Metaverse stocks have fallen flat in 2022 as the much-hyped concept has yet to take off. Meta Platforms (META 0.73%), the company most closely associated with the concept and which popularized the term, has seen its stock price plunge this year as it's on track to lose around $13 billion on Reality Labs, its metaverse-focused division. Meta also has not had much success in consumer adoption of its metaverse tools, including Oculus headsets.
But Meta's struggles don't mean there's no future for the concept, and companies big and small are working to build their own version of the metaverse. Here are two metaverse stocks worth owning for the long haul that aren't named Meta Platforms.
1. Microsoft: The metaverse for enterprise tech
If there's a business-to-business opportunity in technology, you can bet that Microsoft (MSFT -0.17%) is going to be there. So it's not surprising to see the company make a play for the metaverse, which every company defines a little differently.
Microsoft introduced its metaverse strategy at its Build 2022 conference this year. It combines a number of the company's most popular products including avatars on Teams, which it calls Mesh, Azure, Digital Twins, and even its HoloLens.
Not surprisingly, Microsoft's vision for the metaverse is focused around work, and sharing physical and digital spaces for meetings and other forms of collaboration. CEO Satya Nadella said at the Build Conference: "Presence is the ultimate killer application. When you and I can remotely join the same meeting but feel like we're in the same room to create and collaborate together, that's finally within reach."
Companies like Accenture and Anheuser-Busch InBev are using Microsoft's metaverse to do things like track bottles, do virtual onboarding, and track store performance.
Microsoft has two key advantages over Meta Platforms in the metaverse. First, the metaverse seems more likely to gain traction in the B2B sector first since businesses can afford to spend on high-tech systems, and it already has relationships with these companies, allowing it to sell these products and services as an add-on.
And Microsoft's core business is highly profitable, allowing it to absorb these risks and potential losses without endangering the overall business.
2. NVIDIA: The semiconductor angle
The metaverse will also demand tremendous computing power, and that's where NVIDIA (NVDA 0.20%) comes in. It has risen to prominence largely through its strength in graphics chips, which have given it an edge in gaming, setting up a natural segue into the metaverse, which is also highly visually dependent.
NVIDIA has created its own metaverse, called the Omniverse, which was named by Time magazine as one of 2021's 100 best inventions. The Omniverse enables 3-D virtual worlds, allowing companies to do things like create digital twins so factories can monitor efficiency and optimize systems for better productivity and to remove bottlenecks. Another example is home improvement retailer Lowe's, which has started using the Omniverse to make a digital twin for a store to improve merchandising, view hard-to-reach or hard-to-see areas, and make improvements in the layout.
NVIDIA now has more than 700 Omniverse customers, showing the technology is rapidly gaining adoption. Amazon, Kroger, and PepsiCo are among those using the tech to make copies of real-world physical spaces to better understand how to use them.
NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang has argued that the Omniverse can save billions of dollars through simulations as companies spend money in other ways to compensate for it.
With the Omniverse, NVIDIA seems to have the early lead in creating useful digital spaces, and with its strength in graphics and artificial-intelligence chips as well as its roster of more than 700 customers, it looks well prepared to lead with the Omniverse.