STOCKHOLM, SAN FRANCISCO, TOKYO - Is the metaverse the next golden ticket, a load of hype, or already dead? For a couple of years, it looked as if the metaverse was set to take off.
Facebook morphed into Meta in 2021 and invested billions, showing how much it coveted the territory. Microsoft wants to acquire Activision Blizzard, which would - pending regulatory approval - give the company the tools to create its own virtual world.1 Various other companies and investors have also poured USD90 billion into metaverse-related mergers and acquisitions (M&As).2
Global corporate leaders are upbeat about the metaverse, a new study by global management consulting firm Kearney shows. In fact, 60 percent of the telecommunications (telco) and consumer goods (CG) executives it surveyed say it may greatly impact their businesses, though notable skeptics remain. Ex-Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt is dubious amid a lack of agreement about exactly what the metaverse is, while Apple’s head Tim Cook questions its future, saying not enough people understand it.3 In recent months, firms seem to have deprioritized their plans for the metaverse - including Meta, which now seems to be shifting its focus more to artificial intelligence (AI).4
Numerous metaverse issues give leaders pause: Two of the biggest are entry timing and uncertain market size. Matthew Ball, author of The Metaverse and How it Will Revolutionize Everything, believes its revenue will reach USD10 trillion by 2030, while some investment banks foresee it cresting to USD13 trillion by then.5 Not everyone is so optimistic: Tech futurist Cathy Hackl estimates this figure will hit a mere USD1 trillion by 2030, while Meta sees it growing to some USD2 trillion in the next seven years.6
Despite this mixed outlook, the metaverse is very much alive. The tech world has been enthusiastic overall, deeming it