Who would have thought, two years ago, that we would be talking about the metaverse in 2022?
But what is the metaverse? The metaverse is a “universe within a universe” – or, to put it into context for corporate events, it’s a virtual space where people can meet and interact in virtual reality.
Many believe that the metaverse will one day become the norm for virtual events, as they offer a more personal, immersive experience of online events and meetings. This hot events trend allows attendees to create animated avatars or use photos to customize their virtual persona before interacting with other attendees in various virtual environments such as exhibitions, meetings, or seminars.
While the metaverse has huge potential for the future of events, it may not be right in every situation. Read on to discover everything you need to know to determine if the metaverse would suit your event strategy.
Will your attendees “get” the metaverse?
Before diving into your ambitious plans for events in the metaverse, first think about your attendees. Are your attendees particularly tech-savvy, or are they keen to return to in-person events? If it’s the former, great! The metaverse might be right for you. Now may not be the right time to invite your people to a virtual, avatar-fueled event if it’s the latter. It may be a complete turn-off for the wrong audience, so think carefully about what your attendees tend to look for in an event.
Equipment and resources for metaverse events
For a truly immersive metaverse experience, your attendees will need a virtual reality headset, such as the Oculus Quest or the hotly anticipated Apple headset. These are expensive, and they are not yet mainstream devices, meaning that either your attendees will need to obtain a headset of your own or you will need to provide (and ship) them, potentially adding thousands to your metaverse events budget. Haptic gloves are not strictly necessary but add to the immersive nature of metaverse events. Attendees will also need a great internet connection for an uninterrupted event, which may prohibit some from joining.
One alternative could be using the highly cost-effective Google Cardboard for your metaverse events, which turn your attendees’ smartphones into VR headsets. However, the quality may not be as high as with a dedicated headset designed for video gaming.
Types of metaverse events
The beauty of the metaverse is that you can create virtually any event you like. There is no need to spend months finding the perfect venue – you can design it all yourself or amend one of the many metaverse event venues being designed right now.
Types of metaverse events you might consider include (but aren’t limited to):
- Industry exhibitions
- Product launches
- Company meetings
- Networking events
- Training workshops
- Corporate parties
Your attendees can navigate the metaverse as they would a real-world event: a busy exhibition hall with vendor booths, a giant lecture theater with guest speakers, or a virtual meeting and interacting with colleagues halfway around the world. This leads us to our next point.
The metaverse for global event audiences
A major benefit of metaverse events is that they can bring together global audiences in a more immersive, interactive way than a simple Zoom call. An attendee in Texas can “meet” a peer in the UK without ever stepping on a plane while talking to an avatar, a photograph, or even a live video stream of the other attendee for more engaging conversations. If you tend to host large-scale events with global audiences, the metaverse could be a fantastic way to bring people closer than ever before from the comfort of their own homes (or workplaces).
If, however, you host smaller, more local events, you are likely better off sticking with in-person events. The expense, time, and effort of setting up a metaverse event is not probably worth it if you host an informal, intimate meeting for a dozen attendees in the same city.
Sponsorship opportunities for events in the metaverse
If you are looking for event sponsors, a metaverse event could be a very appealing prospect for many sponsors – especially large global brands or those in the technology space. This is because a metaverse event can be promoted to and attended by people worldwide, which increases brand exposure exponentially over a typical in-person event.
Additionally, you can get much more creative with metaverse branding opportunities. If you wanted the entire venue floor to be covered in a sponsor’s logo, you could do it. If a sponsor wanted to double the size of their “booth,” it’s perfectly possible. In theory, the sky is the limit with branding and sponsorship opportunities within your metaverse event – and if another exhibitor wants to join your event at short notice, you can easily create extra space for them.
Sustainable events in the metaverse
For organizations prioritizing sustainable events, hosting events in the metaverse is ideal. This option allows you to minimize travel and significantly reduce the carbon footprint of your event, along with eliminating waste from booth builds, décor, and physical materials.
The metaverse is also great for welcoming expert speakers and trainers to your event. That Australia-based expert in your field suddenly becomes a lot more accessible if they can attend your event in the metaverse without having to fly halfway around the world – and as a bonus, it will be easier for them to fit your event into their busy schedule if they don’t need to allow time for travel.