The Gist

  • Role of AI. Revolutionizing the metaverse through enhanced personalization and realism.
  • AI and marketing. AI brings unprecedented marketing potential to the metaverse.
  • Future prospects. AI is integral to the metaverse's growth, accessibility and safety.

While the hype about the metaverse has significantly slowed, the opportunities it promises are more likely to become reality with the inclusion of AI. AI can significantly enhance the metaverse experience by providing personalization based on user preferences, creating more realistic interactions with AI-driven characters, assisting in dynamic content creation, and improving accessibility through features like real-time translation. AI has the potential to make the metaverse more immersive, interactive and accessible, while maintaining a secure and respectful environment. 

Although the metaverse has yet to be adopted by the masses, a recent study by Protiviti-Oxford revealed that 66% of business leaders that were polled said that the metaverse will have either a somewhat significant or significant impact on global business by 2033, and that it will be important to their company’s success over the next decade.

This article will look at the current state of the metaverse, the role that AI will play in its evolution, and how it will impact marketing.

The Current State of the Metaverse

The metaverse is a set of digital spaces where people can socialize, learn, play, work and shop using technologies such as virtual reality, augmented reality and extended reality. The metaverse is not owned or controlled by any single company, but rather a network of platforms and creators that can interact with each other. It also involves a new digital economy, where users can create, buy and sell virtual goods using digital currencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

digital economy

The metaverse is currently in its infancy with various platforms and experiences and has yet to gain mass acceptance. The lack of a unified standard poses a significant hurdle, hindering seamless user transition between platforms and making content discovery a challenge. There is currently a group called the Metaverse Standards Forum that is seeking to establish a set of standards for building the metaverse, but it remains to be seen if those in the industry will agree to the standards. Currently, over 2,400 organizations have joined the forum, including Google, Meta and Microsoft.

Additionally, privacy and security are a priority in this virtual realm. While numerous protective measures exist, selecting the most suitable ones for each platform and experience is vital. Despite these challenges, the metaverse holds immense potential to transform our interactions, work and leisure, positioning itself as a future cornerstone of the internet. As it evolves, understanding its challenges and opportunities becomes increasingly crucial.

James Watson, CMO at The Glimpse Group, an immersive technology platform company, told CMSWire that he would describe the current state of the metaverse as an evolving landscape. "There were some overexcited reports claiming that it was dead, but they erred by assuming it was already alive," explained Watson. "In truth, it was forming and still is. Now that the hype has settled (watch out AI), the metaverse is quietly developing and making strides as it moves forward."

Related Article: How Will the Whole World Metaverse Affect CX?

What Role Will AI Play in the Metaverse

AI will play a vital role in enhancing the metaverse experience by creating more realistic and immersive experiences. It will facilitate the creation of lifelike 3D models of objects and environments and will simulate authentic weather effects and lighting conditions. AI will also enable the ability to create highly personalized experiences for each user. By tracking user preferences and behavior, AI can generate personalized content and experiences on-the-fly, making the metaverse more engaging for each individual user.

“AI has a huge role to play in the metaverse, and it will impact everything from personalization of experiences to content development. I think of AI as a catalyst that will drive so many opportunities in the metaverse, it's a match made in (virtual) heaven for sure,” said Watson.

Additionally, AI is able to automate tasks, increasing efficiency and user-friendliness in the metaverse. Tasks such as customer service, moderation and content creation can be automated, making the metaverse more accessible. AI also provides real-time feedback and support to users, providing solutions to problems and assistance when needed, such as real-time translation services, customer support and technical assistance. 

AI will be crucial in maintaining a safe environment in the metaverse by detecting and preventing malicious activities such as spam and scams. AI's potential to make the metaverse more realistic, immersive, personalized, efficient, and secure will enhances its appeal to users and businesses alike. Because of AI’s language translation functionality, it will enable the metaverse to be more diverse and inclusive and will open it up to people speaking a multitude of languages.

Related Article: 4 Challenges Around the Metaverse We Need to Overcome

How AI Can Tailor the Metaverse Experience

AI's potential role in personalizing content and experiences in the metaverse will be transformative. By tracking user preferences and behavior, AI can curate content tailored to each user's interests. This could involve recommending events, virtual products, games, movies, or music based on their past preferences. Additionally, AI can create personalized avatars and suggest virtual worlds that align with users' tastes, enhancing engagement and immersion in the metaverse.

“AI will understand how a user is interacting with the metaverse. So imagine being in a virtual store and AI being able to track that you keep looking at a certain object. So how about that object now appears in multiple places, making it harder for you to not focus on it,” said Watson. “So, by understanding individual preferences and patterns, AI can curate these tailored experiences, delivering content, recommendations, and interactions that resonate with each user on a personal level.”

As Watson suggested, AI has the potential to be instrumental in adapting the metaverse to individual user needs and ensuring their safety. It can adjust visual settings like brightness or contrast for visually impaired users, and provide real-time translation. Additionally, AI may play a role in maintaining a safe metaverse environment by detecting and preventing harassment or bullying, and identifying and blocking malicious content or users. 

Learning Opportunities

Colt Agar, marketing researcher of Bizpedia, a think tank blog dedicated to business, personal finance, fintech, marketing and startups, told CMSWire that the role of AI in the metaverse is bound to be transformative and create unique marketing and advertising opportunities. "AI will enable personalization at an unprecedented scale in the Metaverse. Imagine walking into a virtual store and the AI knows your style preferences, sizes, and past purchases, and can make tailored recommendations," said Agar. “Brands can have AI-driven mascots or salespersons interact with customers in real-time, providing a deeply personalized and immersive shopping experience.”

How Will AI Impact Marketing in the Metaverse?

The Protiviti-Oxford survey mentioned above also indicated that when asked to name the top two ways they anticipate using the metaverse for customer engagement, 79% said they will use it for marketing and advertising, and they are most excited about the potential of augmented, virtual & extended reality (65%) and AI (58%). 

Vivian Tai, director of innovation at GS1 US, told CMSWire that generative AI is a vital cornerstone of the metaverse. “It can create dynamic content and personalized experiences which become a powerful storytelling medium for brands. Through the use of AI, brands are able to create a unique brand identity and memorable narratives that resonate with their audience,” said Tai, who added that with the use of globally unique, standards-based identification, brands will able to predict, respond and supply demands in an unprecedented manner.

There are countless ways that AI can be used to enhance and improve marketing in the metaverse, and likely many more that have not yet been considered. Some of the potential uses for marketing include:

  • Personalized marketing: AI can be used to monitor user preferences and behaviors in the metaverse and can then be used to create personalized marketing campaigns that are more likely to be relevant for each user.
  • Immersive experiences: AI can be used in the metaverse to create virtual marketing experiences that are extremely immersive, enhancing user engagement and interaction with brands.
  • Automated marketing: AI can improve marketing operations by automating tasks like crafting and scheduling social media content, overseeing ad campaigns and monitoring outcomes.
  • Real-time insights: AI can gather and analyze real-time user behavior in the metaverse, enabling marketers to gauge campaign effectiveness, spot trends and promptly implement necessary adjustments.

Although much of the metaverse is still largely conceptual, it is already being used by brands in innovative ways. In 2021, Gucci created a virtual world in Roblox where users could explore a Gucci store and purchase products. In 2019, Coca-Cola created a virtual concert in Fortnite where users could watch a performance by Marshmello, and in 2021 partnered with Tafi, a designer of characters and digital wearables, to launch digital wearable NFTs for the brand. In 2021, Nike created a virtual reality experience in Roblox where users could try on shoes before buying them. And in 2022, Samsung launched a digital counterpart of its flagship stores in Decentraland.

“The dynamic content creation aspect of AI can also revolutionize marketing,” said Agar. “Ads can be created and modified on the fly, based on the user's interaction and response. One could witness the rise of 'responsive advertising' where the message evolves as per the consumer's in-metaverse behavior.”

The Future of AI in the Metaverse

Companies such as Altered State Machine are already enabling brands to introduce AI into their metaverse applications, powering avatars, games and virtual worlds. In December 2022, the company joined seven other Web3 brands to become Futureverse, a group whose core infrastructure consists of identity, artificial intelligence, communications and payments. Its goal is to build an open metaverse ecosystem. 

“With AI, the metaverse can become a personalized, engaging, and inclusive space, opening up a plethora of opportunities for forward-thinking businesses,” suggested Agar.

Other groups such as the business standards organization GS1 are working to help standardize the metaverse and ensure that businesses’ digital identities are recognized and protected. Their whitepaper titled Building the Metaverse: A Foundation of Standards goes into the details of why standardization is a necessity now, while the metaverse is still being developed, and suggests that “Just as standards enable the physical supply chain of today, standards can enable the digital supply chain and the interoperability needed to realize the future opportunities of the metaverse.”

The integration of AI with the metaverse will provide transformative opportunities for marketing. AI's role in enhancing user experiences, personalizing content and ensuring safety is pivotal as the metaverse evolves. Despite existing challenges, AI promises to revolutionize marketing strategies through personalization, automation and real-time insights.