What is the metaverse and why should you learn about it if you’re in commercial real estate?
The metaverse has been a red-hot topic lately – it’s become a buzzword for the future of tech and is closely associated with other cyber trends like cryptocurrencies and NFTs. Even Facebook officially changed its name to “Meta” towards the end of 2021 to focus on its metaverse goals.
We know - it can seem like a lot. However, when you take a closer look, you can see that the metaverse is a digital world that represents much of what we do in normal day-to-day life and it becomes much less intimidating. From shopping, hanging with friends, attending virtual meetings, enjoying an event, or even getting medical advice from a doctor, all of it is possible in the metaverse – without you ever needing to leave your living room. People will have their own digital avatars that exist in computer code and represent them in the digital world… kind of like The Sims if you’re familiar with the game!
The metaverse has existed for years already in different formats, so although it’s been getting a lot of press lately, it’s really not “new”. In fact, people have been gathering together virtually for many years. Huge communities of people continue to grow and thrive in video games like World of Warcraft and Call of Duty.
Even past the video game space, millions of people connect for work via Zoom meetings across the world. Nearly everyone has several virtual versions of themselves on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. The biggest difference between these virtual meeting places and the metaverse is the concept of immersion – where you really feel like you’re there. Through your avatar, the metaverse will combine our current obsessions of virtual meeting places with recent advances in virtual reality to create the sensation that you really are in this other world.
It might all sound like a bunch of bologna: Why should you care about this far-off digital world if your main focus is real estate in the real world? Simply put, the metaverse is becoming more real than you might think – and your customers may have already moved in!
Here’s why you should pay attention to the metaverse if you are in commercial real estate:
Brands are already buying virtual space in the metaverse
They have interactive virtual spaces where you can go to interact with your favorite brands and buy products.
In December Nikeannounced the acquisition of RTFKT, a non-fungible token studio that produces digital collectibles (including digital sneakers) to merge culture and gaming. So, the next time you need a pair of shoes, consider trying them on in the metaverse!
Prices have been steadily rising
The market is hot! Over $500 million in real estate was sold on metaverse platforms in 2021, CNBC reported, and prices have soared by as much as 500% in recent months.
Developers limit the supply of land and scarcity drives prices up. There is land that is more desirable than other land and therefore worth more $$. For example, land next to a celebrity or next to a major brand/store or virtual event arena.
All excitement aside, this doesn’t mean you’ll be losing your tenants to the metaverse shopping centers anytime soon. But it is fun to consider the possibilities that the metaverse can compliment your business. Could your team recreate your favorite center in the metaverse and lease space to virtual businesses?
It’s certainly too soon to tell if such an investment is a good idea, and we recommend keeping a pulse on the topic!
Want to talk more about finding tenants in the (real) world? Let us know!