The text of this interview has been edited for consistency, then validated by Lionel Lemoine (Head of Solution Consulting for Western and Southern Europe at Adobe).
LeMagIT: as Adobe defines what is a metaverse ?
Lionel Lemoine: The metaverse is an engaging, interactive, rich and persistent experience.
These are digital environments where visitors can shop, socialize, learn about their work, play games, attend classes, attend meetings, experience cultural experiences and more.
These virtual worlds are extended, shared, always active, endowed with economy and whose members can also contribute to their development.
LeMagIT: How does this metaverse differ from a Second Life, which, moreover, did not establish itself 20 years ago?
Lionel Lemoine: It is difficult to make a comparison as digital has evolved over two decades.
There was a strong idea behind this 3D universe. Second Life made it possible to interact with others connected, represented in the form of an avatar. The difference is that at the time the technology, but also the maturity of the users, was not yet ready.
Today it is possible to create limitless 3D universes of incredible realism that enhance the immersive experience. The experience, on the other hand, can be lived through multiple digital channels (VR headsets, augmented reality equipment, smartphones).
Finally, the capabilities provided by the cloud allow us to consider the use of data to serve a degree of personalization never achieved before.
LeMagIT: Speaking of marketing personalization, Adobe unveiled metaverses at the Adobe Summit, your customer experience event. But what is the appetite of the companies you interact with on a daily basis for these immersive and futuristic universes?
Lionel Lemoine: We see two main types of interlocutors.
On the one hand, there are already very mature profiles in the world of 3D, primarily film and video game players. Gaming companies know perfectly well how to create an open world.
This level of maturity is also felt by some big luxury brands that are at the forefront of the use of 3D, because it already allows them to produce prototypes without going through a prefabrication phase. We can create virtual prototypes – with technologies such as those of Substance (NDR: an Adobe tool) – so realistic that they allow us to make decisions to go into production, avoiding a pre-Proof of Concept phase of 2 to 3 months, which is also a lot expensive.
These companies familiar with 3D now understand that they can display virtual objects, in a digital place, for all to see, and that this is a way to enhance their digital assets and the objects they want to monetize. Thanks to increasingly sophisticated 3D modeling and texturing technologies, images are easier to manage, products are easier to design (and customize) and the possibilities for interacting with them are increasing to enable interactive and immersive experiences that truly give the place of honor for emotion.
Interest is also noticeable in the retail trade.
You should know that one of the first factors that lead customers to return items is the misperception of the scale of a product or the size of the purchased item. In the purchase deed, the image prevails over the technical descriptions.
In this context, the metaverse is seen as an opportunity, associating it with augmented reality, to avoid costly returns. For example, putting the product in the metaverse eliminates unnecessary production by favoring pre-orders, shipments and returns of products that reduce logistics costs. The costs of the entire traditional supply chain and digital content are thus better controlled.
Now, it is true that these companies remain in the minority.
LeMagIT: So there is more media noise than customer feedback?
Lionel Lemoine: The metaverse is a topic that raises many questions [chez nos clients]. And today it is true that there are more questions than answers.
But this is explained. Sure, we see big digital players taking a stance on the metaverse (editor’s note: Adobe included), but this still doesn’t have a tangible reality for everyone.
LeMagIT: Just as you say, the metaverse is not yet “palpable”. What would you say to companies to make it “concrete” and explain to them that this still “vanishing” topic affects their business?
Lionel Lemoine: We can already imagine perfectly well that there will be different types of metaverse with very different graphic universes and objectives. You can have a Minecraft metaverse, completely surreal, and other extremely realistic metaverses.
Then, what I would say is that as soon as you have a space that allows you to connect people and allows them to spend time there, you immediately understand that it is an environment in which there is material to communicate. [pour les marques] and where behaviors can be analyzed to personalize content [pour le marketing].
After that, there are also many very different fantasies and perceptions between those who envision a single metaverse that will become the Internet of tomorrow (and replace the one we know) and those who envision different metaverses, as a new type of media that will take place in a broader marketing mix.
But even if it is a topic in the making, in any case, it is a topic that will be part of our daily life tomorrow, in one way or another (Editor’s note: Gartner even estimates that as soon as 2026, 25% of the population will spend at least an hour a day in a metaverse).
LeMagIT: And what is Adobe’s vision between these different hypotheses on the future of the metaverse?
Lionel Lemoine: Today we imagine a metaverse open and accessible to all. Where creative technology is simple to use. And where everyone can create, buy and connect.
We believe everyone should be able to participate in creation in the metaverse. So we are committed to developing 3D and immersive creative tools, which will allow everyone to express themselves and create content, whatever their uses and distributions.
Second, we are convinced that the best experiences will be produced if open and standard formats emerge. In this perspective, Adobe supports and contributes to the development of new 3D standards, such as the Universal Scene Description (USD) file format and the Graphics Language Transmission Format (glTF) for modeling 3D scenes and objects.
LeMagIT: Do you think companies will prefer to use metaverses created and managed by others (like The Sandbox or Facebook) to establish a presence? Or will they create their own metaverse?
Lionel Lemoine: We believe that the metaverse is a fundamental trend that will be integrated into the digital strategies of brands in different ways.
First, it will reinforce the need for more immersive experiences, particularly with the use of 3D, on the channels that companies have: viewing 3D products on their websites, using VR on their mobile applications, or even creating universes. Brand specific 3D for certain companies or campaigns.
At the same time, metaverses will allow for new spaces to connect people, communicate and highlight brand universes. Companies will have to choose the platforms on which they want to be visible based on the audience and the possibilities offered. They will therefore have to create the most impactful content possible, to enhance their brand.
This is a great opportunity for brands and content creators.