The State of the Game
The Gaming industry provides some important foundational concepts and traits that are emerging as “must have’s” in the Metaverse. — This includes assuming personas with custom avatars and virtual “wearables”, ecosystems that support cryptocurrency-based transactions using NFTs and custom utility tokens, and even hosting and facilitating live events, gallery showings, concerts, and mixed reality experiences. Virtual worlds, quite different from how we appreciate the “real” world. We are now seeing businesses accessing the projected full Metaverse capabilities with connections in virtual worlds. Connections supporting both personal and professional interactions and conducting commerce in real and virtual worlds.
Variations in Metaverse implementations range from simple to complex. From digitizing an image of the real world to converging the physical and virtual worlds. PwC projects the Metaverse market opportunity to go from $45.5 billion in 2019 to $1.5 trillion in 2030. This market offers potential for the financial services industry:
- New market for value-added financial services.
- Enhanced delivery mechanisms for existing services.
- New payment infrastructure for transactions in virtual worlds.
- Defi for staking, decentralized exchanges (swaps), and liquidity pools.
- Play to earn features within games rewarding players with cryptocurrency/tokens.
Still to be determined is whether financial services can take advantage of virtual opportunities engaging customers beyond a brick and mortar and/or smartphone experience.
Financial services pioneers have been using AR/VR to gain a foothold and understanding of the value proposition afforded by the Metaverse.
- eBankIT – 2015 implementation of augmented reality to bring printed materials to life on mobile applications.
- Proptech Firms – 2017 applying virtual reality for virtual tours of existing and planned properties.
- Bank of America – 2021 launch of VR training for 4300 branch personnel in client relationships, difficult conversation navigation and empathetic listening complemented with artificial intelligence coaching.
Visionaries and Fintech companies have pursued Metaverse opportunities:
- EToro – launches an investment platform educating investors and an investment service for leading virtual worlds, cryptocurrency, blockchain and Metaverse enabling technologies.
- Kookmin Bank – created a “virtual town” with spaces for branches, public relations, recruitment, and social/relaxation.
- Lynx – building an inclusive digital economy enabling existing financial services (money transfers) and an on-ramp to gain confidence in advanced Metaverse capabilities (play to earn).
When polled in the Fall of 2021, financial institution leaders see 1 out of 5 using AR/VR for completing daily transactions, going beyond gaming.
The future holds a two-fold challenge. First, how to use Metaverse capabilities to enhance the customer experience for existing financial services and find the right level of convergence between the “real” world and virtual worlds. Second, based on Metaverse’s evolution, financial services providers are positioning for supporting novel payment systems and other ancillary services totally within the Metaverse.
Extending What We Know:
- Interactive teller machines extended VR support
- 7 x 24 customer service regardless of customer location
- Virtual branches delivering personalized customer service
Virtual Services in Virtual Worlds
- Metaverse mortgages for purchasing virtual real estate
- Digital shopping hubs support for all virtual transaction types
- Visual assessment of financial scenarios and risks in environment specific to customer’s risk profile
- Explore global assets without leaving a virtual space
- Decentralized Finance
- Play to Earn (tokens/rewards)
Traditional banking business models’ disruption is occurring due to blockchain, cryptocurrency, and crypto assets decentralized finance protocols. Add to this Goldman Sachs projecting digital economy transitioning to the Metaverse with growth estimated at $8.0 trillion. We could ponder how soon this is going to happen and consider that it took 20 years and a pandemic for eCommerce to become 20% of retail sales. Regardless of which forecast one uses, the numbers are of sufficient magnitude that even if they are 50% correct, the Metaverse warrants thoughtful consideration in any financial services business strategy.
Achieving these forecasted market projections, will rely on Metaverse delivering its promise on:
- Enabling virtual personal and professional interaction
- Virtual training for customers and financial services professionals
- Enhancing existing services with the application of Metaverse capabilities
- Creation of novel payment systems and banking services existing within the virtual worlds
The end game being balancing the roles of existing services, Metaverse enhanced services, and Metaverse specific services for virtual worlds. Early Metaverse acceptance can be fueled by using virtual world capabilities to enhance existing services with thoughtful extension into the Metaverse. As with any new, new thing, success will depend on the impact on business outcomes.
Are you game? Yalo has over 20 years of experience with financial services marketing, and top-notch interactive & IT development and virtual reality skills as well. Allow us to help your financial institution stay up-to-date with user experiences and the joys of banking in the Digital Age. Start a conversation with us below!