Metaverse: what realities for real estate? Hervé Parent, Property Business Accelerator

Metaverse is presented as the next digital revolution that will affect our lives. Is this a real estate agent topic?

Metaverse is written in the plural!

For Wikipedia, a metaverse is a virtual world where spaces are accessible via a headset or screen. This term is also regularly used to describe a future version of the Internet. Another definition perceives the metaverse as a set of virtual worlds connected to the Internet and perceived in augmented reality. These metaverses can be social networks, video games, trading platforms, business networks, or even video conferencing. People are represented by avatars.

Many metaverses have been developed since Mark Zuckerberg announced in October 2021 that Facebook would dedicate a large part of its activity to the development of a metaverse, called “Horizon Worlds”. For its part, Microsoft has launched Mesh for Teams, a solution that allows you to appear as an avatar in Teams and at the same time allows you to meet in a dedicated virtual space. More specifically in terms of real estate, two metaverses, Decentraland and Sandbox, have enabled 16,000 sales representing $229 million in virtual properties in just a few months. In addition to these major ones, dozens of metaverse projects have been launched over the past year.

Two visions of real estate on metaverses are possible. The first vision is the investor who buys a virtual property on one of the platforms that allow it.

The other is the real estate agent who wants to use a metaverse to market real estate, as he already does on an advertising website or on a social network.

Several metaverses are presented as cities within which you can acquire a plot of land and build a building. Some brands, especially luxury or sportswear, have taken the plunge, either to protect their brand by preventing a pirate from preempting it, or to sell their products. Thus we will see avatars dressed in Gucci or wearing Nike. The enthusiasm created by the launch of metaverses generated a first wave of virtual property purchases.

In this new market, real estate agents such as Metaverse Immobilier appear, which is “a (Swiss) consultancy that supports its clients in the purchase, sale and rental of real estate in the various metaverses, mainly on Decentraland and The Sandbox” : metaverse-immobilier .tech . Tiliaverse, an American agency, is also a good example of a meta real estate agency.

The idea is simple: the Metaverses will make it possible to present an avatar or a digital twin of the property for sale in its environment, its neighborhood, all in a virtual form where the customer will have gotten used to develop, even to live exclusively.

But until then, you can simply use a metaverse to display a 3D representation of an item. The most prominent project is Versity, the real estate metaverse of Agences de Papa.

It will be operational in a year, but a visit to the website already makes it possible to understand the concept.

The first questions quickly came from experts who pointed out that a global metaverse, the famous web 3.0, requires a technical and software infrastructure that does not yet exist and that we will not be able to implement for several decades.

Then the meta real estate bubble burst and on Decentraland and Sandbox there was a 97% drop in real estate transactions, as well as an 80% drop in the average land price. At the same time, cryptocurrencies – where transactions are made in the metaverse – have seen their prices collapse.

But the most disturbing thing was published by the newspaper Les Echos, which reports that Horizon Worlds, Mark Zuckerberg’s metaverse, suffers from quality problems and, even worse, the development teams are not using it. In fact, the former Facebook metaverse fails to convince and its audience is extremely low with only 300,000 users, mainly located in the United States. Worrying when you know that Meta claims to have invested $13 billion in the development of its metaverse…

Finally, it seems that there is a gap between the communication that claims that the metaverse is there and that we will all live there tomorrow, and the reality of an interesting innovation, which, however, is still at the stage of a invention to be developed and then released. It will be adopted first by an audience of geeks and then, perhaps later, by the largest number.

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