Who Owns the Metaverse?

July 12, 2022

Over the course of one year, the number of companies working on the metaverse grew from 200 in July 2021 to more than 500 now, according to a report by market researcher, Newzoo. This may be news to some who thought that Meta owned the Metaverse or was creating its own Metaverse.

Does Meta Own the Metaverse?

Facebook rebranded as Meta; that strategic rebrand demonstrated Meta’s determination to lead the way for other Metaverse companies. Specifically, Meta is working on hardware such as Oculus VR and project Cambria, as well as a variety of different software projects related to the Metaverse. However, it is necessary to remember that Facebook may now be called Meta, but the company itself is not the Metaverse and does not “own” the Metaverse.

Meta’s President of Global Affairs, Nick Clegg, stated the many benefits of the Metaverse but that Meta cannot be the main provider of this digital space. The company wants the digital world to be a more open and interoperable space built by not one or two tech giants but by a mix of public and private initiatives.

As detailed above, there are hundreds of Metaverse companies which develop methods to access the Metaverse and various things within it. This can include virtual worlds and environments, events like live performances, digital goods and even architecture.

All of these developments are possible due to the interoperability Mr. Clegg addressed. Interoperability essentially means that companies can work on one part of the Metaverse while maintaining compatibility with the work of other people or companies. This often manifests itself as interconnected spaces that maintain some level of persistence with each other. For example, the Metaverse has a full-fledged economy that carries over between worlds.

Investment in the Metaverse

Companies invest time and resources in the Metaverse because they view it as the way to reach younger generations. Recently, McKinsey & Company said that the Metaverse will have a $5 trillion market value by 2030. Additionally, the Khronos Group announced a coalition of groups and companies to come up with standards for the Metaverse. Meta, Microsoft, Nvidia, Unity, Epic Games, Sony and others have joined hands to build the Metaverse Standards Forum that aims to drive interoperability. This would directly result in making it easier for developers to build across platforms.

The Forum aims to foster consensus-based cooperation between diverse SDOs and companies to define requirements and priorities for Metaverse standards—accelerating their availability and reducing duplication of effort across the industry. Despite the Metaverse’s seemingly direct link to Meta, it aims to be decentralized and will become a product of multiple leading collaborators.

To discuss further, please contact Scott Norcross (SAN@kjk.com; 216.736.7264), Paige Rabatin (PMR@kjk.com; 216.736.7270) or another attorney within KJK’s Intellectual Property & Technology practice group.