Case studies of corporate events in the Metaverse
The “Metaverse” is rapidly gaining attention and various applications are now being explored. Although it is still in its infancy, it has been nominated for the most popular word of the year 2022 in Japan, and Facebook has changed its company name to Meta, and we can clearly sense that it has the potential to become a major part of our lives in the future.
In addition, the number of companies considering business use of the Metaverse is also on the rise. According to a market survey we conducted in 2022, more than 40% of companies are already holding internal events using the Metaverse.
Metaverse will become an indispensable part of corporate events in the future, both for internal and the public. In this journal, we will talk about corporate events and the Metaverse!
What is the Metaverse?
The Meaning of the term Metaverse
What exactly does “Metaverse” mean? The term “Metaverse” refers to an imaginary three-dimensional space created in a computer and the services provided inside this space. The word is said to have originated in 1992 as the name of a fictional space created by American science fiction author Neal Stephenson in one of his novels, and the meaning of the word remains roughly the same today.
General Examples of the Metaverse
It is difficult to fully understand the concept without concrete examples. Familiar examples of metaverse include the “Animal Crossing” series of games, “Fortnite,” “FF14,” and “Minecraft”. If you think of it as “a character created by choosing a face and costume, and then moving around and talking to each other in a space created by a computer,” you can get a vague idea of what it is like.
How is it different from VR?
Metaverse and VR are often discussed as a set, and there are cases of confusion, but the two are clearly different. Metaverse, as mentioned above, refers to “moving a character created by oneself in a virtual space,” while VR refers to “linking the sense of sight and touch to the movements of a character by using a specialized machine (device). The possibilities for combining metaverse and VR are endless, but there are many metaverse that do not require VR, such as the aforementioned game, and there are also many services that do not use metaverse for VR. At least you can rest assured that you don’t need VR gadgets to participate in a metaverse event.
Characteristics of Metaverse Events
Metaverse events are a type of online event, but they differ from traditional online events in one significant way. That is the high degree of freedom. In contrast to conventional online events, where all participants view the same images, in a metaverse event, participants have avatars (characters) that they can move freely and explore the venue. This increases the appeal of the event, as participants become actively involved in the event. The organizer can also set up seminar rooms, business meeting rooms, exhibition rooms, etc., allowing for a number of contents to run concurrently. Both the organizer and participants can stand around as if it were a real event. This is the unique feature of Metaverse Events that sets them apart from conventional online events.
Benefits of Conducting a Metaverse Event
So, what are the benefits of a metaverse event? Let’s look at them one by one.
No physical location
One of the first advantages of a metaverse event is that it can be held anywhere. As long as there is an environment that allows access to the Metaverse, participants can attend events from anywhere in the world. This in itself is a common advantage of online events, but what makes the metaverse unique is that the organizer can expand the event venue as much as they want, according to what they want to do. Since the size of the venue is virtually unlimited, it is possible to include as much content as possible, which had to be cut back in real events due to the space limitations of the actual event venue. In addition, there is no need to worry about the flow of participants, making it possible for both the organizer and the guests to participate in the event in a non-restricting manner.
Participants can easily communicate with each other
In conventional online events, all participants are often gathered on a single screen, making it difficult for small groups of people to talk freely. However, in the case of Metaverse, participants are able to move separately, allowing a small number of people to gather for a short time in the venue and communicate with each other, just like at a real event. Also, depending on the system used, since the conversation is conducted through avatars, it may be even easier for some to communicate than having an actual face-to-face conversation.
Because everything is provided on the Internet, Metaverse events can reduce the amount of waste from brochures, novelties, and venue decorations. In the midst of SDGs, we are able to hold sustainable events that reduce waste and environmental impact.
Disadvantages of Conducting Metaverse Events
While there are many advantages to a metaverse event as described above, there are, of course, disadvantages as well. Now, let’s look at the disadvantages.
Stable Internet Connection
Internet connection is an integral part of an online event, but in the case of Metaverse, even greater care is required. This is because, due to the specifications of a Metaverse event, the connection load is considerably higher than that of other online events when an entire virtual space is prepared. Moreover, the load that each participant places on the network is greater than that of other online events, so if you think of it as a conventional online event, you will run out of bandwidth in no time.
High attrition rate compared to real events
One of the disadvantages of online events is the “high withdrawal rate,” and Metaverse is no exception. Besides the possibility of closing the screen with a single click or tap, there is also the possibility of dropping out due to trouble with the internet connection. In order to prevent this, it is necessary to create a stable system that prevents errors and strengthen the connection, not to mention the content of the event to keep people from getting bored.
Participation hurdles are higher depending on devices used
While metaverse events are a new format for online events and offer many possibilities, they have the disadvantage of raising the bar for participation in terms of machine specifications, participant literacy, etc. For example, for a full-scale metaverse event that uses VR, participants need to prepare VR equipment and a computer with high enough functionality to run VR equipment. Also, if participants are not familiar with operating computers, apps, or devices, they may be confused about how to participate. This point is likely to be resolved with the evolution of technology and the spread of VR equipment, etc., but currently, this should be counted in as a disadvantage.
Possibilities of Metaverse Events
Metaverse events are not limited to in-house events, but can be held for exhibitions, conventions, fashion shows, festivals, concerts, and almost any type of event. Since the format of a metaverse event is where participants move their avatars and actively participate in the event, it is a good match for business meetings, discussions, and social gatherings. In addition, some platforms also allow business transactions using virtual currency. Metaverse events is becoming the solution to holding a real event on the Internet.
Case studies on Metaverse Events
Although the metaverse currently has a strong image of being used mainly in the entertainment and gaming fields, events that could be called metaverse versions of various types of events are already being implemented. Here are some examples of such metaverse events.
Metaverse Demonstration by PwC Consulting
To explore the potential for business use of the Metaverse, PwC Consulting held a three-day participatory Metaverse event in June 2022 as a demonstration event. The platforms used were Cluster and VRChat, two of the most well-known metaverse platforms. The event included seminar sessions as well as performances with comedians and almost all the contents that could be expected to be used in the metaverse. In addition, 3,000 VR goggles were prepared for the event, and participation from PCs and smartphones was also made possible to verify and research the differences in perception depending on how the guests participated.
Tokyo Girls Collection 2022 (VIRTUAL TGC)
Tokyo Girls Collection 2022, one of the most popular fashion shows for teenage girls in Japan, is a fashion event held in the Metaverse space from August 2022 to February 2023. You can enter through a dedicated smartphone application, create an avatar of your choice and walk around the venue, winning fashion items to change into by participating in games, walk the runway in the venue, talk with friends via text chat, and enjoy Tokyo Girls Collection fully in the Metaverse. The app also offers live broadcast events and other events.
Virtual Shibuya Halloween Fest 2022
One event that has been actively involved in metaverse events since the early days is the “Virtual Shibuya Halloween Fest”, where the real Shibuya is recreated on the Cluster metaverse platform, with live performances by various artists and Halloween-specific content such as a Sadako collaboration. The Shibuya Ward is also supporting this project, making this the event where one can best feel the future of the pervasive metaverse.
Nissan Showroom (NISSAN CROSSING)
One of the most famous permanent exhibits in the Metaverse is Nissan’s virtual gallery “NISSAN CROSSING”, which is open to the public in the social VR service (Metaverse) “VRChat”. This is a showroom in the Metaverse where any VRChat user can drop by to see the cars, including the Nissan Aria. In the future, the company plans to hold content such as new car launches, exhibitions, seminars, and lectures.
Platforms for Metaverse Events
So, what exactly is the best way to conduct a metaverse event?
When conducting a metaverse event, the first thing you need is a venue. Of course, it is not a real venue, but a venue on the Internet. The organizer does not need to prepare a venue from scratch, but it is best to ask a company that is working on a metaverse event platform to do so. Depending on the company, there are a variety of types, such as for entertainment, business meetings, internal events, and so on. Here are a few companies.
Cluster is a metaverse platform that is also the host of the “Virtual Shibuya Halloween Festival” case study above. It is also involved in the Yokohama DeNA’s (professional baseball team) Virtual Hamasuta, etc., and is very well known in Japan. It can be used on both smartphones and PCs by installing their application, and they have enormous experience in metaverse events, from large-scale events that allow general participants to enter the room to small-scale seminars that are limited to internal participants only. Another advantage is the wide range of customization of the virtual space and the various designs possible, with their vast case studies.
Mecha-Event is an internal corporate event tool using the Metaverse. It is specialized for in-house events and features the ease of participating in a Metaverse event by simply clicking on a dedicated URL, as well as the stability of allowing thousands of people to participate simultaneously. It can also be used as a virtual office tool for meetings, telework, etc., as well as for special occasions such as annual company events.
V-expo is a rental space for metaverse events that can be used from your computer or smartphone browser. Various types, functions, and designs of rental spaces are available depending on the purpose of use, from seminars to exhibition halls, live performances, and business meetings. The main feature of this service is that you can choose the venue that best suits your purpose, so you do not need to have any knowledge about building a metaverse as you organize the event and customization is also possible as needed.
The main feature of a metaverse event is that, although it is an online event, each participant can move his or her avatar and feel a sense of “presence” and “participating” in the event. While there are some concerns about the internet connection limitations as of January 2023, this trend is sure to continue to expand with future technological innovation.
Metaverse events can be considered real events on the Internet that transcend distance. Why not hold your own with a small-scale event to start off with?