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The Metaverse Landscape in 2024: 16 Companies to Know

In the halcyon, pre-ChatGPT days of 2022, the hottest topic in the tech world was the “metaverse,” with Mark Zuckerberg’s grandiose vision, rebranding of Facebook’s parent company as Meta Platforms, Inc., and multibillion-dollar investment in the technology captivating minds and sparking frenzied speculation.

However, as the hype cycle passed, Zuckerberg’s revolution failed to materialize, generative A.I. comprehensively shifted the paradigm, and skepticism emerged.

Critics dismissed the metaverse as a fad, an out-of-touch tech billionaire’s folly, a dream that would never materialize. 

They may have called time-of-death too soon. 

Fast forward to 2024, and the metaverse is not only alive but thriving. From the enchanting realms of the Readyverse to the groundbreaking initiatives spearheaded by EY, the metaverse has evolved vibrantly, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible at the intersection of the digital immersive and physical worlds.

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the metaverse’s current state, explore its future, and explore some of the most exciting experiences and platforms currently shaping this new frontier.

Image Credit: Readyverse Studios

Readyverse ‘Open’: The Ultimate Battle Royale

One of the most exciting developments in the metaverse landscape is the Readyverse, an interactive platform that brings the iconic “Ready Player One” universe to life as an open platform to be home to all metaverse experiences. Readyverse Studios, co-founded by Futureverse and Ernest Cline, the visionary behind the sci-fi franchise, has partnered with Warner Bros. Discovery to create an immersive experience that blurs the line between fiction and reality.

The crown jewel of the Readyverse is ‘Open,’ a third-person battle royale experience that pushes the boundaries of what’s possible in the metaverse. Players compete against each other in game-show-styled, multi-round collaborative modes, showcasing their skills in shooting, tactical positioning, and driving. The Readyverse biome allows fans to explore familiar environments, collect exclusive skins, and engage in thrilling competitions.

What sets the Readyverse apart is its seamless integration of the physical and digital realms. Through cutting-edge technology, players can traverse iconic locations from the “Ready Player One” universe, blurring the boundaries between the real and the virtual. This groundbreaking approach to world-building sets the stage for a new era of immersive storytelling and gameplay.

Read more about the SXSW announcement of the Readyverse and ‘Open’ in our blog post The Real-Life Version of the ‘Ready Player One’ Open Metaverse is Here: The Readyverse.

EY: Incubating the Future

EY, a global leader in assurance, consulting, and technology services, has emerged as a key player in the metaverse space. Through its metaverse labs and dedicated services, EY is helping businesses navigate this new landscape and unlock its potential for growth and transformation.

EY’s metaverse labs serve as incubators for cutting-edge projects and collaborations. These labs bring together technologists, creatives, and industry experts to explore the possibilities of the metaverse and develop innovative solutions tailored to specific business needs.

One of EY’s most remarkable projects is Ancestor Archives, a collaboration that merges generative A.I. with the metaverse. This groundbreaking experience, developed in partnership with artist Josie Williams, brings Black history and culture to life through virtual poets powered by artificial intelligence. By engaging with these experiences, users can explore new forms of storytelling and cultural preservation within the metaverse.

As Domhnaill Hernon, the Global Lead of the EY Metaverse Lab, discussed with Helen in the most recent episode of Creativity Squared titled The Metaverse is Dead; Long Live the Metaverse!, EY recognizes the vital role that artists play in shaping the metaverse.

Through its artist-in-residence program, EY collaborates with visionary creatives to push the boundaries of what’s possible at the intersection of art and technology. These partnerships yield thought-provoking installations, immersive experiences, and innovative solutions that challenge conventional thinking, inspire new perspectives, and drive business value.

The Metaverse Strikes Back!

Beyond the Readyverse and EY’s initiatives, the metaverse today is teeming with captivating experiences, companies, and platforms, each offering a unique perspective on this digital frontier.

Here are some prominent examples:

  • Meta’s Horizon Worlds invites users to explore a vast, user-generated universe where creativity knows no bounds. From attending virtual concerts and festivals to participating in immersive gaming experiences, Horizon Worlds offers a glimpse into the future of social interaction and entertainment.
  • Microsoft Mesh, on the other hand, focuses on revolutionizing collaboration and productivity in the metaverse. By leveraging mixed reality technology, Mesh enables users to work together seamlessly across physical and digital spaces, making remote collaboration feel as natural as in-person interactions.
  • For those seeking a more decentralized metaverse experience, Decentraland emerges as a leading contender. Built on the Ethereum blockchain, Decentraland empowers users to own, develop, and monetize virtual land, creating a vibrant economy driven by user-generated content and experiences. From virtual art galleries and fashion shows to immersive role-playing adventures, Decentraland showcases the potential of a truly decentralized metaverse.
  • The Sandbox, another blockchain-based platform, has quickly become a hub for gaming and creative expression. With its user-friendly voxel editor and powerful scripting tools, The Sandbox allows users to craft their own games, assets, and experiences, fostering a thriving community of creators and players alike.
  • Roblox, a metaverse platform that has captured the hearts of millions of young users, continues to expand its offerings. With its emphasis on user-generated content and social gaming, Roblox has become a launchpad for aspiring developers and a haven for players seeking fun, engaging experiences across a wide range of genres.
  • Fortnite and Minecraft are two gaming metaverse examples with immersive worlds that offer players vast, expansive environments where they can engage in a myriad of activities beyond traditional gameplay. In Fortnite, players not only participate in battle royale matches but also attend virtual concerts, create custom game modes, and interact within a constantly evolving storyline. Minecraft, on the other hand, serves as a digital sandbox where users can build and explore their own or others’ creations, fostering a community-driven experience. Both platforms exemplify the metaverse concept by blending social interaction, entertainment, and digital economy, allowing users to buy, sell, or trade in-game items or experiences. This integration of gaming with elements of a virtual society underscores their roles as parts of a broader metaverse ecosystem, where virtual and real worlds converge.
  • Other notable metaverse experiences include Somnium Space, a VR world that pushes the boundaries of immersion and interactivity; Voxels Metaverse (formerly CryptoVoxels), a virtual city where users can build, explore, and trade digital assets; and VRChat, a social VR platform that fosters creativity and self-expression through user-created avatars and worlds.
  • For fashionistas, the metaverse presents a new frontier for self-expression and style. Platforms like DressX and The Dematerialised offer digital-only fashion collections, allowing users to dress their avatars in stunning, one-of-a-kind garments. Meanwhile, luxury brands such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Balenciaga have embraced the metaverse, launching exclusive virtual collections and experiences that blur the line between fashion and technology.
  • In business and education, platforms like Engage and Virbela are transforming the way we learn, train, and collaborate. These metaverse environments provide immersive spaces for virtual conferences, workshops, and training sessions, enabling participants to connect and interact in ways that transcend the limitations of traditional online platforms.

As the metaverse continues to evolve, the possibilities for new experiences and use cases are endless, from virtual tourism and entertainment to digital real estate and beyond.

Challenges and Opportunities

While the metaverse holds immense promise, it’s not without its challenges. Technological hurdles, such as the need for more advanced hardware and faster internet speeds, must be overcome to ensure seamless experiences. Additionally, privacy and security concerns loom large, as the metaverse collects vast amounts of personal data. Striking the right balance between personalization and protection will be crucial in fostering trust and adoption.

As the metaverse blurs the lines between the physical and digital, questions surrounding ownership and intellectual property rights come to the fore. How do we define and protect digital assets? How can creators monetize their work in the metaverse? These are complex issues that require thoughtful consideration and innovative solutions.

As we look ahead to the rest of 2024 and beyond, it’s clear that while the hype may ebb and flow, the metaverse is here to stay. As the underlying technology and vision continue to evolve at a rapid pace and the range of metaverse experiences grows richer and more diverse with each passing day, one thing is certain: the metaverse is not dead yet.

Be sure to listen to Creativity Squared Episode 41 with Domhnaill Hernon, the Global Lead of the EY Metaverse Lab, for more insight into why you should pay attention to all metaverse applications: consumer, industrial, and enterprise.