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Metaverses Fall Short Of Expectations, Survey Shows

New VR-centric study from Gartner shows the metaverse is far from global adoption

Photo by Micheal Ogungbe on Unsplash

Analyst firm Gartner has released a new study that shows metaverse platforms aren’t performing too well after all, despite the hype. The study titled, ‘Emerging Tech: Adopter Anti-patterns – Metaverse Use Cases Are Plagued by Low Adoption’ detailed two main issues that discourage users from adopting the nascent space such as:

  • VR use cases failing to live up to customer expectations for scale in non-gaming environments
  • Immersive meetings using avatars as a core metaverse feature is not yet compelling enough to create a sustainable metaverse experience

According to The Register, Gartner’s document is based on interviews with 52 metaverse providers and analysis of 170 adopter implementations affirming that early adopters of metaverses, “Are most frequently seeking ways to improve productivity or customer engagement or address marketing, brand and sales challenges.”

Gartner’s study shows that Generation Z, those born between 1996 and 2010, show a lack of enthusiasm for experiences in metaverses. Up to 85 per cent of this cohort is uninterested in brands operating in metaverses, and 43 per cent are avoiding the metaverse as they don’t understand the concept.

This perspective also comes as the post-pandemic reopenings prompt GenZers to embrace shopping in the physical world once more.

Privacy and security concerns

Users also complained about the physical discomfort that comes with VR experiences that make, “Virtual environments challenging for many users.” There are also concerns regarding privacy and security as well as the cost of VR hardware serving as a deterrent for many individuals.

According to the document, “Improvements to hardware, devices and VR collaboration software to mitigate these adverse reactions are still in an early experimental stage, with options varying by platform. Again, this limits scalability for such VR environments.”

The research firm also expresses concern over virtual experiences being isolated ecosystems, leading marketers to be cautious about the potential lack of significant contributions to the data they gather about customers and prospects.

“These are generally fun to experience and are fine to implement on a small scale, but they are distracting to implement in the long term,” said Gartner. “Furthermore, the long-term value of immersive meetings is as yet unproven, and they are not expected to fully replace traditional videoconferencing.”

The Ready Player One experience is still far off

Another concern revolves around the low fidelity of avatars, which can result in awkward or strange experiences.

“One particular issue concerns avatars – facial expression and recognition (key for clear communications) are not always well synced with the real person,” wrote Gartner analysts. “Syncing avatars’ lips, eye movements and facial expressions in real-time with the person embodying it is possible but depends on sophisticated hardware, which can get expensive.”

The document continues by adding that, “Immersive meetings are more expensive to implement,” emphasising that although the cost of head-mounted displays (HMDs) has reduced, adopting the hardware will require powerful computers as well as the additional cost of a videoconferencing service.

“It is questionable if immersive meetings will stay afloat in the next three to five years unless product leaders can pivot these experiences into more compelling ones with clear outcomes,” said the document.

Finally, Gartner suggests that prospective buyers should look beyond the hype of the metaverse and instead consider the tangible benefits they can gain from adopting these immersive technologies.

Written By

Isa Muhammad is a writer and video game journalist covering many aspects of entertainment media including the film industry. He's steadily writing his way to the sharp end of journalism and enjoys staying informed. If he's not reading, playing video games or catching up on his favourite TV series, then he's probably writing about them.

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