Print and the Metaverse – Printing’s Role in the Metaverse
How Will the Metaverse Affect Print & Print Companies?
The big question for print service providers is “Does print play a role in the Metaverse?”.
That is actually a very good question and one that requires a deep understanding of what the Metaverse is, how it will affect behavior of the population and what it may replace or complement.
When we first saw the one hour and seventeen minute long presentation by Mark Zuckerberg on the Metaverse all of these questions came to mind…
“Will the Metaverse Kill Print?”
“How can print integrate within the Metaverse?”
“Can print companies create within the Metaverse?”
And many other questions related to how print will be affected by the “Metaverse”.
Here we explore the ways that print companies could be impacted by a rise in Metaverse usage.
What Opportunities Will Printers Have to Integrate With the Metaverse?
The fact that the Metaverse is “all digital” would make some state that print has no place in it, but of course that wouldn’t be true. Those same people said this about the internet, but here we are and print has its footing still, so what does it actually mean for print service providers.
Initially we can take cues from the current integrations print has with digital. The use of vanity URLs or personalized URLs (pURLs), the inclusion of QR codes and augmented reality are all ways that print currently integrates with digital mediums.
In the beginning of Metaverse usage it’s likely that this same integration will be the start.
Viewing a URL or QR code of some type could easily transport the viewer to a specific World, office, concert, event or other created Meta space.
But let’s dig deeper into the opportunities with augmented reality.
The Metaverse, Augmented Reality and Print Companies
Augmented reality has been around for a while, but the primary limitation to print companies was the technology and the software. If users didn’t have a specific app downloaded to their phone then a printed piece that contained the ability to provide an augmented reality wouldn’t work. And who wants to have to download “another app” to their phone.
This was actually the problem in the early days for QR codes. You had to download an app to make them work and that was a pain.
But when the phone manufacturers started including QR reading software out of the box then you had a universal application that made QR codes user friendly. Subsequently companies started including more QR codes on their “stuff”.
So let’s relate that to the Metaverse.
If in fact the Metaverse is created as an inclusive space that everyone is accessing and universal standards are implemented within the digital world and if inclusions within the hardware optics for reading are utilized then you have a perfect storm for print to thrive here.
Here are some of the most common ways that printers will be able to create for the Metaverse
All of these possibilities are based on an expectation that headsets will be developed to include an ability to see and integrate the real world surroundings of the users. This could be a clear visor that overlays images, video and worlds or a camera on the outside of a headset that pulls in the space to your digital world so it is integrated with your experience.
- Turn postcards, brochures and magazines into moving articles with video that allow for engagement with the content on the printed piece.
- Make banners in a space come alive to create unique experiences for viewers
- Create printed objects that are a part of interactive global scavenger hunts
- For businesses print companies can turn printed documents into portals that take viewer into interactive charts and projections
- Product UPCs could generate useful information in commercial applications related to the supply chain while that same element could be used to create fun branded experiences for consumers
- And the list could go on
It’s no doubt that print will play a role in the development of and ongoing experiences within the Metaverse, but this concept has a long way to go before big adoption takes place so you really do have a while. If you are working with bigger brands you’ll likely get the opportunity to start working on this now.
And a reality will be that you’ll likely need to update your print team with tech savvy individuals who can create within these spaces to ensure that you have the capability to create these experiences and truly integrate with the Metaverse.