Metaverse: an oligopolistic market?

25 April 2022

When talking about the metaverse market, the hope is that a new kind of economy will develop. The hope that things will change and everyone gets a chance of setting a new business and see it thrive. The hope that international corporations don’t take the biggest chunk of the market.

However, investing in the metaverse comes at a cost, and not everyone can afford it.

The costs are the main barrier

Unfortunately, it will be unlikely that the metaverse market will be less concentrated than “real” market. Furthermore, this process has already begun: large companies such as Meta (formerly known as Facebook) and Microsoft are already at the forefront of the development of this new technology.

This means, that unless a significant revolution able to radically change the access prices for development on the metaverse ecosystem, any business that is even a bit smaller than the big tech players will have all sorts of difficulties in entering the new world.

The risk is clear, but…

The metaverse can turn into an oligopolistic market.

Let’s just think about the potential of holdings such as Alphabet and Meta in a fully developed and populated metaverse: they would clearly be in a dominat position. However, an oligopolistic market doesn’t bring negative aspects only.

First of all, the competition among large companies for customer hoarding has led to fascinating results and innovations. Furthermore, the tech giants we know today, i.e.: Amazon, Facebook, Alphabet, which are taking up more and more space in the metaverse, will soon be challenged by new players.

Finally, some studies on the oligopolist model have shown that (with certain assumptions) this can be favourable to the consumers’ wellbeing, and we can already witness it. All the prominent participants in the metaverse development are focusing on very different technologies and sectors: Fortnite focuses on gaming, Meta on the social environment, Microsoft on working tools. Competition makes room for cooperation. Unlike the traditional online technologies, where you have GSuite, 365, AWS, Workplace, all of them competing with each other, in the metaverse each of those companies has its own role.

The hardware these companies and others are producing to access the parallel universe is also different: AR glasses, VR viewers, helmets and so on and on. So there’s a huge risk of oligopoly, however, it isn’t necessarily bad for consumers.

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