Early followers say it: it’s time to join the Metaverse. Researchers estimate that by 2026, one in four of us will spend at least an hour a day there for work, shopping, training, socializing or entertainment.
But for most of us, this alternate digital world remains a mystery. It is, in fact, a computer-generated extended reality that includes all augmented reality, mixed reality and virtual reality environments. Currently, it consists of spaces where people and autonomous entities interact.
The value of the global Metaverse market in the next 15 years could reach, according to estimates, between 10,000 and 30,000 billion euros. The potential promises to be substantial and Dubai, in particular, intends to take advantage of it to become a world leader in this new field.
Its dedicated strategy for 2030 aims to increase the contribution of this sector to its economy to 4 billion euros and to create 42,000 virtual jobs. It aims to implement Metaverse technologies that will help improve the performance of local surgeons by 230% and increase the productivity of engineers by 30%.
Major technology companies such as Apple, Google, Meta Platforms – formerly Facebook – and Microsoft are developing technologies that will shape the future of the Metaverse. MasterCard is also following the trend. Its annual Digital Payments Index report shows that consumers are ready to adapt to this development.
Its Managing Director for the Eastern Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, JK Khalil says that data from his group shows a 67% growth in digital payments. “If we add Metaverse to this kind of matrix, to this ecosystem, it will create even more opportunities, so it’s important to participate in that,” he said. “Our partners, whether fintech, retail or banking, are all excited about Metaverse and interested in having constructive discussions about future partnerships,” he introduced.
New business models
Scopernia is a Dubai-based company that helps brands and organizations understand new technologies such as Web3 and take advantage of its opportunities.
“The forms of the Metaverse that are interesting today are those where you can own things,” said Jérémy Denisty, general manager MENA within this company. “So we do something and it’s up to us; We buy a shirt for our avatar and we can sell it back to someone or if you want to get land, you can buy it and sell it again,” he determined.
“It completely changes the way the economy works in the virtual world: it means new ways for people to invest and create business models,” he continued. “So of course, there must be a strategy in this area and we are all concerned, you and I as individuals, but also organizations: it opens up a whole field of possibilities,” he pointed out.
“The Internet in the 90s”
Based in the emirate, Briar Prestidge is the CEO and founder of the Prestidge Group. He also bet on the Metaverse. He compared it to the internet of the 90s. Recently, he spent 48 hours in this alternative world to find out what forms it takes and how brands exist in it.
“For me, Web3 and the Metaverse are just an extension of the internet: in my opinion, all companies will move to Web3, I encourage everyone to stay curious and be part of it,” he assured. “I want to apply my own principles, so I decided to launch one of the first Emirati virtual NFT collections for avatars, derived from the pieces of my label Briar Prestidge and it was presented during the first Metaverse World Fashion Week,” pointed out the young woman.
Earlier this year, Dubai’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority became the first regulator in the world to provide a framework for financial entities to operate on the Metaverse, illustrating the emirate’s ambition to be key to this digital world.