Metaverse growth in 2022 will be driven by the enterprise and gaming markets, says GlobalData

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 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.”

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