Gaming has been serious business for some time, but Fortnite’s experiment shows the success of metaverse.
A week ago, the multi-shooter game, Fortnite, hosted its first event of the year, with American rapper Travis Scott performing for 12.3 million Fortnite players online. The game saw people congregating from across the world in their digital avatars in a metaverse—digital universe—to attend the event. Just before, they roamed digital beaches, walked on digital sand, and waited in lines to enter the concert, even as they remained at home, with movement restrictions in place around the world because of the corona pandemic. While Epic Games, creators of the game, hosted the popular American DJ Marshmello last year, with 10.4 million in attendance, this year’s event is phenomenal for many reasons.
The two consecutive successes show that gaming has moved beyond just a pastime to the realm of serious activity. More critically, it shows the world is ready for virtual tourism, where companies can realise value by charging for properties. Advertising has already been a strong suit of such games. Fortnite, for instance, has struck deals with Nike and others to promote their brands.
While the term metaverse has been in common parlance since the 1980s, digital or virtual worlds have had a limited reach. There has also been an apprehension amongst people against strolling online because usually, this space is considered a hub of nerds, or a hotbed of illegal activity. But, in the time of lockdowns, games like Fortnite may change perceptions. More important, once companies can decide on a single token or currency that can be exchanged and traded, the metaverse will expand.
The architecture is available, and so is the platform. Now, companies need to decide how they wish to capitalise on this growth. The digital world is set for a revolution as people adjust to working from home and virtual reality hardware becomes cheap.