Today, companies are considering how to break into the metaverse. That is more than legit, given the topic's pioneering nature and the great opportunities that analysts and practitioners attribute to it.
As previously pointed out , there is not just one Metaverse, so there is not just one entry strategy. Faced with the big question "how to enter the Metaverse?", the first stumbling block concerns the "type" of Metaverse to create. A proprietary environment to create innovative experiences for employees, partners and, more generally, corporate stakeholders? A showroom or shop open to all users of a specific virtual world, where you sell physical products and digital assets? An in-game experience connected to brand values?
A good strategy should be based on established goals, which help define the possible platforms and relative development tools. Only then is it possible to estimate time frames and costs of realizing the experience.
How to enter the Metaverse and plan costs
Starting with costs, we find significant variability. By way of example, creating a proprietary virtual environment does not entail digital real estate costs, which, on the other hand, are impactful if a project involves a platform (like Roblox or Decentraland) already populated with users who are in-target with one's offer. In this regard, the move by Republic Realm, which purchased digital land in Sandbox for an (equivalent) value of 4.3 million dollars, caused quite a stir. Like the real world, real estate costs depend on size and location.
Using the same example, once land has been purchased, you must then plan for the costs of developing the experience, which are anything but negligible. Many variables are involved, but the factors to be considered are known - the Metaverse's development, implementation and management costs, and its hosting and experience update costs. The first, in order of importance, is the cost for development, which depends precisely on the type of experience and the tools the platform offers to those who want to create a presence in the Metaverse. Here, customization is the fundamental theme. While various platforms provide building blocks that are accessible without special skills, creating an immersive, customized, on-brand and, above all, innovative experience entails significant development costs and continuous integration of new features based on user behaviour and feedback.
On the other hand, scheduling is closely linked to costs and depends on the type of experience the company wants to create, the level of innovation and, of course, the availability of dedicated resources, which, in turn, affects costs. Although many people conceive the Metaverse as virtual reality (an association that is only partially correct), the cost of the experience devices (visors) is low since the Metaverse is usually accessible through a standard browser.
The costs of the Enterprise Metaverse
The situation is only partially different if we opt for a proprietary Metaverse detached from an existing consumer platform. The two most significant differences from the previous case are the simultaneous absence of real estate costs and, in parallel, the lack of building blocks to construct your own Metaverse. In theory, this means that savings on the first item could be compensated (and exceeded) by a further increase in development costs. To this end, we recall brands that have developed real interactive and stand-alone games for their customers (such as Louis — The Game by Louis Vuitton).
The Metaverse Enterprise can be very expensive. In addition to the expenditures mentioned above, it should be added that companies do not always have the right staff with the right skills. By increasing the Enterprise Metaverse use cases (in-house training, collaboration, customer engagement, corporate events...) and the quality of the experience, the company's financial commitment becomes increasingly challenging, and ROI is likely to become uncertain, at least in the short run.
How to enter the Metaverse: an opportunity for all companies
To respond to the question "How to enter the Metaverse", it is crucial for companies to evaluate all cost sources and realization times relating to their strategy.
On the other hand, the Metaverse should not be available exclusively to major international brands with huge budgets, but rather it should be an opportunity for all companies. In this sense, Software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms are emerging as great opportunities. They can reduce most of the project's cost items and execution times while providing satisfying and immersive experiences. The first major benefit of these platforms is their ease of use. As cloud-based services, they do not require local installations or dedicated IT staff for updates and maintenance, nor do they require investments in hardware. Ease of use is also guaranteed by a low-code approach while hosting is included in the platform cost with an as-a-service pricing model.
In this way, all companies can gradually make the Metaverse's advantages their own, with rapid and progressive adoption and continuously optimized costs.