When Meta Platforms (
While some big tech names are still betting big on the metaverse, the reality hasn't caught up to the hype ... yet. So, what exactly is the metaverse, and what are the potential investing implications?
Enter the metaverse
Some tech prognosticators think the metaverse is the next evolution of the internet—a 3D model of the internet. It has also been characterized as Internet 3.0 (with Internet 1.0 being the early desktop iteration in the 1990s and Internet 2.0 being the mobile/social networking revolution in the 2000s).
Components of the metaverse already exist—think virtual reality, social networking, and online gaming, to name a few. The metaverse can generally be thought of as combining all these experiences and more, in a deeper, immersive virtual reality, with a seemingly infinite number of users synchronously and persistently interacting.
Wall Street had previously been optimistic about the metaverse. Citi estimated that the metaverse economy could reach $8 trillion to $13 trillion by 2030.* Goldman Sachs pegged the metaverse at having a potential value of $12.5 trillion. But after Meta Reality Labs lost $14 billion in 2022, that enthusiasm has waned somewhat.
Metaverse investments are primarily concentrated in the communication services and information technology sectors, and a host of industries and businesses in these sectors will be crucial to building out the metaverse. These include:
- Gaming technology and software. The metaverse will need an expansive ecosystem of digital gaming options to provide increasingly immersive experiences.
- Smartphone and wearable tech. Smartphones, fitness bands, watches, earbuds, and glasses will be the connection points between the physical world and metaverse.
- Digital infrastructure. High-capacity IT infrastructure, such as data centers (and edge data centers), will be crucial.
- Web development and content services. Platforms or tools for cross-platform development are needed to enable real-time communications, web development, and online media streaming to evolve the internet.
- Design and engineering software. 3D computer-aided design, mapping information systems, and multimedia design software will be needed to construct virtual realities.
- Computing hardware and components. Multimedia, general analog, and mixed-signal semiconductors are needed to produce technologies that expand computing power to create immersive virtual reality experiences.
Could the metaverse join the growing list of disruptors that have fundamentally altered both our way of life as well as the investing landscape?
Of course, most or all of the investing risks associated with other categories of stocks exist for disruptive opportunities like those linked to the metaverse. You should do your due diligence on any individual stock, fund, or other investment to fully understand its characteristics and risks. Disruptive investments may also carry some unique characteristics to evaluate. For example, in some cases disruptors may exhibit higher-than-average levels of volatility, as investors may have differing opinions on the near-term prospects for these industry-changing companies. Also, the forecasts made by Wall Street hinge on widespread adoption of the metaverse, which is uncertain.
With that said, if it aligns with your strategy and objectives, the metaverse could provide opportunities with the potential to change our reality.