Global metaverse sector could reach $900 billion by 2030

18 August 2023 2 min. read
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The metaverse sector could reach up to $900 billion by 2030, according to Bain & Company’s “Taking the Hyperbole out of the Metaverse” report.

Although it was great fun to dunk on Mark Zuckerberg’s Fall 2021 Meta reveal – complete with janky avatars and half-baked ecosystem – Bain says the metaverse won’t fizzle out. The fully immersive virtual world of a “Ready Player One” or “Snow Crash” is a long way out, however, with the near-to-midterm metaverse being a fractured collection of separate interactive environments delivered on smartphone and computer screens. 

Though Zuckerberg brought substantial hype to the concept two years ago, the pared-back form of the metaverse has existed in video games for decades. Today’s most popular examples – Fortnite, Roblox, and Minecraft – allow users to create avatars and worlds within them.

The metaverse is still in its initial “seed” stage, according to Bain, and will likely stay there for at least another 5 to 10 years. Scaling requires compelling use cases which take time to mature: it took more than 10 years for smartphones and gaming consoles to exit the seed stage, while the internet and PCs took nearly 20 years. that want to capitalize on the estimated $700-$900-billion market in 2030 have to get in early, the strategy consultancy says. Big winners usually emerge during the seed stage, such as Microsoft and Apple in PCs, Nintendo in video games, and Apple in smartphones.

Companies can take a vertical approach – which spans multiple segments of the technology stack – or a horizontal one, which focuses on a single layer. Meta has an early lead in vertical integration, combining hardware, app stores, and virtual content in a bid to pursue widespread user adoption.

Apple also has a vertical strategy, announcing in June an expensive, mixed-reality headset that uses Apple-designed silicon and operating systems, and connects to the Apple app ecosystem.

Nvidia and Epic Games are taking a horizontal approach, supplying silicon and content-creating tools, respectively, that are used by many companies in the metaverse sector.

Bain says a singular, big platform for the metaverse is unlikely to emerge; instead, existing consumer and enterprise applications will become more immersive. Companies have strong incentives to maintain “walled gardens” to harvest lucrative proprietary datasets and in-ecosystem purchases.

Virtual experiences will account for most of the projected market of 2030, at 65%, followed by app stores and operating systems (10%); devices (10%); computing and infrastructure (10%); and content-creation tools (5%).