It seems like everyone who's anyone is finding their way to the metaverse. This not-so-exclusive club includes a whole host of famous names and brands. But what's really impressive is just how many companies are making their home away from home there.
Metaverse real estate is still hot, and new commercial projects are announced almost every day. Here are a few of the companies with a presence that seems to be a strong indicator of just how fiery the metaverse market is getting.
Although Acura, owned by Honda Motor Company (HMC -3.44%), isn't the first car brand to participate in Web3, it's the first one to build a virtual showroom in the metaverse platform Decentraland (MANA 4.49%). It's a showcase for upcoming vehicle lines, complete with an arcade of automotive-themed games.
The sleek black neon-clad building is definitely an eye-catcher from way down the road. Early vehicle reservations may also include an Integra NFT.
According to several trademark filings made public recently, CVS Health (CVS -0.30%) intends to sell downloadable virtual goods, presumably in the form of NFTs, for "a variety of consumer goods...for use online and in online virtual worlds." If its plan is anything like Walmart's, this may also extend to metaverse ordering for home delivery, a patent that the big-box store, as well as several restaurant chains, has applied for, as well.
In reporting by CNBC, CVS also explained that it was interested in getting into telehealth via the metaverse, specifically in the areas of non-emergent healthcare and nutrition and wellness services.
3. Estee Lauder
Estee Lauder (EL 1.83%) made its metaverse debut during Decentraland's Metaverse Fashion Week, with a structure that looks exactly like a giant bottle of a well-known and popular product: Advanced Night Repair. It also offered NFTs that immerse avatar wearers in a "Radiance Aura," which is described by the company as "a twinkling constellation of glow and magic."
What comes next is uncertain, but the field for avatar-based cosmetics is wide open, giving Estee Lauder a unique business opportunity.
4. Forever 21
Fashion Week was a popular time for new brands to announce their metaverse debuts, but Forever 21 has been experimenting with metaverse-like spaces since December, when it started experimenting inside of the metaverse-like gaming platform, Roblox. After that experience, the company was more confident about joining the Fashion Week festivities. Its shop features fashion fit for an avatar that can be purchased as NFTs with real money.
Not everything in the metaverse is fun or fashionable, though. Global financial services provider HSBC (HSBC -0.55%) joins a growing list of mainstream banks in the metaverse that include JPMorgan Chase with its acquisition of land in The Sandbox. Although little in the way of banking is planned for this location, HSBC has indicated that it intends to "create innovative brand experiences for new and existing customers," which may include e-sports, as an HSBC stadium features prominently in promotional materials (but nothing has been constructed on the site as of this writing). Because so little is known at this point, it's hard to speculate if the HSBC stadium will be a potential anchor for other businesses or simply a stand-alone project. .
Why these companies matter to metaverse investors
The metaverse isn't a thing that we can touch or feel -- that's a given -- and it seems silly to go shopping there for banking advice, telehealth, or cars. That may be because we're not quite used to the concept, and most people have no idea how it'll really work until they just jump in and take a look around.
But that's the point, isn't it? The metaverse and the platforms therein are nothing but empty wastelands without some kind of buy-in from users, new and old. Although the metaverse itself is a relatively new concept, we can look to proto-metaverse platform Second Life to see just how vital the idea of community is to the future value of similar spaces within the metaverse.
Second Life has been active since 2003, and even though it's just a fraction of the size of metaverse platforms Decentraland or The Sandbox, it continues to have a median daily concurrency, or number of people playing at the same time, of 39,647 users and 66,555,327 registered residents (as of March 28, 2022).
The more that companies come in and develop big stuff for users to interact with, the more people will do just that. And maybe they'll stick around and build some cool stuff of their own, making the metaverse more than just an endless advertising tool.
It creates more opportunity for real estate investors, too. They can build rentable structures like kiosks or billboards, or land in prime places that can be rented to big brands trying to find their way in the metaverse for the first time.
The sense of community that was present in Decentraland before it popped up on anybody's radar is the very thing that's bringing big businesses in, and the fact that these companies are trying to preserve that culture, rather than overtake it, means that they get what's at stake. They're banking on people coming, hanging around, and getting emotionally invested in these platforms. The persistence of the world you're investing in is a large part of what will create long-term value and appreciation for real estate investors.
The growth of big names in the metaverse is excellent for investors, especially those who get in as close to the ground floor as possible. With every new experience that goes into the metaverse, the value of the limited number of real estate plots will grow, exactly like what happens when a new community is built in the real world.
It's all about location, location, location. And big brands know it.