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Our Favorite Virtual Activations of 2023

21‏/12‏/2023

Callum Moates

In 2022, web3, the metaverse rapidly evolved, with nearly every brand clamoring to make its mark in the growing space. Following that period, 2023 has been a strange year for the metaverse. The initial hype surrounding it had subsided due to events like the slowdown in the crypto space and the collapse of FTX. However, certain brands didn't turn their back on the metaverse and continued investing in its potential due to the real, practical utility digital spaces offer. While the allure of the metaverse in 2022 was driven by hype, 2023 brought a more pragmatic view to utilizing the space. 

Educational institutions are creating immersive learning environments within the metaverse, healthcare organizations use it for risk-free medical training, and the real estate sector uses the space to offer virtual property tours. Besides this, brands find the immersive environment ideal for experimenting with pop-up stores, product launches, and brand activations, building new channels to market their brand and connect with customers. This variety of activations emerging in 2023 highlights the metaverse's potential as a versatile platform across different sectors, breaking off from its initial hype to find a more practical role.

Among the various successful virtual experiences in 2023, in no particular order, we've curated a list of our favorite metaverse activations.

  1. Puma

Puma has taken a significant leap into the metaverse by introducing Black Station 2, an expansion of its digital retail experience. This platform, evolving from the original Black Station launched during New York Fashion Week the previous year, bridges the digital and physical realms. It features two new, distinct worlds, Unkai and Unter, each offering a unique aesthetic inspired by the vibrant city of Shibuya and Berlin's underground club culture, respectively. The first footwear release in this new realm is the Fast-RB running shoe, which showcases Puma's cutting-edge running technologies.

While everyone can explore the metaverse space, only those who possess RB tokens distributed to Puma pass holders can purchase NFTs representing actual footwear still to be produced and other NFT collectibles. The launch of the activation marks its 75th anniversary and is a move to celebrate Puma’s heritage and growing footprint in the web3 space. Head of Web3 at Puma, Ivan Dashkov, highlights the brand's enthusiasm for bringing its community into these spaces, emphasizing the blend of traditional and modern retail approaches. With the inclusion of both credit card and cryptocurrency payment options, Black Station 2 is a testament to Puma's commitment to innovation and its pursuit of new and exciting opportunities.

  1. QVerse by Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways is pioneering in the airline industry with its innovative QVerse, a virtual reality experience that introduces passengers to its services before they fly. Featuring Sama, a MetaHuman cabin crew member, QVerse offers an immersive tour of the airline's facilities, including check-in areas, lounges, and the acclaimed Qsuite at the Hamad International Airport in Qatar. Developed using Epic Games' Unreal Engine and MetaHuman Creator, this platform represents a significant technological leap, aiming to enhance customer experience and decision-making. Despite challenges in accurately digitizing the physical customer journey, Qatar Airways envisions QVerse as a key player in the future of airline travel, potentially integrating VR headsets and customizable avatars. This initiative showcases Qatar Airways' commitment to innovation and signals a transformative shift in how the airline industry leverages virtual reality for customer engagement and service enhancement.

  1. NEOM

NEOM, Saudi Arabia’s megacity project, is taking a unique approach using the metaverse to shape its development. The project's tech and digital offshoot, TONOMUS, has announced XVRS, a ‘cognitive digital twin metaverse’ platform. This platform will allow visitors to experience NEOM physically and virtually, as avatars or holograms, and includes a marketplace for crypto and NFTs. A feature of XVRS is its ability to offer a virtual representation of NEOM, which will inform its real-world construction. This approach is like crowd-sourcing city design, where virtual visitors can influence aspects like apartment color schemes or even the construction of virtual buildings in reality.

Joseph Bradley, the chief executive of TONOMUS, highlights that this model allows for interaction with designs before they are completed, merging the physical and digital worlds in a way like never before. For instance, a virtual visitor from the US could virtually hike through NEOM's mountainous areas without leaving home, or an artist could display an NFT in a virtual space that also appears in a physical apartment in NEOM. This concept redefines urban spaces as "meta cities," focusing on collaborative, inclusive, and human-centric interaction.

  1. Gucci Town

Gucci Town on Roblox is a unique digital space to learn about Gucci's heritage, express your individuality, and connect with people globally. This journey into the metaverse is led by Vault, creating a permanent spot on Roblox named Gucci Town. It's designed as a piazza, a traditional open-air gathering space to encourage a sense of community. Gucci Town features a mini game, Vault Plaza, Creative Corner to experience art, Power-up Place to meet and interact, and the Gucci Shop. Visitors can buy digital Gucci items and limited edition wearables for their Roblox avatars in the Gucci Shop. These spaces are regularly updated, offering immersive experiences that bring Gucci's vision to life in a narrative that's both experienced and played. Players can also earn GG Gems, the experience’s in-game currency, to use within games or purchase items.

  1. Ministère Des Armées

The French Armed Forces Ministry ventured into the metaverse to engage young, talented recruits aged 18-35. With Landvault's help, they created an experience in Decentraland featuring a virtual training course with various themed outposts. Each outpost presented unique challenges, including gamified elements like videos, non-player characters (NPCs), and interactive quizzes. Completing these challenges unlocked exclusive wearables and a recruitment link, offering an innovative approach to exploring job opportunities within the ministry. A leaderboard added a competitive edge, rewarding top performers with a camouflage suit wearable. This virtual experience, launched in September, has seen over 45,000 unique sessions, 600 wearables redeemed, and significant engagement.

  1. Sharjah Archeology in the metaverse

The Sharjah Archaeology Authority (SAA) launched ‘Sharjah Archaeology in the Metaverse’ at GITEX Global 2023. It's a pioneering project in the region that integrates artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR) within the metaverse. This initiative, aligning with Sharjah's commitment to advanced academic and cultural content, features The Archaeology Centre and the Jabal Khatm Al Melaha Archaeological Trail.

The Archaeology Centre serves as a virtual repository for Sharjah's significant archaeological treasures, offering visitors an immersive experience to interact with and examine these artifacts in detail. The Jabal Khatm Al Melaha Archaeological Trail provides a virtual tour of over 120 Neolithic rock inscriptions, allowing users to explore ancient engravings and gain insights into the lives of the people who created them. This project highlights Sharjah's rich heritage and cultural diversity and emphasizes the importance of preserving and sharing human cultural heritage through cutting-edge technology.

  1. LUSH

LUSH aimed to transform their 2023 SXSW house into an immersive virtual experience accessible to all. Landvault supported LUSH to create a gamified digital twin in Decentraland, featuring a dancefloor, quests, branded wearables, and a hunt for hidden Bath Bombs. This project was built on a 2x2 parcel in Decentraland, offering a fully branded experience that aligns with LUSH's progressive values and stance on digital ethics. The activation helped visitors learn about LUSH products through quests designed with excellent user experience and also allowed them to earn rewards. The activation was well received, with the branded wearables receiving high engagement.

  1. Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton has made a significant entry into the NFT market with its $42,000 phygital trunk, marking a blend of the brand's heritage and modern digital innovation. This first in-house NFT project transforms the iconic LV treasure trunk into a digital asset, offering a limited number of tokens that grant owners exclusive access to future products, events, and experiences, establishing them as members of an elite virtual cohort. A notable feature of this venture is the use of non-transferable tokens, aiming to attract true brand enthusiasts while deterring speculative trading. This strategic move into the NFT space by Louis Vuitton not only caters to the luxury market but also potentially reignites global interest in NFTs, proving that NFT technology is not just for digital art but can be used as a valuable marketing tool by brands.

Conclusion

The virtual activations in 2023 reveal that private sector brands and companies are not the only ones who recognize the metaverse’s potential, and there is a growing interest in its application for governments across the globe. Luxury fashion brands, athletic footwear, and apparel companies like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Puma are strengthening their foundations in the metaverse space by continuously adding new activations. On the other hand, government projects like Sharjah Archaeology Authority’s (SAA) virtual experiences to advance cultural content, the French Army’s activation to attract recruits, and NEOM’s digital twin to build a smart city, highlight the variety of use cases the 3D internet offers to advance a nation’s development. 3D elements will undoubtedly influence the next generation of the web, and learning how best to develop in this space will be crucial for brands and public organizations.

Are you looking to build immersive experiences in the 3D world? We can help you build, scale, and monetize your creation in the metaverse. Get in touch with us!

21‏/12‏/2023

Callum Moates

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to create a richer, fairer internet.

Copyright ©️ 2023 Landvault

Wam Group All rights reserved

We build infrastructure for the 3D internet,
to create a richer, fairer internet.

Copyright ©️ 2023 · Landvault · Wam Group · All rights reserved

We build infrastructure for the 3D internet,
to create a richer, fairer internet.

Copyright ©️ 2023 · Landvault · Wam Group · All rights reserved