We all know the saying, “Buy land, they aren’t making any more of it!” It’s the uniqueness of land and the improvements on it that make it valuable and may make it increase in value as it becomes more highly prized, or as inflation takes hold. Well, not so fast. Now we have the Metaverse and the face off between Metaverse versus real Real Estate will be interesting.
What is the Metaverse?
The metaverse exists, not as a piece of planet earth, but as electronic zeroes and ones dependent on data storage and electricity. It is not limited to a specific, albeit enormous, supply of land, but on the nearly boundless amounts of data storage available on the cloud. By definition, the metaverse has no real physical limits other than human imagination and computing power. For a time, there have been actual virtual stores on the internet where you can buy things, like sneakers for your avatar (the ’you’ you create to represent yourself on your computer; adopted from the Hindu word for a vision of an out of body soul). Now you can buy virtual real estate. There were $500-million in virtual real estate transactions in 2021.
Virtual Real Estate Platforms
Roblox is a software developer and a platform that accommodates virtual real estate among other things. Another platform is Decentraland, which describes itself thus, “From conference or commercial spaces, to art galleries, to family homes and hangout spots, Metaverse Properties offers land in premium locations for individuals, enterprises and institutions” Its most expensive piece of virtual real estate is now listed for $3.5-million.
Now, an application for the metaverse that is, well, more down to earth, is in video conferencing and working remotely, even a virtual headquarters. Perhaps instead of the now traditional zoom call, you have an elaborate virtual conference room, with the participants wearing Virtual Reality goggles, but participating from different locations.
3D Virtual Collaborative Workspaces
Mark Heschmeyer of CoStar News said, “Some early adopters are moving to a virtual landscape where 3D manifestations of employees are created to move around, interact with one another and collaborate on projects.” In other words, you have a virtual collaborative workspace so employees get the immersion, energy and cross-talk of a normal office, but are really in different locations – maybe in neighborhoods near the office, or on another continent. Major companies that are experimenting with virtual workplaces include McDonald’s, Samsung, Walmart and L’Oreal. Tokens.com Corp., a Canadian company that works with cryptocurrencies, opened up its own virtual office and event space in Crypto Valley located in Decentraland’s 3D virtual world.
The CEO said, “We are in the process of signing leases and rental agreements for digital advertising and event hosting in the tower.” One aspect of this is to hire and retain younger highly tech-oriented employees that are as comfortable in the gaming world as they are the real world. However, I think it will be a long time before the metaverse becomes the killer of traditional office and retail space. But then, 150 years ago, would you have been an early adopter of electricity?