Figuring out how we can move readers effectively between formats is going to be essential for the next wave of the Internet: the metaverse. Yes, it’s a while before we get there, and no, we don’t know what it will look like yet. But it’s coming. It’s not just the tech companies that are starting to think about this seriously.
According to Fortune, Nike, Gucci, and other fashion companies are hiring. This is likely to focus on NFTs (non-fungible tokens), creating virtual goods for the metaverse. More related to media, Mike White was appointed to lead the Disney metaverse strategy. He was formerly the senior vice president of consumer experiences and platforms, and according to CNBC, will now be in charge of “connecting the physical and digital worlds.”
Is this something we should actively be planning for? For all the product exces I speak to, the answer is no — not on a day-to-day practical level. Yet we need to start thinking about what this could look like and how we can stay in touch with our consumers, keeping their attention across all mediums. To me, this is the mobile platform before we truly understood what the impact of mobile would be — how social media would change the world, change us as an industry.
We recently hosted a Webinar with Cyrus Saihan at Meta who talked us through his views of the metaverse and what it could look like. Effectively, we are going to be moving between physical to 2D screens (such as watches, mobiles, computers) to 3D through glasses either as Mixed Reality or taking people into a completely different Virtual Reality.
My takeaways are that we’ll be able to configure our own settings — who we get alerts from, when, and how — but we don’t yet know what news could look like. It’s perfectly possible that we have a hologram for an anchor telling us the news each morning. Maybe they are real videos that are filmed in 3D, or maybe they are metahumans trained on an algorithm to read news just like a real human.
The technology here should be the enabler. First, we need to understand behaviour. In the same way that we need to understand what post-pandemic life will look like for our audiences, we need to watch carefully to see how habits are built, and change, as we move into this new “mixed” reality.
As I say, I fundamentally believe that this is a major life shift comparable to that of the introduction of mobile. And as an industry, we need to ensure it doesn’t take us by surprise.
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