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Top 8 Companies Building in the Metaverse in 2024

7 mins
Fact Checked
by Ish Bautista
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The metaverse is web3’s most mysterious buzzword. There’s still debate about the nature of the metaverse, but most agree that it’s an interoperable and interactive virtual world. In fact, “metaverse” as a singular is deceiving. The reality will likely be one in which multiple dominant metaverses exist. But which are the dominant metaverse companies?

We will seamlessly switch between physical realities and these virtual worlds in the future, or so the companies building the metaverses of today hope. Let’s take a look at some of the firms clamoring to carve out their own pieces of web3.

What is the metaverse?

metaverse platforms cover image

The word metaverse can be traced back to Neal Stephenson’s 1992 novel “Snow Crash,” which means “beyond universe.” “Meta” means “beyond,” and “verse” translates to “universe.” Imagine traveling to new cities and countries, experiencing diverse cultures and traditions without leaving your house. It’s billed as being an immersive, improved reality that expands our lives.

The metaverse allows you to explore different experiences and adventures through a growing network of virtual spaces. You can interact, learn, and earn through exploring augmented and virtual realities. In other words, the metaverse is a blockchain-based one-stop network for everything in the virtual world.

What are the top metaverse companies?

Many companies already have skin in the web3 game and are developing their own virtual worlds. However, throwing dollars at metaverse concepts and consultants is all very well. Some institutions are faring better than others when it comes to building usable and desirable products. Let’s take a look at who is doing what.

1. Meta

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced the social media giant’s rebrand in 2021. Facebook became Meta, and with it came a new company direction. In a letter, Zuckerberg emphasized the decision to move beyond social media and build improved creative tools required to “bring the metaverse to life.” 

Meta subsequently launched Horizon Worlds. This multiple-player VR space lets players discover new places, interact with friends, solve puzzles, play games, and host social activities.

While there have been multiple negative reports about its functionalities, Zuckerberg remains keen on developing the Meta metaverse. The company has invested an eye-watering $36 billion in building the virtual world. 

Beyond virtual environments, Oculus VR is another Meta product. The virtual reality hardware is used to navigate the metaverse. The tech giant recently launched the latest version of the VR headset, the Meta Quest Pro.  

2. Google

Google entered the virtual reality game relatively early, launching Google Glass in 2013. The product was pulled from the market following privacy concerns, with a new version re-released in 2017. These smart glasses provide fascinating AR features.

The glasses target enterprise: they help the wearer stay focused (by removing distractions), improve accuracy and facilitate real-time collaboration with co-workers. In 2022, the company teased a third iteration of the product, this time incorporating instant transcription on language translation.

Beyond hardware products, Google Cloud is exploring web3 opportunities in partnership with Coinbase. The web2 titan is also building Project Starline — a startup utilizing tech advances to enable users to connect and socialize. The experimental video technology will allow the user to see a 3D model of the person they’re communicating with.

3. Microsoft

Microsoft also has metaverse exploration in its sights. The company has invested dollars and expertise in rolling out several futuristic tech products. Microsoft plans to build a platform with mixed-reality display systems, offering various cloud-based services via Azure Intelligent Cloud. 

Microsoft’s strategic partnership with Meta to develop the Mesh metaverse and introduce a premium AI-enhanced Teams version marked a significant pivot towards virtual reality technologies. By making Microsoft 365 products available on Meta Quest, including Windows Office and Xbox Cloud Gaming, the collaboration has set a new standard for virtual work and entertainment environments.

As of 2024, this move is increasingly relevant, reflecting a broader shift towards immersive digital experiences after recent global events. The integration of productivity and gaming in VR has transformed remote collaboration and signaled a growing integration of virtual spaces in daily life, showcasing the enduring impact of VR technologies.

4. Nvidia

NVIDIA has played a major role in innovating graphical processing units (GPUs) over the years. Its hardware chips are designed to perform complex calculations for a computer’s central processing unit (CPU). On Sept. 30, 2022, Nvidia launched Omniverse, a suite of metaverse-building tools. The NVIDIA Omniverse offers AI as a product and enhances hardware specifications to support AI. 

The firm has also announced details of a multi-year innovation partnership with Deutsche Bank, where they will help the financial services giant accelerate AI adoption.

Omniverse Cloud is another move that strengthens NVIDIA’s stance in the metaverse. The secure suite of cloud services lets users integrate their existing applications onto Omniverse. They then benefit from the software’s functionalities, which include AI and 3D rendering.

5. Amazon

Predictably, Amazon is also in on the fun. The multinational tech conglomerate is entering web3 by launching a number of services, including Amazon Web Services. In 2022, AWS began operations. The computing platform comprises a dual offering, providing Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS).

Cloud Quest is another Amazon metaverse initiative. AWS Cloud Quest is an open-world, role-playing game where you can actively learn basic AWS concepts and create real-world solutions. Another excellent example of future-forward tech inventions is Amazon Q, a generative AI-powered assistant.

Amazon Q enables seamless conversations, problem-solving, content generation, insights, and action by integrating your business’s information repositories, code, data, and systems. It delivers instant, pertinent advice and information to employees, enhancing task efficiency, speeding up decision-making and problem-solving, and fostering creativity and innovation.

With user-specific plans, Amazon Q tailors its features, pricing, and options to your usage needs. It customizes user interactions, aligning with your organization’s established identities, roles, and permissions.

6. Unity Software

Unity Software allows game developers to develop 3D video games and AR/VR devices. The software makes it simple for developers to create apps without starting from scratch. While its primary focus is gaming, Unity has a leading real-time 3D content platform. The software firm previously announced significant metaverse-building partnerships, including one with Hyundai Motor.

The partnership will support Hyundai’s vision of becoming a smart mobility solutions provider for a new digital ecosystem: Metafactory. The metaverse-based factory will be a “digital twin” of Hyundai’s physical factories, aiming to optimize plant operations and facilitate problem-solving.

7. Nike

Sports manufacturer Nike was quick to secure a foothold in web3. Nikeland is the lifestyle giant’s metaverse platform, built on Roblox. It allows users to socialize and engage in various experiences.

According to Nike, the wildly successful store has welcomed approximately 7 million people from over 200 countries. Events included celebrity appearances, like one from LeBron James, where the football legend virtually coached and socialized with players.

Nike took a significant step into the web3 domain by launching “.SWOOSH,” its web3-enabled platform, in November 2022, positioning itself as a pioneer in the digital product space. This move came after the brand achieved a landmark $185 million in NFT sales in August 2022, which was further bolstered by $90 million in royalties, establishing Nike as the highest-earning brand from NFT sales that year.

The.SWOOSH platform, central to Nike’s web3 ecosystem, specializes in virtual wearables and NFT collections, offering a collaborative space where users and customers can co-create, as well as buy, sell, and trade NFTs, enabling them to earn royalties on virtual Nike products. This initiative underscores Nike’s commitment to deepening its engagement with the web3 community by providing a dynamic marketplace for its virtual creations.

8. Apple

While Apple has kept a low profile on its metaverse-related activity, a clue to the company’s future moves can be found in its registered patents, many of which involve AR/VR technologies. 

Apple has also made some interesting acquisitions in the past. These include the AR company Vrvana and Akonia Holographics, which produces lenses for AR glasses.

In February 2024, Apple Vision Pro will introduce over 600 apps and games, leveraging its breakthrough features, such as an “infinite canvas” and a 3D user interface that is navigable with eyes, hands, and voice. This innovation transforms any space into a personal, immersive entertainment zone for sports, TV, and films and facilitates new ways of collaboration and content creation. It also offers immersive gameplay and exploration experiences, marking Apple’s entry into a new era of advanced technology.

Virtual frontiers: What lies ahead for metaverse pioneers?

Major brands and technology companies enthusiastically embrace the metaverse concept, signaling a bright and promising future for these virtual worlds. Even though the metaverse is still in its developmental stages, the excitement around its potential is palpable. The construction of the metaverse is underway, with groundbreaking tools and technologies being developed to enhance its usability and access. These innovations will revolutionize how users engage with web3, making virtual interactions more seamless and expansive.

Frequently asked questions

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Ayotomiwa Oladotun
Ayotomiwa is a tech writer and marketer focused on blockchain, crypto, DeFi, the metaverse, and NFTs. Ayotomiwa works with a number of emerging tech startups and crypto exchange platforms, including being the content manager for BeArt LLC. Ayotomiwa holds a Bachelor of Engineering from the Federal University of Technology, Akure.