Jul 4, 2023
The metaverse, or the 3D internet, is a virtual world where individuals can explore, interact, and engage in various activities. It has gained strong interest and speculation. While the metaverse offers endless entertainment, socialization, and business opportunities, it has also found its way into fitness and sports. As technology advances, integrating fitness and sports into the metaverse has opened up exciting avenues for individuals to enhance their physical well-being, compete with others, and push the boundaries of what is possible in the virtual world. This article explores the fascinating intersection of fitness, sports, and the metaverse, highlighting the transformative impact it can have on our physical health, social connections, and how we experience athletic endeavors.
What is the future of fitness in the metaverse?
The future of fitness in the metaverse holds immense potential and is poised to revolutionize how we approach exercise and health. Fortune Business Insights estimates that the Virtual reality (VR) gaming industry will soar from $7.92 billion in 2021 to an impressive $53.44 billion by 2028, driven greatly by increased applications of VR-enabled fitness in the metaverse. This virtual world will help meet the changing needs of fitness consumers by cultivating exercise routines that promote a combination of health and entertainment.
Here are a few trends that will shape the future of fitness in the metaverse:
Immersive virtual workouts
The world of fitness technology has the potential to transform workouts into truly immersive activities with virtual reality headsets. Users can find themselves enveloped in breathtaking 360-degree landscapes of their choice, accompanied by background music encouraging physical activity. For instance, an individual could be mountain biking through the picturesque trails of Colorado or jogging along the sun-kissed beaches of Hawaii using VR technology.
Online fitness routines and virtual workouts have increased in popularity since the COVID-19 pandemic. Research Dive projects virtual training to skyrocket, reaching $59,650 million by 2027. Businesses now focus on online fitness technology services that grant consumers greater autonomy in accessing fitness sessions. Companies like ClassPass and FitnessOnDemand are key players leading in the industry.
Transforming exercise into entertainment through technology and gamification has enabled companies to entice even the most sedentary individuals into engaging in physical activity. Like traditional video games, these fitness games leverage captivating storylines to capture users' interest. A prime example is Dustland Runner, a blockchain game where players are ‘dust runners’ tasked with retrieving and delivering mysterious contraband in a post-apocalyptic desert inhabited by bandits and monsters.
'Move to earn' model
Some fitness technology games go beyond entertainment value by offering in-game tokens and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) as rewards for accomplishing various in-game missions and incentivizing physical activity. Take OliveX, a mobile blockchain game that requires users to run specific distances in the real world while holding their smartphones to earn virtual assets such as NFTs and DOSE tokens after completing tasks. Players can use these rewards to level up within the games or trade them on cryptocurrency and NFT marketplaces.
How big is the metaverse fitness market?
The metaverse is well-positioned to create exciting opportunities for fitness enthusiasts to engage in diverse physical activities using augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies. The 3D internet fitness market is expected to reach $6.57 billion by the end of 2023 and is predicted to grow by 35.28% from 2023 to 2030, according to 'Metaverse Health and Fitness' data published by Statista Market Insights. The research also highlights that the number of users in this market is estimated to reach 182 million by 2030. Currently, the user penetration of virtual fitness in the metaverse stands at around 0.7% in 2023 and is expected to rise to approximately 2.2% by 2030. Research conducted by Accenture in 2023 also reveals that 60% of consumers desire to use the 3D internet to work out at home, with higher inclinations from younger consumers.
Big brands and emerging startups are exploring the metaverse fitness market to meet evolving consumer needs. Some move-to-earn companies like STEPN reward users for exercising with cryptocurrency. Alternatively, a growing number of virtual workout companies like Supernatural use VR headsets to transport individuals to extravagant locations to enhance the workout experience.
What does the metaverse mean for sports?
In the 3D internet, sports enthusiasts will have the opportunity to gather virtually using their personalized avatars. They can participate in various sporting activities, purchase and display fan merchandise of their beloved clubs, interact with fellow fans, celebrate sports events, and watch games and matches.
Through the implementation of multi-view camera technology, spectators can immerse themselves in action by virtually entering the field. They can walk alongside the players, join the cheerleaders, and experience the game from different viewpoints.
Moreover, the 3D internet eliminates geographical and physical barriers, allowing fans from around the globe to convene in a metaverse stadium and enjoy events like the Superbowl. It enables friends to gather virtually in the same room and share the excitement of sports events, regardless of their physical location.
Although it may seem ambitious, the 3D internet is already making significant strides in the sports industry. The Manchester City soccer club made a major move, announcing its plans to virtually recreate the renowned Etihad Stadium within the metaverse. This groundbreaking project will enable fans to watch matches live without physically attending the stadium, showcasing the 3D internet’s potential to transform the sports industry.
How the metaverse will change sports
New opportunities for athletes
In the metaverse, athletes will have a level playing field to compete through advanced technology and an inclusive environment. Zwift, a massive multiplayer online cycling and running program, allows players to connect and engage in competitive sports virtually. The platform recently introduced a hand-cycling category that will enable athletes suffering from disabilities to compete with non-disabled athletes. The 3D internet also allows for immersive training for athletes; for instance, Formula One drivers can utilize VR goggles to simulate the race track experience before an upcoming event to familiarize themselves with the course layout enabling them to prepare for the race in a highly realistic and immersive manner.
New ways to connect with fans
Through immersive experiences in the metaverse, athletes can connect with their followers in ways that transcend traditional boundaries. They can participate in virtual events, interact with fans in real-time, and monetize their brand through virtual merchandise and tokens. For example, the NBA has launched its "NBAxNFT" Twitter and Discord channels, establishing its official Web3 community. It uses the channel to combine basketball with NFTs, gaming, and the 3D internet to drive fan engagement.
New ways to consume sports content
The metaverse revolutionizes the sports experience for fans, going beyond simply watching matches on a screen. With immersive technologies like AR and VR, fans become active participants, going beyond passive viewership. For instance, race fans could explore every nook of a Formula 1 car and feel the exhilaration of driving around the iconic Circuit de Monaco in Monte Carlo. Through haptic clothing, they can even sense the vibrations of the track as they race through the streets.
The metaverse enhances the sports viewing experience by breaking free from the limitations of a 2D screen. Fans can immerse themselves in a 3D representation of the game, choosing different perspectives. For instance, rugby fans could sit on the crossbar, experiencing the match in a virtual world as if they were physically present. They can simultaneously access replays and statistics during the game transforming sports viewing into a dynamic and immersive experience.
With the emergence of the 3D internet, sporting entities can create monetization opportunities through premium seats and multi-camera views. In the metaverse, virtual assets become as valuable as physical ones for some, enabling direct merchandise sales to targeted superfans. For instance, fans can customize their avatars by purchasing virtual sporting merchandise like skins, clothes, and accessories.
Integrating fitness and sports in the 3D internet opens new possibilities and experiences for health enthusiasts, athletes, and fans. Through virtual reality, augmented reality, and wearable technologies, individuals can engage in immersive workouts, participate in virtual competitions, and connect with others globally. The metaverse also provides professional athletes with expanded reach, a level-playing field to compete, and innovative fan engagement opportunities. Embracing the convergence of the 3D internet with this industry will create a future where virtual and real experiences coexist for enhanced fitness and athletic events.
Are you looking to leverage virtual fitness and sports for your brand? We’ll help build, scale, and monetize immersive and highly-engaging workout and sporting experiences in the metaverse. Get in touch with us!
Jul 4, 2023
LandVault is the largest metaverse builder with over 100 million square feet of virtual real estate, more than 120 full-time creators, and nearly 300 completed projects. We’ve been helping brands build and grow in gaming environments since 2017 and the metaverse since 2021.
LandVault’s platform-agnostic proprietary technology and creative powerhouse builds and delivers tailored, data-driven, and optimized business solutions and insights. We help clients launch, optimize, and monetize metaverse experiences.
LandVault’s mission is to accelerate the metaverse economy through technology with a vision of a fairer wealth distribution across the web.