Growing conversations about the metaverse across multiple industries show that organizations are increasingly looking to do their part in this burgeoning immersive world.
This new virtual world offers incredible promise. Gartner predicts that by 2026, 25% of people worldwide will spend at least an hour a day in the metaverse for work, shopping, education, socializing, and entertainment. So it’s not surprising that more than $120 billion has been invested in the metaverse in 2022 alone, dwarfing the $57 billion invested in the entire past year. report from McKinsey. In addition, the report predicts that the metaverse could grow to $5 trillion in value by 2030.
This huge promise has prompted companies to position their companies to reap the benefits of the metaverse. Organizations such as Disney, P&G, and LVMH have recently appointed Chief Metaverse Officers, while others, such as Nike, Balenciaga, and Gucci, are hiring for metaverse-related jobs. But what is a chief metaverse officer – and why should an organization hire one today?
Typically, a chief metaverse officer (CMTO) is responsible for developing and maintaining a company’s online presence in the metaverse. However, some industry leaders debate the necessity and definition of a chief metaverse officer.
Scott Keeney (aka DJ Skee), CMTO at TSX Entertainmenttold VentureBeat that “a chief metaverse officer would be someone with extensive experience in the [metaverse] space with in-depth knowledge of video games and the Web3 ecosystem. In addition to technical knowledge, the typical chief metaverse officer is also expected to be well-versed in the creative side of the market and able to drive an organization’s metaverse efforts. This includes knowing and recruiting individuals with a background in development platforms such as Unreal Engine, Unity and CryEngine…or Blender and Maya.”
Keeney further noted that the CMTO must have a vision for the metaverse environment, in addition to technical expertise in cryptocurrency, cloud computing, blockchain and gaming engines.
Ultimately, the chief metaverse officer manages the organization’s brand, image, mission and vision across various virtual platforms and accessories, he said.
Stable leadership and management needed
Given that the metaverse is still in its early stages, it’s not surprising that only a small portion of the C-suite fully understands the metaverse, as Apple CEO Tim Cook admits in a article — and how it could shape things across the enterprise for years to come. However, Marty Resnik, VP and analyst at Gartner, believes that “now is the best time to learn, explore, and prepare for a metaverse with limited implementation.”
Likewise Vanessa Mullin, business development manager for metaverse and interactive media at Agoratold VentureBeat that “for a company planning to experiment with the metaverse, using a CMTO is inevitable.”
“When you think of C-suite roles, they are designed to have certain strategy and resources as well as management principles that flow from the very tip of the arrow,” she added. “How a company moves forward depends in large part on having a team of highly effective leaders pulling their teams in the right direction. As the metaverse is predicted to go, massive resources and accountability will require innovative, yet stable leadership and management.”
For a company exploring how it fits into the wider landscape and can take advantage of the endless possibilities within the metaverse, it’s the job of the CMTO to flesh out the angles and find what works. Hiring a CMTO helps a company stay abreast of emerging metaverse trends and focus on what aspects of these trends will help meet their company’s specific needs.
But do you need a CMTO right now?
But while Mullin believes it’s imperative to hire a metavers team right away, she suggests there might be a CMTO later. “For starters, I think a small metavers ‘attack team’ will suffice. Someone who tests, plays and researches what works best for your business. Once you get your footing and establish your “probable mass function,” you can hire a metaverse officer to manage and execute your roadmaps,” she said.
On the other hand, if moving part of your business to the metaverse is a priority, you may have already appointed your chief metaverse officer.
It’s a CMTO’s job to figure out which use cases for the metaverse are best for their company, Keeney said. “It might not make sense to build a couch in the metaverse on a platform like Roblox, Fortnite, or Decentraland. The CMTO needs to figure out new ways to interact or transact or help in the metaverse and build tools to get the business there.
Like Cathy Hackl, founder and chief metaverse officer at trip, said: “So you can test assumptions in some of these virtual worlds or test how your brand might do certain things. You can do those things as prototypes and privately.
The world is still several years away from the mass adoption of metaverse platforms. But if you’re anticipating building your own metaverse, you need someone who can now move the bits and pieces in the right direction. P&G launched a digital platform called BeautySPHERE this year, and has turned a popular 1980s TV ad into a video game. Nike purchased a virtual sneaker company and created a world modeled on the real headquarters. starbucks to introduce Coffee-themed NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, tied to the customer loyalty program.
Get in early on the metaverse
Gartner predicts that “until 2024, immediate opportunities for large-scale adoption in the metaverse will be limited,” adding that “the market is beginning to explore and experiment with applications and use cases with high long-term value.” The current state of the metaverse may be far from mainstream — even with all the investment in space, Gartner estimates metaverse will come of age in 2030. But if your company wants to become a player in the metaverse when it reaches full maturity, now is the time to build a metaverse team — and even appoint a CMTO.
Keeney argues that this early stage of the metaverse is important. “It reminds me a lot of the dotcom era – there was so much hype and people were confused by it. It can be very intimidating; everyone started it, we all knew it was the future and it just accelerated so quickly. Then actually had to be built then it started to slowly take over our lives and that’s what I think is going to happen with the metaverse like we’re in that stage we’ve reached that place where people are now questioning it and imbued with it of hitting,” he said.
By hiring a CMTO, your company is investing in a long-term strategy that puts you ahead of your customers in the metaverse. An executive who oversees metaverse-related work will interact with many departments: product, marketing, business development and partnerships, policy, legal, and more. A cross-company perspective requires someone with peripheral vision and the ability to unify a strategy. It offers a glimpse into a future where the metaverse is not a novelty or a separate entity, but an established paradigm that touches every part of your business.
VentureBeat’s mission is to become a digital city plaza where tech decision makers can learn about transformative business technology and execute transactions. Discover our Briefings.