Decentraland. Marketers from some of the world’s biggest brands have felt the pull of the metaverse, especially as it affords brands an opportunity to engage with a younger demographic and leans heavily on gaming-related platforms.

Nikeland, for example, a virtual space that the sports apparel firm launched in Roblox last November, has attracted around 7 million people from 224 countries since its debut. More recently, leading music streamer Spotfify launched its own destination, Spotify Island, in Roblox to better connect fans and artists and offer exclusive merchandise.

Last month, clothing retailer Gap also joined in on the Roblox fun by launching a “Club Roblox Boutique,” modeled after the company’s flagship store in New York City’s Times Square. The company worked with a tech firm called SuperAwesome to ensure that they’re enabling “safe digital engagement for under-16s.” Gap’s move into the metaverse follows similar ones from competing stores like American Eagle and PacSun.

It’s not just consumer brands that want in. According to Wired, the US military is in the process of building its own metaverse in collaboration with Red 6, which claims to be “revolutionizing augmented reality (AR) for military training applications.” Video games like the recently shuttered America’s Army have often been used as recruiting tools by the military. It’s likely that as the metaverse gains steam, the military will showcase its own tech to attract fresh recruits.

The true potential of a singular Metaverse has yet to be revealed, but even now, looking at the space through the lens of gaming points to a large audience that may wish to get in on the ground floor. According to Interpret’s newest VideoWatch report, The Rise of the Metaverse, the player experience of MMO (massive multiplayer online), open-world, world building, or battle royale games approximates metaverse experiences, and these games have a consistently large player base, representing more than one third of PC/console gamers in the US and about 15% of mobile gamers. Altogether, more than 50 million gamers, or over 40% of all gamers, are primed for a metaverse experience that leverages these genres.