Insights - Brand & Marketing - Design & Product

Meta Doubles Down On the Metaverse

From virtual heart surgeries to virtual fashion, here are the four use-cases that Meta is showcasing for the Metaverse. We’re betting that a Sabyasachi lehnga will launch soon in the avatar store!

Mark Zuckerberg looks at his own avatar

Meta has an iron grip on social media use through its apps that include Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.

73% of the internet-connected population visits a Meta-owned site or app every month.

But despite increasing its user base and buying back millions of shares, Meta’s share price is now valued the same as before the pandemic. A big reason is that investors are worried about Mark Zuckerberg’s obsession with the Metaverse – and the company is going all out to address this.

Need a quick primer on the Metaverse? Check our short, snappy Metaverse 101 here

The Impact Is Not Meta

The biggest criticism of all web3 initiatives is that there are no established commercial use-cases.

To address this Meta has released a campaign called ‘The Impact Will Be Real.’ The first ad in the series shows the potential the Metaverse could have for training heart surgeons. 

Hand holding newspaper with Meta Ad for Heart surgery
Meta has launched an ad blitz with Metaverse use cases, like training for heart surgeons

Will Your Avatar Wear Sabya?

A key assumption of the Metaverse is that we will spend a big chunk of our lives online, and will therefore need digital collectibles for our virtual lives. The ability to create 3D avatars has been available in Facebook and Instagram since 2019, but in January 2022, Meta announced more refined features and customisation options. 

Meta recently unveiled an avatar fashion store, which began a rollout to users in the United States, Canada, Thailand and Mexico. 

In addition to the store’s free offerings, users can now buy digital outfits from Balenciaga, Prada and Thom Browne, priced between US$ 2 and US$ 10 (Yes, that’s real money.) Press releases put out by the fashion houses say that they view this as ‘democratising luxury fashion.’

A row of avatars on Meta dressed by global designers
The Meta avatar store now offers clothes from designers like Balenciaga and Prada.

In case you were wondering, the avatar store also offers free Indian outfits and what’s the bet we’ll see a Sabya lehanga there soon.

Meta avatars in Indian clothes
Indian avatars on the Meta store. We’re waiting for the Sabya bridal collection to drop.

Display Your NFTs

Meta has extended NFT support to both Instagram and Facebook. The feature currently allows a select group of creators to post digital collectibles on their profiles under a new tab.

Screenshots of NFTs on Facebook
Screenshots shared by Meta product manager, Navdeep Singh, showing how NFTs are now supported on Facebook

Meta is also going to work on augmented reality or 3D NFTs, for Instagram Stories using Spark AR, which is the company’s software AR platform.

As part of the NFT push, Meta announced that it will introduce a wallet for the Metaverse to enable the transaction of digital collectibles.

Discord in Facebook Groups

Over the last couple of years, Discord has grown exponentially –  exploding from 56 million users every month in 2020, to 100 million by the end of the year, and growing by a further increase of 50% in 2021. For most web3 communities, Discord is the social platform of choice.

Want to know more about Discord ? Read our great piece on their growth.

To counter this, Facebook is overhauling their groups with lots of Discord-like features, including the purple colour.

Screenshot of Meta groups copying Discord features and colour
Facebook groups are getting a distinctly Discord-like flavour, including the purple colour. Image: Meta

THC Take

When a company as formidable as Meta goes all out, we need to take note and track this as creative practitioners.

Could we move to a world where we will spend most of our time online?

Possibly

Will the tech (particularly the hardware) catch up fast enough for this to happen?

The jury’s still out on that.

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