With so much hype and rapid development surrounding the metaverse, the question on a lot of people’s minds is, “How can I make money from the metaverse?”, or even, “How can I make money in the metaverse?”
Early adopters of cryptocurrencies, early creators of crypto exchanges and early NFT artists have made fortunes in a few short years. Is the same possible for the people who get involved in the metaverse before it becomes bigger than life?
There are a plethora of innovative ways of investing directly in the metaverse, such as buying real estate inside the metaverse, buying possessions (NFTs) inside the metaverse and buying cryptocurrencies that power different economies inside the metaverse. These are all viable options for investing in this intriguing, revolutionary new concept.
However, buying traditional stocks of companies that are going to be heavily involved in building and developing the metaverse is still one of the most core methods of putting a financial stake in the metaverse.
Here are 5 different companies that are set to become crucial players as humanity forges out into this strange new frontier:
NVIDIA (Ticker: “NVDA”)
The King of GPUs for Over 2 Decades
NVIDIA is a tech company that has been the leader in developing graphics processing units (GPUs) for decades. They were actually the first company to widely produce GPUs (back in 1999), allowing a rise in a new era of video games with 3D graphics. It’s fitting that NVIDIA would also be one of the companies leading the charge out into the metaverse.
State-of-the-art GPUs will be absolutely vital to render the graphics of the moving, breathing metaverse and allow realistic-looking 3D constructs to exist in the metaverse. GPUs are also used for training AIs, which the metaverse will inevitably be full of.
Interestingly enough, GPUs are also sometimes used to mine different types of cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency (as well as NFTs) and the metaverse will almost certainly be intertwined.
Contributing cutting-edge GPUs will be necessary for developing the metaverse; however, NVIDIA will also have an even more central role to play in building up the metaverse.
The Omniverse Platform
Shepherding other developers into the metaverse, NVIDIA has created an advanced platform called “Omniverse” (poor timing on name selection) that allows users to design complex digital 3D simulations in a way that is simpler, easier, more flexible and more collaborative than ever before.
Just like Photoshop allows people to simply and easily create 2D digital art, Omniverse allows people to simply and easily construct entire worlds. Omniverse is likely to serve as a “factory” of sorts used by developers to create their own metaverses (small or large).
For example, the Omniverse platform already includes built-in physics, so objects that developers create inside Omniverse will automatically already have physics applied to them. As well, Omniverse also makes it simple and straightforward to effortlessly tweak the lighting, time of day and weather of the scene. Furthermore, developers can instantly populate a scene with common objects such as grass and vegetation.
Omniverse allows people to collaborate and work together in real-time, like colleagues remotely working together on a shared Google Drive document. Except with Omniverse, colleagues can build virtual worlds together in real-time, even without ever meeting physically.
One of the biggest challenges facing the metaverse now is that different metaverses are currently disconnected from one another. As of now, avatars and digital assets in one metaverse are generally not transferrable to another. NVIDIA’s Omniverse may be the first step toward remedying this.
To begin with, Omniverse can connect different types of design software. A 3D object created in one program can be easily transferred to and worked on in another.
The future implications of this type of technology could eventually allow NFTs (avatars, digital clothing items, digital vehicles, digital portraits, etc) to easily and effortlessly be transferred between metaverses. Users would be able to use the same avatar to easily and effortlessly jump back and forth between metaverses, while taking their digital possessions with them.
As well, with Omniverse, developers can utilize multiple different types of design software simultaneously on one single platform to help them construct entire scenes and worlds.
Being able to link up metaverses and content inside metaverses would be a Neil Armstrong-sized step forward in developing the metaverse. Whoever is able to accomplish this would almost definitely emerge as a ruler of this new realm.
Meta (Ticker: Currently Still “FB”, Will Soon Be Changed to “MVRS”)
Dominating Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) Headsets
In 2005, nobody owned a smartphone.
Just like advances in broadcast technology created a massive demand for televisions in the 1950s, as the metaverse continues being developed, everyone is going to be buying VR/AR headsets.
The leader of VR/AR headsets is going to be a leader of the metaverse. As of now, Meta (formally “Facebook”) is winning that race through Oculus.
Oculus was bought by Facebook (now Meta) back in 2014 for $2 billion and now Meta is currently in the process of dissolving the name “Oculus” and replacing it with “Meta”.
During Christmas 2021, the Oculus app was the most downloaded app in Apple’s App Store. What that means, is that Meta’s VR headsets are already in a large number of people’s homes. Although VR is primarily used for gaming as of now, Meta has already begun developing different applications of their VR headsets in the metaverse, including “Horizon“.
Horizon and its subdivision (Horizon Worlds, Horizon Workrooms, Horizon Venues and Horizon Home) are examples of the metaverse in its infancy.
Whether for creating and playing metaverse games (Horizon Worlds), participating in crucial business meetings (Horizon Workrooms), attending concerts with millions of others (Horizon Venues) or “inviting” friends and family (as their avatars) to come “hang out” in your home (Horizon Home), Horizon is likely to set the stage as to what the next few decades of the metaverse will look like.
In order to keep up with the complex types of worlds inside Horizon (and other types of metaverses), VR headsets are going to need to become more advanced than they are now. Enter: Project Cambria.
Project Cambria is a new type of headset currently in development by Meta. It will be primarily a VR headset but with some AR features as well.
A major problem with headsets now is that they are cumbersome, uncomfortable and disorientating with extended use. Cambria aims to solve these problems by creating a more comfortable, lightweight headset, containing a screen that does a better job at mimicking the depth of normal vision.
One of Project Cambria’s most innovative features will be being able to detect facial expressions of users and then show these expressions on users’ avatars. As well, the headset will be able to track eyes movements and also relay those to avatars; this will allow avatars to maintain eye contact. Furthermore, Project Cambria is also set to be able to track the entire body, rather than just hand movements. These attributes will all dramatically enhance the experience of communicating in the metaverse, whether for business or socializing.
Through their new Horizon metaverses, their current headsets and their headsets under development, Meta definitely plans on being a major player in shaping the metaverse. They’ve even already dedicated $10 billion and 10,000 employees toward developing the metaverse. Finally and most obviously, changing their name from Facebook to Meta is an unmistakable, unsubtle way of letting the world know Meta’s bold, ambitious claims.
Roblox (Ticker: “RBLX”)
One of the Earliest Metaverses
Roblox has been around for a while; it was originally released in 2006. People may not have necessarily realized it at the time, but Roblox was one of the earliest examples of a metaverse.
Roblox is essentially an online platform full of different games that people, usually children, can play. The unique aspect of Roblox is that the games can be easily created and monetized by anybody using the platform. Being able to build interactive, monetized 3D constructs or places inside of a virtual world is a key principle of what the metaverse will be like.
Furthermore, in Roblox players are represented by their own avatar; they use the same avatar when jumping around through different games and a heavy emphasis is placed on buying (with real money) clothing and accessories for avatars. This concept is also one of the core foundations of what the metaverse will be like.
Although Roblox has been around for over 15 years, COVID-19 lockdowns saw a massive spike in usage, applications and relevancy of Roblox. Like most things metaverse-related, lockdowns really kicked Roblox to the front of people’s attention.
Evolving to Be More than Just a Gaming Platform
Most Roblox games are multiplayer and encourage, or even require, cooperation and socializing. Although on the surface Roblox appears like just another game, it has in fact been more of a social platform and rudimentary metaverse for years.
Since 2020, Roblox has started taking on even more metaverse-like qualities. As children during lockdowns weren’t able to see each other and socialize with each other, Roblox came out with a function that allows users to create virtual (usually birthday) party rooms with their friends. Having avatars meet and interact in 3D virtual spaces is something the metaverse will be focused around, and Roblox was one of the first to do it.
As well, Roblox has started featuring a variety of different concerts, including 4 different shows by Lil Nas X that over 30 million people “attended” over the course of a weekend in 2020.
Roblox Is Growing Up
Whereas most social platforms and metaverses don’t allow children under a certain age to participate, Roblox doesn’t have an age limit. As well, from 13 years old even, children are allowed to earn real money from monetizing games and selling digital items within Roblox.
As of 2020, more than 50% of American children play Roblox regularly. Children today are the economy-shaping consumers of the near future.
As children playing Roblox age, Roblox is liable to coincidently mature into being less of just a game, and more of a full-blown metaverse.
Unity (Ticker: “U”)
What Most Video Games Are Built With
For 17 years, developers have been using the Unity game engine to construct 3D worlds within video games.
If WordPress.org is the master of creating websites (about 40% of all websites on the internet are powered by WordPress.org), then Unity is the master of creating video games (Unity’s CEO claims that at least 50% of video games are now created using Unity).
Unity currently enables their developers to construct content one time, and then deploy it across over 20 different platforms from that single iteration. Being flexible and adaptable is likely to be a key factor in determining who the biggest victors of the metaverse race will be, especially as hordes of tech giants with different types of hardware and software rush into this New World.
Unity Has Just Acquired Weta Digital
At the end of 2021, Unity beefed itself up even more by acquiring Peter Jackson’s pack-leading visual effects company “Weta Digital” for $1.6 billion. Some of the most famous visual effects ever seen in Hollywood came from Weta Digital.
The list of films produced using Weta Digital effects is extensive and impressive, including The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Avatar, The Suicide Squad, The Avengers movies, The King’s Man, Spider-Man: Far From Home and the two most recent Planet of the Apes movies to name just a few.
This acquisition could place Unity in a position to create some of the most complex, advanced and realistic-looking digital worlds ever seen.
Providing a Foundation to Build the Metaverse Upon
Although historically Unity has specialized in making video games, the Unity engine can just as easily also be used to bring into existence interactive locations within the metaverse.
On the surface, the metaverse will likely have similar mechanics to a massively multiplayer online (MMO) game; Unity has a long resume in this area. Therefore, Unity looks set to provide the infrastructure that many developers will build their games, worlds, stores, homes, museums, galleries, private meeting rooms, public spaces and anything else they can imagine on.
Possibly more importantly, Unity could potentially contribute to creating the linking areas and portals that connect different companies’ “locations” in the metaverse, like a metaphorical corridor with doorways, except these areas will likely be elaborate and beautiful.
If almost every business in the world is going to have a presence inside the metaverse, then whichever company provides the foundations to build content upon is going to be immensely important. Unity understands this; according to Unity’s CEO, Unity plans to position itself as the picks and shovels behind the metaverse goldrush.
A pick-and-shovel play is an investment strategy that invests in the underlying technology needed to produce a good or service instead of in the final output. It is a way to invest in an industry without having to endure the risks of the market for the final product. The investment strategy is named after the tools needed to take part in the California Gold Rush.
Matterport (Ticker: “MTTR”)
Taking Real-World Places & Virtually Recreating Them
For over a decade, Matterport has been a leader in creating 3D virtual environments based on real-world rooms and buildings. As of now, Matterport manages over 6 million virtual spaces that were constructed from spatial data of their physical counterparts in reality.
Matterport can also directly replicate furniture and even objects within the room, as well as the dimensions and textures of the walls, floor and ceiling.
Furthermore, Matterport can actually be used to augment and customize a virtual space to make it more beautiful or personalized than its physical counterpart.
Producing digital twins of spaces using Matterport is easy and accessible; a newer model iPhone Pro (plus the Matterport app) can even be used to capture the spatial data needed for virtual reconstruction.
Matterport and Meta (Facebook) have a history of collaborating, including using digital spaces to train AI. Meta has trusted Matterport to provide them with virtual rooms in the past; it’s possible that this relationship may continue into the metaverse.
The Metaverse Will Partially Mimic Reality
The implications for this in the metaverse could be huge. Obviously, Matterport could be an absolute gamechanger for real estate companies in the metaverse. From hundreds or even thousands of miles away, people could be able to “walk” through and view the exact doppelganger of the home that they want to purchase in real life. This would especially be incredibly useful for people looking to purchase real estate in another city or country.
As well, the world is full of franchises with locations that have classic layouts and styles that reflect their brand images. To stay consistent with their images, many of these chains will likely want to have stores in the metaverse that are exact replicas of their real-world locations. Matterport would likely be on speed dial for that sort of task.
Furthermore, travel destinations, nightclubs, venues, hotels and other types of commonly visited places all could benefit from having digital replicas in the metaverse. Potential customers could check out the virtual locations first before they decide whether they want to actually physically go to these places.
Finally, perhaps somebody wants to simply create a replica of their own home, of their old family home, or of some other significant place for them. Matterport could make it so that people could “return to” those places at any time, even if those places stop existing in the real world.
No one can yet predict what percentage of the metaverse will be based on real locations, but it can easily be hypothesized that real-life locations will be highly prevalent throughout the metaverse. Matterport is set to be a heavy hitter in facilitating the transitions from real to virtual.
Long-Term Metaverse Stocks Honorable Mentions:
Tencent Holdings Ltd. (0700) – 40% Owner of Epic Games (Fortnite)
The Early Days of the Metaverse
Karl Benz produced the first car in the 1880s before later going on to found Mercedes-Benz.
In 1973, Motorola produced the first cell phone (known as “The Brick”); their stock just hit an all-time high in December 2021.
Often (but not always), the companies that are the first to do something, are the companies that continue to be profitable for decades to come.
The internet today has over 1.7 billion websites. The metaverse of the future will likely have a similar number of “locations“. The companies that pave the way for these locations to be created, and provide the tools necessary to construct and/or access these locations, are almost certainly going to rise in value over the next few years.
There is a very good chance that the metaverse is going to significantly change the world in the near future. If so, then these five stocks are likely going to act as rocketships to jump into now as humanity rapidly evolves into the metaverse.
This article was originally written on January 14, 2022.
Related article: 12 Ways the Metaverse Will Change the World in the Near Future
So what do you think? Is the metaverse just a passing fad? Or is it going to completely transform our lives as the internet and smartphones did? If so, then what stocks do you think are going to see the most growth over the next few years? Let’s hear your thoughts down below in the comments.