Tech titans will begin competing for metaverse market dominance in 2022 and non-tech brands will continue to explore how metaverses could deliver operational improvements, according to GlobalData.
In its latest report, ‘Tech, Media, & Telecom Predictions 2022’, the leading data and analytics company reveals that gaming and commercial uses will spur growth but concerns over data privacy and regulatory crackdowns in China will act as a brake.
Looking towards 2022, Emma Taylor, Thematic Analyst at GlobalData, offers her view:
Gaming will be an ideal starting point
“In 2022, gaming companies will invest in the metaverse to expand their already substantial user base to create even wider communities. Niantic, known for augmented reality (AR) game Pokemon Go, and Fortnite developer Epic Games will launch early versions of their metaverse platforms, while other large game publishers such as EA and Tencent will begin to develop their own. These are likely to not be that dissimilar to the worlds developed in games already, but may offer higher levels of emersion and interoperability.
“Unity and Epic Games will compete to become the preferred engine provider for metaverse development as they are leaders in terms of technology and investment. This will be a key indicator of early metaverse market domination.”
Enterprises will be a metaverse key frontier
“Enterprises will become a prime market for metaverse developers in 2022. New use cases will emerge such as training, factory optimization and collaborative working as Nvidia, Microsoft, Meta, and HTC strengthen their metaverse capabilities.
“Start-ups will also develop specific solutions around data visualization, collaboration, and training. These will likely be snapped up by larger players through mergers and acquisitions (M&As) deals. Startups such as Varjo, which is creating cutting-edge VR technology essential for the metaverse, will be key targets for acquisition”
Data privacy will come to the fore
“The use of AR, virtual reality (VR), and adverts in metaverses will bring data privacy concerns to the foreground. Although providers will adopt ‘privacy by design’ — whereby privacy issues are addressed throughout a technology’s development, embedding it into the design — to appease regulators, the metaverse will still be a fertile ground for violations. Develops may rush to appease regulators, which can result in minimal protection and just become a box-ticking exercise.”
Regulators will stunt metaverse growth in China
“China is a potentially lucrative market for the metaverse because of its tech savy population and wide potential user base. Tencent have already registered almost a hundred metaverse-related trademark applications including ‘QQ Metaverse’, ‘QQ Music Metaverse’ and ‘Kings Metaverse’. Key players such as Tencent and Alibaba will continue to file for metaverse-related trademarks based on their existing platforms and start commercializing some of these in 2022.
“However, the ongoing regulatory crackdown on Chinese tech companies will initially hinder the growth of the metaverse as government announcements will initially deter investment. We do expect investment from Chinese companies to increase gradually overall as they will not want to be seen to be behind on the world stage.
“Media coverage of the metaverse exploded in 2021, with some anointing it as the next incarnation of the internet, however in reality, the metaverse will not reach its final form for several more years.”
Gaming Market Overview
The global gaming market was valued at USD 173.70 billion in 2020, and it is expected to reach a value of USD 314.40 billion by 2026, registering a CAGR of 9.64% over 2021-2026. Due to nationwide lockdown, people stay home, and some turn to game platforms to pass the time. These platforms are attracting more than hundreds and thousands of new visitors in online traffic. Video gaming trends have experienced a massive surge in players and revenue recently. Companies like Microsoft, Nintendo, Twitch, and Activision have all reached new heights in player investment. In April 2020, Microsoft reported that subscribers to Xbox Game Pass, a Netflix-like subscription service, topped 10 million. Among those subscribers, Microsoft also reported a 130-percent increase in multiplayer engagement across March and April.
- Cloud gaming is an emerging technology across the industry that allows users to stream high-end games across hand-held devices, such as laptops, tablets, and mobiles, with fast network connectivity, eliminating the need for a dedicated gaming console/PC.
- Cloud gaming services are focused on leveraging hyper-scale cloud capabilities, global content delivery networks, and streaming media services to build the next generation of social entertainment platforms. Such factors have an anticipated positive impact on market growth.
- 5G is also driving the mobile-based VR gaming market. For instance, in May 2020, Archiact announced its partnership with Migu (a subsidiary of telecom provider China Mobile) for Archiact’s games that would be the first VR games to be playable via Migu’s 5G cloud gaming platform, named Migu Quick Gaming. Also, by partnering with Migu, Archiact states that it can work together to build the future of 5G VR cloud gaming, making VR even more accessible.
- Moreover, the increasing applications of immersive technologies, such as virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality, are anticipated to be a cornerstone in the gaming industry. Companies such as BigScreenVR and AltspaceVR are some of the prominent players in this segment.
- According to NewGenApps, by 2025, AR and VR games’ global user base is estimated to increase to 216 million users. According to a worldwide survey of technology company executives, startup founders, and investors, 59% of the respondents believe that gaming will dominate the investment directed to the development of VR (Virtual Reality) technology.
- Some of the market’s prominent vendors are also focusing on expanding their product portfolio, releasing new games and consoles in the market in multiple formats. For instance, Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) announced the PC port of its 2017 release, Horizon Zero Dawn, and confirmed the release of Death Stranding on PC post its PS4 premiere. Sony also unveiled the PlayStation 5, which features an enhanced controller and visual capabilities to improve the User experience.