BLOG – The Metaverse is Changing What it Means to be Part of the Crowd

Energy. We thrive off it. It generates excitement and memories, milestones and moments. It helps make history. It brings events alive. But this energy is not replicated anywhere else. This is the energy gap. However, there is a way to bridge the energy gap, and provide the world’s 5.2 billion mobile users with the chance to interact with live events unlike ever before. What it means to be part of the crowd will change forever. Welcome to the Metaverse.

Picture the scene: you’re at your favorite sports stadium, captivated by the buzz of the crowd, sharing your reaction with your fellow fans, waving your scarves or giant foam hands, getting caught up in the moment. Energy.

Perhaps you’re watching your favourite artist or band at a concert, taking in every nuanced strum of the guitar, sweat pouring off the energetic lead singer, as you join the crowd bouncing along to every beat. Energy.

But the comfort of your own home does not provide the same immersive or interactive experience. With fans all over the globe feeling increasingly unengaged and distant from their favourite teams, artists and creators, the energy gap is becoming an even greater cause for concern.

The answer? The Metaverse! While the world is desperately trying to keep up with fast evolving trends against the backdrop of external influences, new adopters are already ahead of the game. 

What is the Metaverse we hear you say? The Metaverse is a collective virtual space in which humans from every corner of the Earth can reinvent themselves as 3D avatars, seamlessly interact with one another, experience enjoyment in an environment free of material restrictions, and create an engaging digital community. It’s a concept perfectly crafted for the current moment, with the prominence of technology within day-to-day life at its highest and on an ever-increasing upwards trajectory. The utilisation of the Metaverse to form a live event audience is, therefore, undoubtedly an industry transcending game changer. 

Fans as their personalised avatars walking into OZ's metaverse landscape created for Iceland's New Years Eve event. Light representing the energy.

Whether in sport or entertainment, the younger generation of users have new expectations for experiencing live events – expectations that are currently not being met. They demand more immersion, more interaction and more personalisation. They are drawn more to digital communities, where they can have anonymity, connect with those of similar interests and truly express who they are. The Metaverse provides this on a scale unlike any other. 

But it isn’t only Gen Z that deserves better. More than 99% of event people are not able to attend live events in person, but why must they miss out because of their location, their financial capabilities, or due to a lack of venue capacity?

Through the creation of a Metaverse using immersive engagement technology, the seemingly unrivalled atmosphere of a World Cup Final or Coachella crowd can be replicated at any event, anywhere in the world, at any time. The Metaverse provides everyone with the opportunity to bring their own energy and personally contribute to the atmosphere, regardless of whether they reside 10 miles or 10,000 miles away from the event location. The Metaverse, quite simply, breaks all boundaries. 

Tech company OZ is one of the leading innovators in this field, and has already brought the Metaverse to life in a truly distinct and accessible way.

With the capability to host up to 100,000 unique avatars in a single Metaverse event, OZ kicked off the New Year and a new era by hosting the world’s largest fully virtual New Year’s Eve concert. Participants from all over the planet attended, recreating themselves as fully customisable 3D Bitmojis to form the crowd. Complete with a breathtaking display of the Northern Lights and a performance from Grammy-nominated rock band Sigur Rós, the event provided attendees a much-desired escape from reality, and the chance to celebrate the arrival of 2021 with thousands of like-minded individuals within an engaging digital community.  

Kaleo performing at OZ's production for Iceland's New Years event, in front of fans as Snap's Bitmojis

The event was accessible to all, with an internet-connected device the only requirement for attendees. No plugins, no VR headset, no gaming consoles, or any other additional tech was needed. This opens up events to unprecedented audience figures, with 5.2 billion unique mobile users and 4.54 billion internet users worldwide.

“Our goal is simple; we want to bring the energy of the crowd to live events for fans everywhere in the most accessible way possible; with OZ, users can jump into the Metaverse and express themselves with almost no barriers. Our New Year’s Eve event demonstrated that through our technology, users can experience events from anywhere like never before. We remove physical barriers for audiences, providing a highly interactive space that can be utilised across a variety of markets. There are very few restrictions to what can be done in the Metaverse,”

Gudjon Gudjonsson, CEO of OZ

With the necessary technology both available and easily accessible, and the compelling user benefits promised, it is clear that live events must now take the long-awaited leap into the digital world. Through the use of the Metaverse and immersive engagement technology, the fan experience can be exponentially improved for the masses, not just the select few who can be at an event in person.

The future of live events is ready to become the reality now. Those that embrace it will flourish, but those who wait may find themselves left behind in an events landscape that is changed forever.

Published 5th February 2021.

We Are Social and Hootsuite, Digital 2020 Global Digital Overview.