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The metaverse: Reshaping of the market for digital communication

Development of internet-based communication is accelerating, and while it is clear that the market will undergo major changes, there is uncertainty regarding the enduring changes: continued dominance by a handful of actors, or greater decentralisation. As for development of blockchain technology, it is even more clear that many of today’s actors in the financial sector will encounter great challenges.

Two concepts that are often cited in discussions on development of digital communication are the metaverse and Web 3.0. The metaverse refers to a network of three-dimensional virtual worlds in which individuals interact. Web 3.0 is a broader concept referring to the evolution of the internet.

Of major future significance is also the development of blockchain technology, which make it possible to register, certify and show who owns a particular asset. This thereby facilitates registration of ownership changes. It is a development that will reduce the need for many of the services that are today offered in the financial market, and many actors in the market will thereby encounter new challenges.

There are various scenarios that show how the prevailing development may impact the market as a whole. It remains to be seen whether the metaverse is a development that will take place on most platforms or whether it will create an entirely new infrastructure. Similarly, it is uncertain whether the internet will become more decentralised, or whether major platform companies will continue to dominate it.

Development in the video game market – where video game companies are at the forefront of virtual 3D experiences – may provide an indication of how the rest of the market may develop. A consolidation of the market is under way, where mid-sized companies are acquiring smaller ones and market leaders are aiming to further strengthen their positions mostly in mobile gaming.

One way to get some idea of which US companies have an exposure to the metaverse concept is to examine how many times the word is used in conjunction with the release of their quarterly earnings reports. From final quarter of 2020 to the third quarter of 2021, the software firm Unity Software used the term metaverse the most. Companies like Roblox and Meta/Facebook also rank at the top of the list, which indicates that the metaverse is a large element of their strategies.

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