Did AI Knock Out The Metaverse?

Updated: May 30, 2023
ai knockout metaverse

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The year of 2023 has barely started and we have been flooded with information about what seems to be one of the greatest advancements in technology and marketing: Generative Artificial Intelligence.

But wait… haven’t we seen another great tech advancement about a year ago?

If we look back at early 2022, marketers, brands and professionals were quite excited about the new possibilities that the metaverse was promising. Here at Rock Content, I myself have written about this topic a few times, keeping us up to date with this subject. 

One of the most recent posts I wrote was about the lack of information regarding the metaverse, since many people are still not aware of what it actually means. Recent data shows that if things keep going as they are, people may never know or even forget about the metaverse. 

One of the most relevant topics in the business world recently has been the new possibilities brought by AI tools. It is possible to see on Google Trends how this subject has been growing over the past 12 months:

Although, if we look up at users interest for the same time frame, but for the term “metaverse”, we can see the decrease in interest:

Source: Google Trends

Data has just confirmed what we have seen throughout the last couple of months. Artificial intelligence is getting more and more attention, while the metaverse fades like a dream that some people had and is quite unlikely to become a broad reality.

How is the market reacting?

A few months ago the Metaverse was a promising trend, with businesses investing in new creations and acquisitions, but now the scenario does not look so good. 

The Wall Street Journal even titled one of its articles about the subject as “The Metaverse Is Quickly Turning Into the Meh-taverse.” This publication mentions the backwards moves regarding the metaverse that big brands like Disney and Microsoft have made recently.

In one of its recent layoffs, Disney cut the metaverse division, and so did Microsoft, which reduced its investments in areas like virtual reality. 

According to Bloomberg Sony Group Corp. released the PlayStation VR2 headsets in February and at first, the expectation was to sell about 2 million pieces by the end of March, but the new reality made it likely to sell only around 300,000 units since the metaverse has not been on top of people’s minds. 

Besides that, Deloitte’s Global Marketing Trends Report 2023 stated that just 10% of marketers think that metaverse is irrelevant to them.

In addition, we can also mention the Decentraland and Metaverse Fashion Week 2023 with famous brands like Adidas, Dolce & Gabbana, Tommy Hilfiger and many others, that featured digital models on a virtual runway.

There are many other moves that show a group of marketers ditching the metaverse while others are still investing in it.

The AI timing

In one of my articles, I mentioned that the metaverse received too much visibility in a period that was not very promising for its context. Bringing virtual reality to the spotlight when people were leaving a long period of lockdown, went in different directions to what users were craving for. 

Now, during the AI buzz, features have come up in a moment that is more likely to please professionals and businesses. We’ve been living in times of recession, with several companies going through huge layoffs, and doing all they can to save money while running. 

Having an artificial intelligence to do some tasks that need to be done by real people creates excitement among businesses. The possibility of saving money without having to hire or maintain an employee for certain activities can sound good to decision makers – note that I am not talking about the quality of the work delivered.

Another interesting point is how the AI features are much more accessible than the metaverse. Anyone can access chat.openai.com and ask their questions or make requests for free, getting a real idea of what the AI can do. In this aspect, the metaverse was not so accessible to anyone who wanted to try it out, and may include other costs that make it a little more difficult to access.

These points can all be a coincidence, but in my view, they make complete sense, being a planned move or just things naturally happening at the right time.

Next steps

The metaverse is decreasing its popularity since marketers and other professionals are more focused on the AI possibilities, since it seems to bring more results at a lower cost. However, I don’t believe that it will be completely cut off from our lives.

As I mentioned before, it is expensive and difficult to understand, so people will still need some time to get used to it, as it also needs to be better developed for potential growth.

At the same time, artificial intelligence spreads across different markets, use cases and possibilities. It is already part of many people’s private and professional lives, and I believe it represents a new era of digital interaction. 

Despite this promising scenario, I would not bet all my cards on this new trend, since: some issues with copyrights may appear, the reliability of the information and data provided is sometimes questionable, data protection issues, fake news and the lack of a human sense.

With that in mind, I close this article with a question: we had the metaverse, then AI, so what is coming next?

Do you want to continue to be updated with Marketing best practices? I strongly suggest that you subscribe to The Beat, Rock Content’s interactive newsletter. There, you’ll find all the trends that matter in the Digital Marketing landscape. See you there!


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