The Metaverse, a digital parallel universe.
Translated, this means the expansion of reality in real time and the fusion of live and digital.
At the first Marken Festival in Düsseldorf, this was one of the top topics, which also raised many questions.
March 2020, lockdown in Germany. A pandemic brings an entire industry to a standstill. Everything goes online, a big challenge for the event industry.
The 1:1 transfer of an offline event to the internet brings some hurdles with it and in the end I always find out: somehow it’s not quite the same. Above all, networking and interaction is difficult to “imitate” digitally, although this is where the core focus usually lies.
And this is exactly where the metaverse comes into play.
This was already coined in the 1990s by the world of science fiction, and later with the film “Ready Player One” it appeared on everyone’s screen.
The highlight of the game: vivid encounters and realistic, immersive experience on a digital level.
There are many different components for this. Avatars, worlds, currencies, objects, digital goods, … The list is long and constantly expanding. In summary, we speak of the “meta layer”.
Brands like Coca-Cola, Burberry or Nike are already part of it.
For the digital event world, this is an opportunity!
Your own avatar can walk, talk, shake hands, comment and consume in 3D during a digital event. They can move freely, experience and interact with random moments and chance encounters.
In addition, the Metaverse represents a whole new ecosystem: Create, own, sell or invest in things online. In this context, blockchain-enabled goods such as NFTs will play a central role in the digital brand experience. NTFs are an important example. From an event manager’s point of view, one could think of a giveaway, awards or even a ticket.
Then there is the constant expansion with new content that can be seamlessly added with open platform solutions.
There is a big gap between digital and live experience. The Metaverse can close this gap to a certain extent.
A few examples…
One of the best examples of its time is Pokémon. Via the Pokémon GO app, users were able to experience the essence of augmented reality via their smartphone, and to see and catch Pokémons in real value via it.
Telekom goes one step further. In their virtual world Beatland on Roblox, they welcomed users with a club, a cinema and a record shop.
They enticed users with DJ Boris Brejcha, who played as an avatar in the virtual club, and mini-games in which users could slip into the role of nightlife jobs such as record store manager, promoter or club bouncer.
The latter in particular would be an innovative way to help young people decide on a career.
The future for digital events
The reason why people attend events are the experiences they take home with them afterwards. This includes the programme, the food, the decoration, but above all one thing: the people.
The interpersonal experience is the key to everything – business, relationship, conflict resolution, exchange.
The difference between live and digital will be that physical participation is wanted and digital participation is a possible/additional alternative. So our task is to create an intermediate stage that exists a little closer to live communication.
One should be as open as possible to new solutions. We cannot know at this stage which platform will be successful and which will not. If you go into closed systems, you run the risk of being trapped in them. It’s about the content.
The metaverse does not replace other forms of events, it opens up a new, additional level. It is a complement.