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Blockchain Brand Mobile Gaming

How brands will benefit from metaverse mobile gaming

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March 28, 2022 | 7 min read

In 2021, 2

In 2021, 2.8 billion of the world’s 3 billion gamers played on a mobile device. And the mobile gaming market is set to continue its rapid growth, reaching a value of $272 billion by 2030. Meanwhile, gaming’s other area of explosive growth, the metaverse, is slated to be worth as much as $800 billion as soon as 2024. The point where the two converge is opening up a whole world of new engagement opportunities for brands.

Exploring the metaverse on mobile

To the casual observer, the metaverse is something accessed through virtual or augmented reality. I’m a big fan of XR (Extended Reality) technology: in fact I founded Admix with the original idea of monetizing VR games. And VR is clearly experiencing considerable growth, with Meta/Oculus Quest 2 selling up to a million headset units over Christmas and social gaming platform Rec Room recently receiving a million VR visits in a 60 hour period.

But XR is just one way of immersing yourself in the hugely rich and increasingly expansive metaverse and while it will continue to grow as the cost and friction of the technology decreases, it pales in comparison to the scale offered by the supercomputers we all carry in our pockets. Many people have enjoyed a game such as Fortnite, Roblox or Pokémon Go on a mobile device while, understandably, having no idea of the cultural significance ascribed to them as proto-metaverses.

Roblox alone has over 45 million daily active users, who generated $1.9 billion on the platform last year. An astonishing 72 percent of Roblox user sessions take place on mobile devices. In addition to ‘gaming’, Roblox users socialize, enjoy concerts and events, build and customize their own virtual worlds and avatars. It has a creator economy, albeit a centralised ‘Web2’ one supported by a digital currency, Robux, that enables users to purchase cosmetic items such as skins and creators to monetize their content for a share of the profits. Last year, Roblox developers and creators were paid out over $500 million in Robux.

It’s clear that, as across all forms of gaming, mobile is providing the user scale and seamless payments infrastructure that mean metaverse gaming is in rude health.

Branded mobile metaverse experiences

So what does this mean for brands? Just think about that number of users, engaging in experiences and buying in-platform products associated with your brand. Think Nikeland, a branded virtual world including sports fields and arenas in which players can compete in mini-games, as well as a digital showroom where they can dress their avatar in Nike-branded clothing. Or Vans World, an interactive skatepark on the platform, where visitors can practice their virtual boarding skills, view and purchase exclusive Vans clothing and shows from a digital storefront. Or simple cosmetic activations such as in late 2021 when fashion-conscious Fortnite players could purchase in-game Balenciaga and Moncler clothing to give their characters a high-class edge.

The fact that such high-profile brands have taken the metaverse plunge and created immersive branded experiences that can be accessed on mobile is serving as inspiration for others. But in many ways it’s just the beginning, and much of the conversation is already shifting to how brands can carve out a slice of virtual land of their own. The gradual shift toward Web3 and a more open, decentralized internet is drastically increasing the engagement opportunities for brands while also providing a better deal for creators.

Blockchain-enabled metaverses

The use of blockchain technology in the metaverse decentralizes ownership away from technology platforms such as Facebook, Google or Roblox, putting a greater emphasis on creator economies. For instance, once a user has bought a particular item of clothing for their avatar, that item will verifiably and even exclusively belong to them. In time, they should be able to sell that item to another user. An in-game economy built around blockchain will enable creators to see a share of the revenue not only from the initial sale, but also from the resale of their designs. And, of course, it means brands will enjoy extended engagement with their virtual products.

This is the logical direction of travel I see for metaverse gaming and branded virtual experiences and e-commerce. While we’re still in the early days of Web3, meaningful moves have been made by the likes of adidas, Havas Group and many other brands. One of the leading metaverse platforms, The Sandbox, recently passed two million users while still in its Alpha phase. The entry barriers to Web3 metaverses are comparatively high, often requiring a relatively powerful PC. Many will eventually support mobile devices, as major play-to-earn platform Axie Infinity does, while there are also Web3 metaverses developed specifically for mobile, such as Uplands.

Users and creators are set to benefit hugely from the decentralized ownership offered by blockchain technology. But that doesn’t mean brands can’t, too; far from it. The elements that make Web3 so special for players and creators are the very same that can provide a boon for unprecedented engagement with brands, and there are others.

While Nikeland is undoubtedly a stunning and large-scale example of a branded metaverse experience, it can never truly be Nike’s, living as it does within the awesome Roblox ecosystem. AdiVerse, on the other hand, is hosted in The Sandbox but sits on a parcel of digital real estate that verifiably belongs to adidas. The Adidas Originals brand has sold NFTs that act as tokens that unlock entry to the experiences AdiVerse will host and to exclusive real-world merch. Adidas can build what it wants on its Sandbox land, such as pop-up stores, fashion shows and gigs. And, not that it really matters to a brand of adidas’ resources, but it’s likely that the virtual real estate AdiVerse sits on will likely have appreciated considerably in value if the company ever chooses to sell it.

True brand engagement at scale

As we move ever more into the metaverse and, with the adoption of Web3, towards an ownership economy, brands have an opportunity to offer real value for their audiences, delivering a brand experience people will enjoy and remember.

XR technology will continue to improve and become more affordable. Web3 platforms like the Sandbox will gradually become more easily accessible and cross-platform. Large publishers such as Ubisoft and EA will build out their Web3 offerings. There will be a tipping point, in my opinion, where users shift en masse to the decentralized metaverse. But today, one of the surefire ways for brands to win in the metaverse is by making the most of the scale provided by mobile gaming.

By Samuel Huber, CEO and Co-Founder of Admix

Blockchain Brand Mobile Gaming

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