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Consumers who are fed up with the Metaverse, really

Not only will we play in the Metaverse, we will shop, buy, sell, socialize and even work in the 3D virtual realities. Just ask the marketing directors of any top consumer brand.

But marketers and managers alike could be in for a rude awakening as the small but growing Metaverse ecosystem encounters a growing problem with cybersickness, a digital version of seasickness far more prevalent in virtual reality headsets.

Publications from Glamor to Neuroscience News have started writing about it, but cyberillness isn’t just a headline ailment

Clinical studies published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Nature have titles such as “Reducing Cybersickness in 360-Degree Virtual Reality” and “Clinical predictors of cybersickness in virtual reality (VR) among highly stressed people.”

“Despite technological advances in virtual reality (VR), users constantly struggle with feelings of nausea and disorientation, known as cybersickness,” the latter’s summary began. “Symptoms of cyber sickness cause severe discomfort and hinder immersive VR experience.”

The Nature study found that cybersickness isn’t just something that could affect Metaverse games.

“The use of virtual reality (VR) in the treatment of psychiatric disorders is increasing, and cyberdisease has emerged as an important obstacle to overcome,” it said, warning that “the clinical factors that are changing impact on cyberdisease are still not well understood.”

9 to 5

Companies ranging from meta and massively multiplayer online (MMO) game maker Fortnite to blockchain-based metaverse platforms like Decentraland and The Sandbox all claim that we will spend all our free time there, with many employers planning to hire us leave days there too.

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has aggressively presented his Metaverse dreams as a place for employees to collaborate and hang out after work. And “Web3” — actually a privacy-focused, blockchain-based future internet — has become so trendy that marketers, and increasingly C-suites, are feeling the need for strategy and even a chief metaverse officer.

On the 9-to-5 front, automakers have been early adopters, with companies from hypercar maker Rimac Bugatti to BMW collaborating with graphics chipmaker Nvidia to create Metaverse-style work environments that include everything from physical design tools and meeting rooms to marketing, covering environments where potential buyers can test drive vehicles and experience interior design choices.

But others, from manufacturing multinational Siemens to consulting giant Deloitte, are using Nvidia’s Omniverse Cloud as a base to build these mini-metaverses for customers.

See: Nvidia and Deloitte beat Meta with enterprise VR offering

According to an April article in the Harvard Business Review, “The metaverse appears to be reshaping the world of work in at least four major ways: new immersive forms of team collaboration; the emergence of new digital, AI-enabled peers; accelerating learning and skills acquisition through virtualization and gamified technologies; and the eventual rise of a metaverse economy with entirely new businesses and job roles.”

Too much metaverse

Despite low actual user numbers, brands like Wendy’s and Samsung have settled in – Wendyverse is in Meta’s Horizon Worlds and the electronics giant’s 837X event space in Decentraland – with many more following.

Continue reading: Samsung welcomes users to its Metaverse at CES 2022

However, a recent study conducted at the University of Coburg in Germany produced grim results. Two out of 18 volunteers who spent a full workweek in a VR headset version of the metaverse dropped out on day one with symptoms of cybersickness.

The remaining 16 reported that their workload increased by 35%, frustration increased by 42%, eyestrain increased by almost 50%, participants’ self-rated workflow decreased by 14%, and their perceived productivity decreased by 16% is.

Poor Work Environment scores aside, this raises a serious question about shopping and socializing in the metaverse: who wants to go to the metaverse to order dinner or buy shoes after a full day’s work?

It does not bode well for business or commerce in the Metaverse.

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