RIYADH: On the sidelines of the second edition of LEAP, Keith Jordan, Mastercard Ventures vice president of innovation, discussed the shift of the digital economy into the metaverse, with gamer culture and Gen Z placing more value on digital assets than on physical assets.
“The digital economy is moving toward the metaverse, but the metaverse is the natural evolution of the internet. So today on the web, we will have about 5 billion people by 2030. We think there is going to be 5 billion people in the metaverse,” said Jordan.
New economies are going to build up, with new ways of working, creating value for products in the new shift of the digital economy into the metaverse, he said.
“Whole new economies, new ways of working, new ways of creating value are going to stand up once we move into that world. We are not going to go back to an analog world,” said Jordan.
“It’s going to change everything. Every vertical, every industry, how we work, how we play, how we purchase goods.”
Jordan highlighted the role of the metaverse in everyday life, saying: “In the near future when you walk into a shop and you buy a product of the physical world, you are going to be offered the virtual item for the digital world as well.”
The Mastercard Innovation VP said that a lot of demand for the metaverse is coming from gamer culture and Generation Z.
“They are placing more value on digital assets than they are on physical assets,” he said.
Jordan also discussed ways of using advanced technology to merge the online and offline worlds, highlighting the use of avatars “in the same way, people are using social networks today, LinkedIn for business, Instagram for social, Facebook for something else.”
“We are living in an analog world today, but we are about to move into a hybrid world, where the digital is going to bleed into the physical world and vice versa.”
Jordan said that avatars will have different use cases and different endpoints, and will be dressed for each purpose, whether for business or events.
“I have a business dress on my business avatar. I will have a party dress in my party avatar,” he said.
Jordan also discussed generating revenue streams and the evolution of commerce in the metaverse.
“What we are seeing already, for example, Gucci is selling bags for more money in the metaverse than they are in stores. Because people can rent out their bags in the metaverse, they can loan it to somebody else. They have got utility, they have got frequency,” he said.
During the four-day LEAP tech conference, Mastercard had two demonstrations of the metaverse on display in its booth, taking conference visitors on a journey through their choice of London or New York.
“Inside these metaverse experiences, we are showing the future of commerce, the future of frictionless experiences, and when we embed commerce communities into transactions, it becomes a really seamless experience,” he said.
“The demand in the Kingdom for these innovation-led services is exceptional. And when we look at the 2030 vision for the Kingdom, we are seeing massive demand for this digitization, this next raft of services.”
Jordan highlighted the global demand in the gamer community.
“We gave an example earlier on that showed Travis Scott doing an in-game concert with Fortnite across four 15-minute shows. He had 28 million viewers watching that live. By the end of the month, 300 million viewers had watched that live and he generated $20 million across four 15-minute shows in virtual goods. So when we start seeing this reality emerging, we are seeing big demand,” he said.
New transactions and commerce capabilities are expected, with gamer culture and Generation Z driving that shift. “They are in Minecraft or in Fortnite, they are in these gamified universes,” he said.
“What we are going to see as well is we are going to see gamification bleeding into the enterprise because kids today that are playing these games in 10 years’ time, if you put them in front of an Excel spreadsheet, they are going to go, ‘What is this flat thing I am looking at?’ It’s got to be 3-D, it’s got to be immersive and it’s got to be experience-based,” he said.