The metaverse, the concept of a futuristic virtual world (or multiple ones), has been gaining significant momentum in recent years.
While not a new concept to gamers, the idea has now become quite widespread among the general public, with different tech companies having different ideas on what the metaverse could be.
Although still in its early stages, it's crucial to understand what people expect from it. A recent Yahoo survey has uncovered some fascinating insights into Asia Pacific (APAC) consumers' top priorities for the metaverse.
The study revealed that around 73 per cent of APAC consumers are aware of the metaverse, with the Metaverse Generation, which comprises 66 per cent of APAC Gen Z and millennials, eagerly anticipating its arrival and seeing it as a chance, among other things, to get rich.
More Singaporean Gen Z, millennials familiar with and excited about the metaverse
One of the most intriguing findings is that Singapore is leading the pack when it comes to metaverse awareness and interest among the Metaverse Generation, with awareness at 79 per cent, well ahead of the APAC average.
The survey showed that 73 per cent of Singaporeans are familiar with the metaverse, matching the APAC average of 73 per cent.
Furthermore, 68 per cent of them are excited about the metaverse, exceeding the APAC average of 66 per cent.
It's clear that Singaporeans are enthusiastic about the metaverse, and it will be fascinating to see how they embrace this emerging technology.
What Gen Z and millennials want from the metaverse
According to the study, Gen Z views the metaverse as an avenue to build social connections, break boundaries, and realise their financial and personal goals.
This generation values diversity and equal opportunity and a place for them to build more social circles different from their existing ones in the real world.
Through the metaverse, they want the freedom to express themselves and highlight their uniqueness, so “full customisation” for digital avatars is a must, with the ability to create and freedom to build spaces, characters and items.
Meanwhile, millennials see the metaverse as a way to innovate, enhance and upgrade their experiences.
According to the study, millennials want to make use of the space to have immersive spaces with lifelike interactions for entertainment. This generation is more likely to integrate their own hobbies into the metaverse.
For example, A millennial who loves motorcycles might collect two virtual ones in the metaverse and host a virtual road trip for their biker friends. Gen Z, however, would build a racer identity and income in the metaverse.
Millennials also prefer avatars “totally different from their current appearance” and that are enhanced with skills they lack in real life.
Both groups, however, saw the metaverse as a chance to get rich.
The appeal of digital assets
The report showed that nearly a third of millennials and Gen Z in APAC have embraced virtual collectibles, with 31 percent of the Metaverse Generation having already studied NFTs (non-fungible tokens), and 9 per cent having bought them.
NFTs based on art, profile pictures, gaming goods, limited-edition cards, videos, and music attract this group, who view NFTs as more than just an asset — they are also seen as a gateway to a community for them.
Singapore has one of the highest NFT interest and adoption levels, trailing only Hong Kong. More than one-third (37 per cent) have prior experience with NFTs, and 12 per cent have purchased NFTs.
As for the types of NFTs this group would buy, the study found that NFTs that are popular on social media, display their status, give them exclusive rights or membership, include well-known IPs, and collaborate with famous brands had appeal.
The Metaverse Generation's gaming expectations
Gaming is important for this generation, especially the Singapore Metaverse Generation.
They rank "more immersive gaming experiences" as one of the top three priorities in the metaverse because of the open-world games that allow them to explore, create personal spaces, and interact with others.
As a precursor to the metaverse, 54 per cent of millennials and 53 per cent of Gen Z in the country have already experienced virtual gaming and played immersive open-world video games like Minecraft, Roblox, and Fortnite.
An accessible space free of fraud and falsehood
Fraud and the inability to distinguish truth from falsehood were major concerns for both generations, with 61 per cent thinking the metaverse would make protecting their privacy and data harder.
Another concern is accessibility, with mostly Gen Z respondents worried that it would be "too expensive" and they would not have the technology to participate.
The Yahoo APAC Metaverse Survey examined consumers' expectations of the metaverse's avatars, assets, and key elements.
15,000 people from Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore participated in the survey, making it APAC's largest metaverse consumer study.
Anna is a freelance writer and photographer. She is a gamer who loves RPGs and platformers, and is a League of Legends geek. She's also a food enthusiast who loves a good cup of black coffee.