Virtual reality (VR) is not a new concept. The term was popularized in science fiction many years ago, and had its first tangible debut as early as the 1950s. Great strides have been made in the space since, and now, it’s not uncommon to see a young person with a VR mask strapped to their face in public, interacting with their hands in a world hidden from the eyes of passersby. While the technology is still young, and admittedly unwieldy, its physical manifestations in the form of VR entertainment products are becoming less important.
More significant are developments being accomplished in these VR worlds themselves. Industries have found exciting new applications for the technology, like the use of flight simulators to help commercial pilots train for their eventual debut, virtual environments for detailed scientific study, and more. In the quest to separate itself from the basest of applications, VR has found an able partner in blockchain. Another new advancement made in recent years, blockchain had little to do with VR initially. However, the two are becoming more familiar with each other by the day. In fact, the combination of blockchain and VR is likely to be a very mutually beneficial relationship.
Using VR to Market to Millennials
Blockchain will help VR to uncover new functions that move it further from being considered a novelty, and closer to a practical tool for business. In turn, VR will help those ideas operating on blockchain to achieve wider reach and greater accessibility. As the two worlds collide, the millennials already embracing the VR market are uniquely positioned to drive further innovations while increasingly moving their interests into the virtual realm. Here is the new frontier for small and medium-sized firms looking to capture this young audience.
Millennials in New Worlds
Crucial to the longevity of any new trend are millennials, a coveted target market for businesses around the world. As these youngsters become increasingly relevant to the bottom line, companies are employing a mixture of VR and expansive blockchain capabilities to capture their attention. Thanks to them, the videogame industry is one of the world’s largest. It has grown exponentially in the decades since Atari and other simple consoles, now boasting billions in annual sales. This industry was built largely on the buying power of the world’s youth. There are few things that draw in millennials more effectively than a new world to play in, so it’s no surprise that VR has been folded into the videogaming industry from the beginning.
Like single player games moved to multiplayer split-screen, which eventually moved online when the internet hit, blockchain is helping VR evolve as well. Decentraland for instance, is using blockchain to build a single virtual world, and create a unique opportunity for businesses to reach this world’s many denizens directly. This virtual environment built on Ethereum harnesses the transparency and immutability of the blockchain to offer irrefutable virtual property rights within the world’s land and attractions.
Decentraland has already auctioned off a healthy portion of this virtual world during the initial terraforming event, which saw investors deposit cryptocurrency to claim their corner of Genesis City – the main urban hub. Developer tools will provide participants with the ability to build whatever they like on their property (within certain limitations), and monetize it for other inhabitants to use. Millennials will likely be a majority presence in this world, both because of their affinity for cryptocurrency and massively multiplayer environments. Accordingly, small and medium-sized businesses will have one of the first ever chances to open a virtual storefront in Decentraland, catering to this pioneering population.
Small Business Deals
Firms with a penchant for innovative marketing tactics will be able to deploy parts of their budgets to buy land in Genesis City or the outskirts of town, where player communities are already planning themed areas and havens like Casino World. An enterprising gambling company, for example, can hire developers to build their ideal casino here, complete with prizes, cryptocurrency slots and live card tables for virtual gamers. As millennials interact less via their screens and keyboards, and more with the tools built for them in places like Decentraland, businesses across industries have an opportunity to increase their exposure.
Dealing in Virtual Goods
While Decentraland offers businesses one outlet to reach the millennial market, there will need to be more infrastructure to support the exchange of other virtual ideas for their benefit. As millennial audiences move in greater numbers to VR, and innovations continually hit the market, businesses looking to make an entry into the space need a way to quantify the young industry’s interest.
Solutions like Matryx use the blockchain for just such a purpose. The ability for any blockchain ledgers to securely share information with a public community, while still maintaining intellectual property rights, is crucial. When new developments are made in the VR space (or any industry for that matter), developers and other creatives can upload their progress to Matryx to ask for input, share their ideas, and help other network participants. This has especially strong applications for STEM field researchers, who have a lot to gain from increased collaboration, but must also be wary of those who would piggyback on their work without proper credit. For entertainment industries, this secure sharing functionality will have important implications as well.
On the Matryx platform, a small business with big ambitions for the VR space can upload their digitized plans and their progress to the blockchain, with their unique data attributed to them explicitly. Other developers and businesses can use these assets in their own designs and pay with MTX (Matryx’s token) for the privilege. Developers can create bounties in MTX for their peers who might be able to crack a tricky coding problem. Such a mutually beneficial ecosystem helps drive innovation, exposing more concepts to a wider audience while preserving credit for these ideas with their original owner. Furthermore, it encourages industries far and wide to pile into the VR space due to the ease with which data fits onto the blockchain and the value of blockchain users as a target audience.
A Virtually Guaranteed Audience
With new trends pushing more millennials and the businesses that serve them into virtual environments, attracting new customers could prove to be like shooting fish in a barrel. Companies who use the tools supplied by this evolving marketplace can bring customers directly into their virtual stores. Instead of competing with the saturated advertising space of the physical world, targeting millennials in the environments they already inhabit will prove both affordable and efficient.
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