Technology is best when it brings people together and there are fewer more exciting developments than the Metaverse. Its potential has global appeal and will change the way we interact remotely. The Metaverse will fundamentally change the world and my colleague Olivier Pacaud has looked at some of the implications this tech will have on the world of work.
But for now, we’ll focus on some of the exciting developments that are happening in entertainment – in turn, this means plenty of work opportunities to get involved in its creation.
Naturally, coding is a big part of building the Metaverse. Software developers can expect to work on a variety of projects, from bespoke live events to interactive experiences. Alongside them, graphic designers will be key to their success by ensuring the coding is user-friendly. Animation experts will no longer be reserved for Saturday morning cartoons - they will be essential for creating immersive environments. Collectively, they will be crucial to the use adoption and enjoyment.
The greatest car in the world is useless without the driver (Tesla might disagree!). So, besides these more traditional tech roles, the Metaverse needs talent with exceptional soft skills to guide users on their digital journey. Augmented Reality offers more possibilities for creators to bring narratives to life in ways that other media and platforms can’t offer. It’s important to take advantage of that. Creative storytelling and problem-solving are going to be in demand and early adopters will have their choice of projects and employers.
Similarly, companies building these experiences will need somebody who understands what makes these events so great. They’ll need digital marketing specialists who know what to focus on to make these as popular as possible. The messages will need to change depending on the knowledge of the receiver. My mother will need different positioning and a different user experience in comparison to my daughter. The psychology of the adoption curve is exciting to think about in itself!
So, for those interested, what’s possible?
Thanks to the Metaverse and Virtual Reality (VR), we’re seeing more and more live events taking place virtually. During the recent lockdowns, the Metaverse gave artists the opportunity to reach their audiences. Virtual concerts are becoming commonplace in Fortnite now, with global stars such as Ariana Grande getting involved. Likewise, the recent performance by Snoop Dogg and Eminem at the MTV VMA Awards drew some criticism, but the concept is there. In 1999 my local dry cleaner, or coffee shop didn’t think they would need a website. Today, could you imagine calling a store to ask them for their hours or directions or where to park when you arrive?
VR games are popular and now widely in use, both in homes and at arcades. For my son’s six birthday party we’re going to a play gym called Just For Fun so he and his friends can play VR Baseball. For the creators of these games the challenge is to attract more casual gamers, much like Nintendo did with the Wii console in 2006 (FYI, I am the O’Rourke family bowling champion). However, we’re seeing users becoming increasingly familiar with the idea of playing games like this. In fact, Oculus headsets outsold the Xbox console in 2021.
Netflix have been offering a VR experience for years now, which involves relaxing in a simulated lounge. Alternatively, you can use your headset to immerse yourself in the action – that’s right, we’ve moved on from watching movies while wearing those 3D glasses with red and blue lenses! The lines between gaming and cinema are being blurred with interactive film experiences. Take Baba Yaga, for example, which places the viewer in an interactive fairy tale starring Academy Award-winning actors.
Before Netflix, the NBA was already finding new ways to bring fans courtside. In addition to streaming games in VR as early as the 2015/16 season, they’re using the technology to give viewers a new perspective on the games. Broadcaster Sky has also put Premier League fans in the thick of the action for matches involving Chelsea and Arsenal, while our partners Manchester City have invited supporters onto the pitch to join in the celebrations.
This tech isn’t just about transporting us to new worlds, though. It can bring the world to us by recreating our favourite experiences.
For example, Disney Parks are looking at introducing 3D virtual simulations into their live experiences, thereby building whole worlds that we know and love. Similarly, following its success in Japan, Universal Studios Hollywood has announced arrival of a new Mario Kart game in 2023.
We’re going to see more gamification of intellectual property, allowing fans to interact with characters from various entertainment franchises, or even popular celebrities. For example, at Disney, this could involve posing for selfies with Spider-Man, or wielding a lightsaber against Kylo Ren.
This is just the beginning of what we can see now, and the great news is that it’s still being refined. As new talent bring their skills and knowledge to the field, we’re going to see more exciting applications that create fantastic experiences. In (actual) reality, the only thing holding us back is our own imagination.
President, Hays Canada
A Father first, Husband second, and Employee third, Travis O'Rourke has 17 years of Technology recruitment experience and is the President of Hays Canada.