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Special Report: Licensing In The Metaverse

By Gary Symons

TLL Editor in Chief

This month in The Licensing Letter newsletter we’re covering what may be the biggest story in licensing over the past decade and for the decade to come: the rise of licensing in what is known as the Metaverse.

So, what is the Metaverse? Essentially, it refers to a virtual world that is entered into by humans in the form of digital avatars, but where real commerce happens just as in the real world. If you’ve ever seen the film Ready Player One, played the game Second Life, or read the novel Snow Crash, you already have some idea what the Metaverse is and how it works.

An image from the beta version of the Horizon Metaverse, designed by Facebook.

What’s different today is that the Metaverse is being rapidly developed to replace what we think of as the mobile internet. As opposed to viewing the digital world through a glowing rectangle on your computer, your phone or your tablet, you’ll soon be entering the internet—or Metaverse—in a three-dimensional, almost physical sense. You’ll be able to go to fashion outlets to try on clothes; attend meetings and conferences; visit digital art galleries; or even enjoy concerts and sporting events.

As you read this, the world’s largest tech companies, including Facebook, Microsoft, and Apple, are all preparing the technological groundwork for an entirely new world where we will spend a lot of our time working, playing, selling and buying. A good example is the digital world Decentraland, where millions of dollars of virtual real estate is being sold, which is being snapped up by brands who understand they’ll soon be selling their wares in a virtual, digital space.

Among them is the art dealer Sotheby’s, which recently made headlines selling millions of dollars worth of NFTs (non-fungible tokens). What fewer people know is that Sotheby’s purchased digital real estate in Decentraland, and then built a faithful digital reproduction of their New Bond Street gallery in London, where patrons could view and purchase digital art works.

At a rapidly increasing rate, the world’s greatest fashion houses, like Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga and Burberry, are likewise planning their moves into the Metaverse, and have already begun selling virtual products in various virtual worlds, like Roblox, Minecraft, and Decentraland.

In the August edition of our newsletter TLL has taken a deep dive into—quite literally—an entirely new world of branding, licensing and marketing. We uncover who are the leading companies in the space, and how the Metaverse will be used in the very near future to both sell digital goods, and also to market products in real life.

If you’re not a TLL newsletter subscriber, the Special Report will also be made available for purchase in September for $97.

For subscribers, the current issue of The Licensing Letter can be downloaded HERE.

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