11 min read

Metaverse Events: What it Means For the Virtual Events Industry

A man wearing a virtual reality headset in the middle of a tennis court

With all the talk about the metaverse and metaverse events, we thought it was only right to give our predictions for what it might mean for the virtual events industry at large.

When Meta (the former Facebook) revealed its Metaverse, the world instantly reacted. Granted, the reactions weren’t all positive. Many were left puzzled as to what this could mean for various institutions and industries in the future.

No matter which way you look at it, the metaverse is coming.

It’s actually already arrived, only not a lot of people know that, believing Meta to be the first to break through (more on other metaverses later). It’s no wonder Meta is considered the first, with Bloomberg estimating that this alternative reality will reach a value of $800 million by 2024.

Any brand that makes that big of a splash is bound to gather some attention. But where does all of this leave the virtual events industry, and where does that leave us here at iVent?

Those are questions we hope to answer in this post, alongside some of our own opinions on this phenomenon.

Before we begin, let’s make something clear from the offset: You don’t need to be an expert on virtual realities or the metaverse to continue reading. This post is for everyone interested in the metaverse and metaverse events.

Now, let’s get started.

What Exactly is the Metaverse?

To understand events in the metaverse, we should first look at what it is in its simplest form. The metaverse is an immersive 3D environment that blends virtual and augmented reality, to create a space where people can live out parts of their lives in a completely digital setting.

One of the biggest misconceptions about the metaverse is that it exists as a primary source for gaming and other forms of entertainment.

While true in some instances, the space is said to play host to hybrid and virtual events – which include meetings, conferences, and more.

A series of dots outlining what it's like to attend an event in the meta verse

How Do Events in the Metaverse Work?

The metaverse looks to work in weird and wonderful ways. As mentioned, the platform leverages virtual, augmented, and physical reality to create immersive experiences for users around the world.

Events in the metaverse are believed to be one of the more practical uses of the space, allowing users to interact with others wherever, whenever. This is more than ideal for events of all sizes – from your individual meetings, to full-scale open days.

To access the metaverse, users will need to ‘plug in,’ so to speak, through a virtual reality helmet. The helmet is the entryway into the metaverse, albeit a little jarring to get used to and keep on for extended periods of time.

In the metaverse you are presented as an avatar. This avatar can either look just like you, or take the form of anything from a dinosaur to a piece of fruit. Ridiculous examples, I know, but everything is said to be possible in this space.

For corporate events and meetings, the metaverse is said to bridge the gap between the physical and virtual. This is possible through 360 degree virtual environments that map out entire spaces to simulate what it’s like to be there in person.

Does this sound familiar?

It should, as this is something that is already possible with virtual event technology, which is the case for the majority of what is possible within the metaverse.

Meta Wasn’t the First to Do It

Despite what some might tell you or believe, the concept of the metaverse has been around for quite some time. In fact, Second Life was the first, an online multimedia platform created by Linden Lab.

For the past 17 years or so, Second Life has brought together people from around the world in the same virtual space across meetups and events. It might look like a variation of The Sims, but it’s provided plenty of key benefits:

  • Remote working possibilities
  • Reduced travel time and cost
  • Improved collaboration
  • Increased communication
  • Interactive 3D environments

Decentraland is another example of a virtual space that got in before Meta. In Decentraland, users can trade in virtual real estate for cryptocurrency.

The growing popularity of such platforms has encouraged brands from around the world to invest in digital opportunities in order to increase their reach amongst tech savvy consumers.

people gathered around a laptop

What Do Metaverse Events Mean for the Virtual Event Industry?

At this moment in time, all we can do is speculate as to what the metaverse means for the virtual event industry. You see, a lot of it is still in development, and subject to change.

That said, Meta’s formal introduction to its metaverse provided quite the introduction, giving us hints at how virtual meetings, and virtual games could be handled in the not so distant future.

So what do events in the metaverse mean for the industry, and what do they mean for iVent?

They mean a lot of things, the most obvious being: competition.

Other virtual event providers might shy away from this truth, but we embrace it. To ignore the metaverse now would be crazy. After all, everyone in the industry is talking about it – whether they want to admit it or not.

In our eyes, competition is a good thing. It inspires innovation which then encourages growth off the back of that. Besides, we believe that virtual events are far better than those you might find in the metaverse.

We say that, not because we’re biassed, but because most of what is said to be possible in the future in the metaverse, is already possible now.

Here, we’ll show you.

The Similarities Between Virtual Events and Metaverse Events

If you’ve read any of our other blogs – or have a decent understanding of what we do here at iVent – then you’ve more than likely pinpointed the similarities between most of what we’ve just covered, and what we offer here at iVent.

To make this even clearer, we’re dedicating this section to cover some of the main similarities between virtual events and metaverse events.

Full Virtual Environments

The word ‘immersive’ is thrown around a lot when talking about the metaverse. Probably due to these spaces mapping entire areas for users to roam around in.

These full virtual environments simulate the feeling of being there in person, only users can access the platform remotely rather than travel to a specific location to participate. This is very similar to the digital spaces we create using our bespoke virtual events platform.

Case and point, the virtual environments we’ve created for the likes of Newcastle University, National Trust, and Edenred.

One of the great things about these environments is that they can be reused multiple times, or set up so that users can access them long after an event has concluded!

Complete Access Whenever, Wherever

Having 24/7 access to the metaverse and live events in the metaverse isn’t new. It’s something the virtual event industry has already perfected over the years.

With virtual events, attendees can participate wherever, whenever too, only the batteries to entry aren’t nearly as extensive. The fact that you need a VR headset to participate in the metaverse only adds to the appeal of virtual events.

You see, not everyone will have access to this type of technology, and might not in the future either. Whereas with our platform, all they need is a device with a screen that is capable of connecting to the internet.

Until everyone has access to this type of technology, you’ll find that traditional virtual events are a lot better at attracting a much larger audience.

Virtual Games to Enjoy

The metaverse is said to be a haven for games and activities that keep users engaged. Well, the same applies to virtual events, the only difference is, all of the games we can implement can be fully branded in line with your sponsors or event branding!

That’s right, through our platform you can select from a variety of engaging games and have them featured within the platform, thus engaging your audience!

What games you run will depend entirely on you and the virtual event you’re looking to run. Here’s a quick list of examples for those interested:

  • Treasure Hunts
  • Arcade-Style Games
  • Branded Photo Booths
  • One-to-One Functionality

In Meta’s ‘How We’ll Build It Together’ video showcasing what is possible in the metaverse, they take a moment to show how interacting with others in a one-to-one sense will work.

Like some of the other similarities covered, one-to-one functionality is another hallmark of virtual events.

Live chat we call it, which is where attendees can engage with organisers at online events, allowing them to ask important questions and interact with others in a more intimate way. This is a lot more intimate compared to interacting with other avatars at metaverse events.

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The Drawbacks of Metaverse Events

One of the biggest drawbacks of events in the metaverse is that it seems far too ambitious for its own good. If the response to the initial video was anything to go by, Meta could run into many issues should they underdeliver in any way.

Another point of concern is privacy and how that’s handled. The technology used to track online behaviour will also exist within the metaverse, and the tracking is likely to become even more invasive and intense.

For example, VR-headsets – one of the main entryways into the metaverse – will include eye-tracking technology. This can monitor what you’re looking at and for how long, which is ideal for a marketer, but less than acceptable for anyone concerned about their privacy.

With VR-headsets, there’s also health concerns to think about. The term ‘virtual reality hangovers’ are a known phenomenon, which leaves users dizzy after the experience. There’s also depression to consider, as spending too much time in VR can form a disconnect with the outside world.

There’s also access inequality to think about. You see, in order to access the metaverse, users will need the latest technology to do so – and head-sets aren’t the cheapest items in the world.

When it comes to virtual and hybrid events, you should want to be as inclusive as possible, giving users everywhere the same opportunity to jump in as everyone else. This is a major drawback if the tech is expensive which could cost you a lot of money as a result if there aren’t a lot of people showing up to participate.

To recap, here are the drawbacks of events in the metaverse:

  • Too Ambitious: Underdelivering in any way could affect the growth of the metaverse.
  • Privacy Issues: Eye-tracking tech could pose an issue to privacy-minded users.
  • Health Concerns: VR hangovers and a disconnect to the outside world could lead to issues.
  • Access Inequality: Not everyone that attends these events will have the same access to the technology.

Metaverse Events: What it Means For the Virtual Events Industry

It could be easy for us to say that the metaverse poses no threat to the virtual event industry, but that just isn’t true. The fact that it can do a lot of what virtual events can do does make it a rival.

Still, there’s a lot of unknowns when it comes to the metaverse, which does limit its viability for running events. Pre-generated footage is a great indication of what to expect and all, but do keep in mind that it could be subject to change.

What we know for certain is that virtual events in their current state are more than equipped to generate the results you’re looking for, no matter the type of event you’re looking to run, and what industry you operate in.

From corporate communications, to virtual meetings, we here at iVent do nothing but deliver. To find out more, simply get in touch with us, or why not request a demo and see for yourself why events in the metaverse have nothing on us!

Written by:

Ros - Director at Virtual iVentRos Oxley

See more by Ros Oxley

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