For business, the metaverse carries wide implications for an era of virtual commerce. While exciting, it also creates urgency to close the digital divide.
An article by Media.Monks’ Catherine Henry in Campaign US draws this argument out in relation to the video game industry.
Social games like Animal Crossing, Roblox and Fortnite allow people to connect virtually. The same skills and tools required to make games are used to build a broader category of virtual experiences, like extended reality and product configurators.
“It’s amazing to see games become more inclusive,” Henry writes in a separate article posted to LinkedIn. “An industry once dominated by competitive and violent first-person shooting games has given way to narratives and experiences focused less on killing and more on building This has allowed more people to explore their individual interests within the gaming world.”
READ MORE: Don’t Hate the Player, Hate the Game (LinkedIn)
This shift has also helped players form more authentic in-game identities. Henry points out that The Sims made marriage available to same-sex couples long before many US states. Now, The Sims has settings to customize gender outside the traditional binary.
“Simple yet effective features like these help people of all kinds see themselves in the games they play,” she says. “The pool of players is noticeably growing as more diverse groups join.”
Forty five percent of gamers in the US today are women (per Statistica), and LGBTQ+ gamers spend 8% more time gaming per month than others, according to a recent Nielsen report.
READ MORE: U.S. video gamer gender statistics 2021 (Statista)
READ MORE: 10 Percent of Gamers are LGBTQ+ Nielsen Study Shows (Out)
Yet, as Henry tells Bloomberg Law, “There won’t be true inclusivity until diverse teams can create digital experiences — not just consume them. Gaming remains exclusive to diverse developers. Activision Blizzard, the largest video game publisher in the US and Europe, is the latest to come under fire to come under fire for creating unwelcome environments for those who aren’t straight, white men.”
NAVIGATING THE METAVERSE:
The metaverse may be a wild frontier, but here at NAB Amplify we’ve got you covered! Hand-selected from our archives, here are some of the essential insights you’ll need to expand your knowledge base and confidently explore the new horizons ahead:
- What Is the Metaverse and Why Should You Care?
- Avatar to Web3: An A-Z Compendium of the Metaverse
- The Metaverse is Coming To Get You. Is That a Bad Thing?
- Don’t Expect the Metaverse to Happen Overnight
- A Framework for the Metaverse from Hardware to Hollywood and Everything in Between
READ MORE: Activision Blizzard Sued Over ‘Frat Boy’ Culture, Harassment (Bloomberg Law)
As the metaverse opens more opportunities for people to design, build and distribute virtual products or communities, businesses must solve the digital divide for creators and developers.
“Supporting digital talent goes beyond hiring. We need to help underserved creatives access the technology needed to hone digital skills, which often requires prohibitively expensive tools. I’m optimistic that the metaverse will enable a positive environment for digital self-actualization. But it’s only possible if we make that space inviting for everyone.
“Otherwise, we risk shutting out a significant cohort from the new world economy.”