Metaverse experiments led by Samsung, JPMorgan, Gucci, Coca-Cola
A child creates his Avatar at FITUR. HELIXA Experience Center is the technological and artistic installation at the heart of the FITUR fair. It will be the first to offer visitors the possibility to create their own avatar in real time. This avatar is a personalized, hyper-realistic, 3D, #seriezero digital twin that they can use to interact on digital platforms and in the metaverse.
Guillermo Gutierrez Carrascal | light flare | Getty Images
Big companies like Samsung and JPMorgan are starting to try to get to grips with the metaverse, which has quickly become the latest tech buzzword.
Broadly speaking, the metaverse can be defined as a virtual world in which you live, work, and play.
Such a thing doesn’t exist yet, so it’s basically a sci-fi concept, but there are a few early versions of the Metaverse, and companies are already experimenting.
One effort is Decentraland, a browser-based metaverse where users can create, explore, and trade on a desktop computer.
Decentraland users create an avatar which they can then navigate through the virtual world using a mouse and keyboard, which isn’t exactly intuitive for non-gamers.
When an avatar is first created on Decentraland, which has been rated as one of the world’s greatest metaverse projects, it lands in a sort of atrium where clouds seem to glide across the floor. There’s a round pool in the middle that has an ominous vortex in the center.
Earlier this month, Samsung held an event in the Decentraland metaverse, but it didn’t quite go as planned.
The event took place precisely at Samsung 837Xa virtual building that Samsung has built on Decentraland that is designed to be a replica of its flagship New York experience center.
But CNBC and several other attendees had trouble finding building 837X and when we did, many of us couldn’t get to it.
In an emailed statement to CNBC, Samsung said “Visitors and the Decentraland community have given us a very positive response, seeing it as a new twist in an all-digital world.”
They added, “Unfortunately, a technical issue in one of the Decentraland realms prevented some people from accessing the event. As soon as we became aware of the issue, we notified the community via Twitter and redirected our visitors to a new entry.”
Also this month, JPMorgan became the first US bank to open a virtual space in the metaverse. Like Samsung, it opted to use Decentraland, creating a dedicated lounge for customers that allowed them to interact with the metaverse.
The “Onyx” lounge, as the space is known, has a roaming tiger and a floating portrait of JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon.
Again, some people had trouble locating the space. “Where is it? Can’t find it in Decentraland,” one Twitter user wrote. Another described the lounge as “cringe”.
In addition to the show, JPMorgan released a white paper titled “Opportunities in the Metaverse: How Businesses Can Explore the Metaverse and Navigate Between Hype and Reality.”
The white paper reads: “When you think about metaverse – or metanomic – economics, there are opportunities in almost every area of the market.”
“Imagine having an avatar online and wanting to change what he/she is wearing, you will be able to purchase limited edition digital branded clothing which you choose after browsing a virtual showroom,” he continues. . “Or you can start your own small business, like an art gallery where you display your latest and greatest collections, or a virtual private club.”
In May 2021, Gucci hosted a two-week art installation on Roblox, a gaming platform that has been hailed as another early metaverse.
The installation was a virtual recreation of a real-world installation in Florence, Italy.
Visitors were able to dress their genderless avatars in Gucci digital products, provided they were willing to pay.
As visitors navigated the virtual world, their avatars “absorbed” aspects of each area.
During the event, attendees bid on an item known as the “Coca-Cola Friendship Box”, a digital version of Coke’s iconic vending machine.
Each box contained various NFT (non-fungible token) surprises, including a “Coca-Cola Bubble Jacket Wearable” that can be worn by avatars on Decentraland.
There was also “The Sound Visualizer”, which aimed to entice users with the sound of a bottle being opened and a drink being poured over ice.
Elsewhere, PwC became the owner of virtual land last month when it acquired imaginary land in The Sandbox metaverse.
Sandbox is a game where a piece of digital land can changing hands for millions of dollars.
It’s unclear what PwC paid or what it plans to do with the land, which was sold as an NFT.
But corporations aren’t the only ones grabbing virtual land.
Hip-hop star Snoop Dogg has also purchased virtual land and a fan paid $450,000 in December to buy land next to him on The Sandbox.