Consumers and Metaverse Adoption
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Last time we explored what businesses need to think through regarding the Metaverse. Today, we’ll talk a little bit from the consumer perspective to understand Metaverse adoption.
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The Metaverse is often touted as this big drastic change that will uproot our day-to-day lives. It garners attention from many different angles. Consumers perk up to see how the new tech can improve their lives. The media forms its own hot takes on how it will change everything. The investment community looks for the next lucrative product coming out of all this innovation.
But from a technology adoption standpoint… how will the Metaverse arrive? What is the path?
We often paint a “before and after” scenario of innovative technology that emphasizes how drastic the change is… e.g. there was life before the Metaverse and then life after the Metaverse.
But of course it’s not so simple.
From Drastic Disruption to Super Seamless
Technology adoption can be viewed along a spectrum of how consumers see the new technology.
Drastic disruption is the early part of the technology adoption cycle, where the technology drastically changes a traditional process. In this phase, adoption is low because change is hard. The consumer sees a piece of technology as Drastic Disruption because the bar for adoption is just too high.
Super Seamless happens later in the technology adoption cycle, where the technology is seamlessly integrated and absorbed into our daily lives. At this point, the technology is no longer seen as a disruption, but rather an irreplaceable part of life.
The difference between seeing a piece of technology at the Drastically Disruptive phase versus at the Super Seamless phase is just how the consumer views utility / reward from product adoption versus activation costs to get to product adoption.
Drastically Disruptive (and annoyingly inconvenient) phase: activation costs are greater than utility / reward
Super Seamless (integration that is so good you don’t notice it) phase: utility / reward are greater than activation costs
Going from Drastic Disruption to Super Seamless is the pivotal transition that tests the longevity and legitimacy of an innovative technology.
Can it integrate into the world or will it pass as a fad?
The Paradox of the Consumer
Consumers don’t often appreciate things in the Drastic Disruption phase because the underlying technology / innovation alone isn’t that interesting to them. It’s missing a variety of things (UX and applications are usually the big ones).
But the Drastic Disruption phase plays the important role of bringing the innovative technology to the broader zeitgeist.
For the Metaverse, this is when the word “Metaverse” is everywhere, but very few know what they are talking about. 😉 😉 😉
But at some point, the technology enters the Super Seamless phase.
The paradox of the consumer: when we enter the Super Seamless phase, consumers then say, “this was so obvious, how could we’ve lived without [insert your favorite technology] for so long.” When technology gets so seamless and integrated, we stop appreciating the magic of the technology when it was first introduced.
The Path of Metaverse Adoption
We’ve seen early success and first adopters utilizing what the metaverse currently has to offer. Gaming platforms like Roblox have seen huge success and created a gaming alternative that’s disrupted gaming by onboarding and attracting younger audiences.
But Roblox is far from what the metaverse can truly be: it is a successful platform because it is one of the few working platforms available. Underneath the impressive 32 million daily users is the fact that 54% of their users are 12 and under.
So while the platform is a successful use case (one that is expanding its capabilities), it’s merely a glimpse of what a successful virtual world could look like. There is room for more innovation: what would a Roblox-like platform that attracts an older and a more diverse audience with more spending power look like?
The success of that platform would be create and cultivate a brand new audience (one that Roblox has minimally captured).
These virtual world and similar platforms are just now beginning to disrupt more consumer industries: digital fashion, virtual shopping and social events are all happening in the metaverse and expanding each day.
This one was interesting: Harvard Alumni have a school reunion in the Metaverse. Here is a screenshot from the event (from the article). It feels a bit obscure to some and yet it is novel for others.
Ultimately, technology adoption is about finding more access points where the average user can onboard into the Metaverse (without having to overhaul their existing processes) while maintaining their interest to do so.
The question becomes: where are these access points… where can the Metaverse begin to exist within our lives that it has yet to?
The follow up question is: how do companies integrate the Metaverse into our lives without upending it? (seamlessly)
Certain applications of the Metaverse are very young and will take time to mature into our daily lives… but will continue do so, so long as people find the Metaverse a worthwhile arena to innovate in (spoiler: people do).
The Long March 🚶🏻♀️🚶🏽♂️🚶🏼
The Metaverse is still very nascent today. The term is just starting to enter mainstream (albeit very few have a working definition and actually know what they’re talking about).
We featured Matthew Ball’s definition (see previous piece: When Metaverse):
“The Metaverse is a massively scaled and interoperable network of real-time rendered 3D virtual worlds which can be experienced synchronously and persistently by an effectively unlimited number of users with an individual sense of presence, and with continuity of data, such as identity, history, entitlements, objects, communications, and payments.”
What we didn’t ask: Does Metaverse adoption need to reach Matthew Ball’s definition before we can say we are in the Super Seamless phase of Metaverse adoption?
That’s really up to the consumers, users, community members and the broader society to decide.
It’s hard to say we are entering Super Seamless now because there are a lot more to build and figure out. But it also feels like with each passing day, we are moving further away from seeing it as a Drastic Disruption. The “Metaverse” has already entered our zeitgeist!
Technology adoption follows a marginal curve: For some, they get enough utility and value from being early that they’ll adopt ahead of those who won’t really care about the technology until it becomes mainstream. “Mainstream” is the point where enough consumers adopt a technology that you can no longer say “it’s early”. (But GM is forever though 😁 )
It’s no secret we over-use the “we are early” line here at Life in Color. But we might soon be turning the corner on “we are early” and entering whatever comes next.
The long march (part) to the Metaverse may be coming to an end because we are about to stop walking and instead board a speedy train.