Significant global events have shifted the events industry in recent years. The covid 19 pandemic created an unprecedented need for events to be witnessed from the comfort of one’s own home. Artists have shifted at breakneck speed to provide virtual acts, and global clients have embraced virtual entertainment in unprecedented ways.
Social technology has also evolved at breakneck speed. Esports now have a larger audience than’real life’ athletics, with over 4 million people watching last year’s League of Legends finals, for example. Humankind is a community that is hardwired to smartphones and digital existence, and it is a community that is eagerly advancing towards tech reliance.
The metaverse has arrived. The metaverse is an exciting prospect for answering clients’ eternal call for truly unique live entertainment experiences. The metaverse, which is still in its infancy, has enormous potential for innovation and creativity. The face of live entertainment is evolving, as is the future of events as we know them.
What exactly is the metaverse?
Simply put, the metaverse is the internet in three dimensions. You can be humanly present in the metaverse in ways that screens and video calling cannot match. Fundamentally, being ‘on’ the internet is not the same as being ‘in’ it.
The term metaverse was first coined in the 1980s, when Neil Stevenson proposed the concept in a novel. It was mistakenly assumed to belong to Facebook due to its ‘Meta’ company renaming in 2021. He created a virtual world in which characters could escape totalitarian reality. Sega released its first VR arcade game in the 1990s, which helped popularise the term.
SportsVision aired the first NFL game with yellow card markers in 1998, and the concept of graphics over video quickly spread to other channels. The first VR headset was invented in 2010, and it was quickly followed by Ray Ban’s’smart’ glasses and Ikea’s virtual design app, sparking widespread interest in what virtual reality could become.
The buzz surrounding metaverse entertainment is spreading quickly, with major music stars like Travis Scott and Snoop Dogg selling out audience tickets to their virtual reality concerts. Despite the fact that Travis Scott’s 2021 Fortnite performance lasted only 10 minutes, it was attended by a whopping 12 million avatar audience members.
What are the advantages?
The metaverse has enormous potential for live entertainment. There is a scalable opportunity to expand on current event formats, such as hybrids where some of the guest experience takes place in reality and the rest in the virtual world. With digital technology rapidly evolving, there are numerous new ways to stage events using VR at live events, including innovative uses of augmented reality entertainment.
The creative appeal for guests is just as strong as it is for event organisers. It is possible to create avatars of ourselves in the metaverse. Within virtual reality, guests can be whoever they want to be, down to their facial shape. The metaverse is an open space in which visitors can be free of any in-person lack of confidence or individual restriction.
Certain businesses have already used the metaverse’s power to launch innovative campaigns. This year, the American restaurant chain Chipotle launched a limited-time Roblox game that allowed customers to earn ‘burrito bucks,’ which could be exchanged for free food in real restaurants. This type of hybrid event is expected to be a major player in future events.
Aside from the artistic and commercial potential, the environmental aspect is also important. By eliminating the need for performers, equipment, and staff to fly, the event’s carbon footprint will be reduced. This is a compelling selling point for many clients and event planners. Physical consumerism and product waste can also be reduced or eliminated if guests have access to virtual entertainment.
The potential for upselling within the metaverse is also appealing. Visitors to the event may be invited to purchase access to VIP areas in virtual reality as well as gifts for themselves or others. The gaming feel to virtue reality realms can help to encourage event attendees to engage in ways they might not in reality, potentially increasing event profit.
We can access the metaverse (and thus virtual event experiences) via a variety of devices, including VR goggles, 3D wall screens, and even the standard smartphone. This is extremely beneficial for event organisers because it means that guests of all ages and locations can potentially access live entertainment if they create a platform user account.
The absence of physical limitations is the greatest advantage of the metaverse. Travis Scott performed a live concert on a virtual island within the Fortnite platform in 2020, attracting a record-breaking audience of 12 million people. In reality, audiences of that size are out of the question, as are the aesthetics and individual participation.
What types of live entertainment would be appropriate in the metaverse?
This is where things start to get exciting. The developing metaverse’s brilliance is its inspiring versatility. We provide standout entertainment and unique acts to amaze and inspire event guests all over the world as entertainment specialists. From here, it’s a matter of figuring out how to apply everything we’ve learned in the expanding realm of virtual entertainment.
Here's a rundown of some potential live entertainment options:
Large-scale social events, such as Burning Man and Glastonbury, can be virtually recreated in the metaverse, with either live or prerecorded DJ sets performed by avatars. It may also be possible to use cutting-edge entertainment acts and motion technology to create real-time show performances; performers in reality could be dancing live in the metaverse via motion sensors attached to their bodies.
2. Installations of art
In the metaverse, visitors can roam the halls of virtual galleries. View and purchase NFT (non-fungible tokens) versions of art pieces, or link to a’real’ online store. The possibilities are excitingly diverse, ranging from sculpture and portraiture to independent film and contemporary circus. You can even hire a holographic assistant to add some artistic wow-factor to your project!
3. Group Activities
Beyond typical gaming experiences, classic team building and socialisation games like ‘capture the flag’ have limitless possibilities. Expertly crafted escape rooms perform admirably in the metaverse, just as they do in reality. With interactive exhibits and custom app games that feature augmented reality characters and entertainment acts, digital animation can provide guests with out-of-this-world event experiences.
4. Fashion Displays
Fashion shows are inherently creative events with colourful metaverse potential, from gravity-free runways to immersive mall shows where avatar guests can try on outfits for themselves. This type of event could benefit greatly from interactive entertainment acts combined with motion sensor technology and live motion recording, or a pre-recorded production could be imported for avatar guests to view via video mapping screens and projection technology.
Exhibitions of Original Works
It is possible to create contrasting rooms with live and pre-recorded streams of performance acts for an exploratory feel, with enormous potential for branding and product placement. Excitingly, as a captivating example of augmented reality entertainment, custom QR codes can be used to import elements (such as moving characters) from the metaverse into the real world to be viewed via a guest smartphone.
The debate over ‘what, where, and when’ entertainment acts will work better than others in the virtual space is still ongoing. This is due to the fact that the developing metaverse is a moving target. As entertainment experts, we would only ever offer our clients what we know will match or exceed what we already provide successfully.
Is there anything negative about the metaverse?
Time and money are the enemies of quickly unlocking the metaverse’s potential, according to the events industry. Creating a virtual space is an expensive and time-consuming process. To ensure experience quality, it takes a lot of programming that relies on technical coding and a lot of digital skill.
There are also laws that apply to metaverse event attendees that are set by experience platforms. Roblox restricts the sale of’real’ products within the metaverse. This is true for the vast majority of data protection and security platforms. Physical branded items to be received in the’real’ world, however, cannot be purchased.
The physical joy felt while watching a live performance has yet to be matched in the metaverse. Without being in the same room as a performer, audiences can be moved to tears and laughter in the same way that cinema does. To achieve success in the metaverse, we must create a worthy equivalent.
It’s the subtle body language differences between guests. Or the thrill of seeing an entertainer take the stage and hearing the first notes of music. It is the physical sensation of shaking someone’s hand at a business event. If guests become desensitised, whether due to a lack of physical connection or excessive VR use, event satisfaction may suffer.
This is not to say that the metaverse cannot provide guests with powerful entertainment experiences. We must not dismiss the possibility of the unknown. We had no idea how effective virtual entertainment would be until the pandemic pushed the events industry into its arms. There is still a long way to go, but the potential is enormous.
When we only consider something worthy after it has already proven its worth, we confuse genius and madness. Every groundbreaking invention in history has been questioned at some point by those who refuse to consider the possibilities. We may not yet have all of the answers to the metaverse’s mysteries, but do we need them to appreciate the possibilities it provides?
Will the metaverse take notice?
It has already happened. When we were forced to stay at home during the worst of the global pandemic, we turned to virtual reality for escape. We watched live shows, watched comedy in virtual audience rooms, and entered virtual reality worlds to play games and socialise online. We embraced digital entertainment because we saw the benefits it could provide.
The metaverse may not yet provide us with the humanity we seek. It also cannot provide the same level of graphic quality or provide an equally satisfying entertainment experience as live shows. However, it can provide a new avenue for artistic innovation, which could soon change how we experience events and live entertainment.
The.com boom was unprecedented, and in many ways, we were unprepared for it. We are still catching up with ourselves socially and economically, despite having access to the internet. There will almost certainly be many failures during the trial and error period of metaverse discovery. This is a necessary part of any artistic or scientific endeavour.
The metaverse will never be physically present. It’s refreshing that it’s not trying to be anything. It provides us with the next best thing to being there in person in realms we cannot yet imagine. It is a digital bridge to extraordinary events, allowing us to see, hear, and feel the atmosphere of live entertainment without having to travel.
The metaverse has unquestionably arrived. See you inside!