The Metaverse is the new buzzword on everyone’s lips. Especially since Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of social network company Facebook, announced that it was building its own version of the metaverse in late 2021 (you can watch that infamous presentation of the future of his company here).
Since then, the search term “Metaverse” has exploded with people around the world wanting to find out more about what it is exactly, and how they can possibly capitalise on the future of the internet.
Various forms of the metaverse have been around for years, with probably the first being the online game Second Life where players could create avatars, explore different digital worlds inside the game and interact with real people (or their avatars) living virtual lives.
The long and short of the metaverse is that it is the evolution of online experiences and the internet as we know it today. It is a collective project about building experiences in virtual reality.
Today we interact with the internet on devices; in the metaverse we’ll be able to interact with and experience the internet by being immersed inside its various virtual worlds.
It truly is the future of the internet.
So what does the metaverse mean for real estate?
Right now there are various metaverses you can start exploring, and depending on how many users adopt a specific one and spend time in one, will determine their viability and opportunities in future.
One metaverse which already has a large and active user base is The Sandbox.
Inside this metaverse, players can purchase NFTs, attend live concerts and buy virtual land.
It’s here where the opportunities lie for real estate.
Imagine being able to purchase an a piece of virtual space for $3600, which allows you to own a plot of land in this metaverse.
Now, there are 2 possible outcomes here.
- You buy the land and nothing happens. People don’t play this metaverse enough to make it worth your while owning virtual land, so you could end up losing your investment.
- You purchase a piece of virtual land and people spend more and more time inside this metaverse. This means that whatever you develop on your piece of virtual land can become popular and will see players pay you to experience what you’re selling or buy NFTs from your shop.
Choosing the right metaverse is key: choose to invest in the wrong one, and you stand to lose your investment; choose the right one and be one of the fortunate few who can grow their earning potential.
How is property bought in the metaverse?
In the metaverse, you can purchase a virtual space. This could be anything from a small plot of land to a large estate. Some metaverses have only cryptocurrency as an accepted currency and some metaverses allow cash purchases.
You can either bid on a piece of land, or buy it outright. Your purchase is also owned by you on the blockchain so it cannot be stolen or expropriated.
Once you own the metaverse property, you can either rent it out to others or build on the land yourself. One way to make metaverse properties even more valuable is to build on them: you can build a store, experiences like video games, an event space, or even a home for yourself to rest in and invite your friends to hang out in virtual reality.
When deciding on which piece of land to purchase, you can see what other businesses or experiences are located near your land.
If these other virtual landowners create amazing experiences where players like to hang out, you can benefit from and capitalise on their traffic!
In The Sandbox, video games creator Atari, The Walking Dead and The Smurfs have already purchased their land. Getting as close to them as possible means you potentially benefit from players visiting their experiences too!
How do real estate agencies benefit from metaverse properties?
The interesting thing is that the very same real estate fundamentals exist in the metaverse’s virtual worlds as they do in the physical world: location, scarcity, demand, experiences…
And just like every physical town/city/development, demand from buyers to live there dictates profits and loss for investors and owners.
The way I see the real estate agent’s role in these virtual worlds will be to know who is investing in specific pieces of digital land before the general public knows, so that you can assist buyers with getting in early and while the price is low.
You will also need new skills to assist sellers in the various virtual worlds with the negotiation of their digital land sales/rentals.
This 15 minute video sums it up and shows you exactly what is already happening in the metaverse, and how it applies to real estate.
So if you have some spare time and want to be at the top of the curve (as opposed to the bottom), give it a watch and see exactly what opportunities exist now for virtual reality early adopters and the different metaverse iterations.
I’m interested to know what you have explored about metaverse-related technology and virtual reality technology, and what opportunities you see for real estate professionals in general.
How do you think our virtual lives will interact with our physical experiences in the near future?