Reports of the "death of the metaverse" are greatly exaggerated. The scope of investment across metaverse-friendly technologies and experiences remains robust, although aggressive global competition in the AI sector could cause speed bumps.

VR, XR, and spatial computing will see a renaissance in 2024, renewing interest from developers as well as major media and entertainment. Gaming continues to be a major driver of the metaverse, with clear opportunity for new major services to compete against Fortnite and Roblox.

The building blocks are therefore all in place for the next consumer growth phase. Scaling the metaverse will be dependent on consistent and sustained trials, and more engagement from media and entertainment beyond games.

Prepared for The Metaverse Society by Enders Analysis.  

Sony PlayStation’s next CEO will have hard decisions to make: compete against a resurgent multiplatform Microsoft, or retreat and defend an increasingly rickety PlayStation console model.

New gaming hardware will have an outsize influence in the year ahead, giving gamers unprecedented choice, starting with XR headsets and continuing to a likely new Nintendo Switch.

YouTube’s foray into browser-based games will be the service to watch in 2024. If successful, streaming services, including Netflix, will be on track to become heavyweight game platforms.

The UK’s ‘zombie’ economy—largely flat since March 2022—is due to the cost-of-living crisis weighing on households, with this exacerbated in 2023 by the rising cost of credit. Real private expenditure growth will be weakly positive in 2024 before strengthening in 2025 as headwinds recede

Our 2023 forecast of a nominal rise but real decline in display advertising was realised, with TV’s revenues falling while digital display rose. Advertiser spend online is justified by the channel’s size and growth, worth an estimated £406 billion in 2023

For 2024, much lower inflation and mildly positive real private expenditure growth points to 3-4% display advertising growth, with a stronger recovery anticipated in 2025

Online retail is a prime arena for AI implementation, with a high degree of tech involvement and proximity to the point of sale

Generative AI’s near-term prospects are inflated by the hype cycle; instead, improvements to product discovery and logistics will be the next frontiers for growth and AI-driven efficiency

Retailers risk their reputations as they jostle for early mover advantage: larger players Amazon and Shopify through major investments, and SMEs with specialised data and licensing

Web3-enabled games represent a radical transformation for all elements of the gamer ecosystem: gamer, developer, publisher and platform. Through blockchain technologies, and the development of a digital asset economy, gamers will benefit from true ownership and investment in games—driving new network effects and growth

Web3 gaming is unlikely to have a ‘big bang’ moment dependent on a new device or hardware. Instead, we expect organic growth, with a positive ramp due to ongoing investment in the space. Great games are a necessary condition of success

Complexity and platform barriers shouldn’t be underestimated. Web3 will require imaginative design solutions along with new tools and service providers to smooth the limitations related to blockchain decentralisation, and the sector should decouple from the turbulent cryptocurrency space

Prepared for The Metaverse Society by Enders Analysis

Electronic Arts’ earnings for Q1 2024 delivered strong annual growth across its licensed franchises but also a worrying lag in mobile game revenue due to mobile sector challenges.

EA’s global dominance of sports-based games, and its 700m users, make it a strong candidate to be a ‘strategic partner’ with Disney for ESPN’s reboot as a direct-to-consumer service.

The launch of EA Sports FC24 next month finally sheds FIFA from EA’s largest franchise and promises a dynamic approach to managing football partnerships, but no word on increased margins.

ITV’s external revenues saw only a small decline in H1 (-2%), a product of the Studios business’ solid growth (+8%, £1.0 billion) offsetting a very tough period for television advertising, which saw an 11% YoY decline.

Despite the appearance of a contracting market, ITV remains very confident in the continued organic growth of Studios, while the ad market looks to be improving although the full year will be down.

ITVX is growing both in total viewing and the length of viewing session, an outcome of improving the experience and content offering. However, broadcast viewing of ITVX exclusives is lower than might be expected, indicating that cannibalised linear viewing is more of a driver of ITVX growth than ITV seems to suggest.

The UK economy’s zombie state persists 15 months since the cost-of-living crisis ignited, depressing real incomes by 2%. A new headwind is the rising cost of credit, which could tip the UK into a mild technical recession

Resolving the cost-of-living crisis is key to a recovery in 2024. Inflation is spreading from imported and traded goods to services; while CPI inflation is decreasing slowly, wage growth could ignite a wage-price spiral

Further structural change in advertising is being driven by post-pandemic ecommerce, which is 30% of retail sales excluding fuels and is underpinned by hybrid work-from-home (WFH)

As younger viewers continue to migrate from linear TV to online video-sharing platforms, engaging with the audiences on these platforms is no longer simply an opportunity, but a necessity.

However, this ecosystem offers broadcasters limited monetisation opportunities, reduced audience data and worse attribution than the more lucrative broadcast TV model.

In this fragmented media landscape, broadcasters must maximise their digital reach and exploit incremental revenue opportunities, although linear channels and owned-and-operated platforms will continue to provide the bulk of revenues.

On 18 May 2023, Enders Analysis co-hosted the annual Media and Telecoms 2023 & Beyond Conference with Deloitte, sponsored by Barclays, Financial Times, and Salesforce.

With over 550 attendees and over 40 speakers from the TMT sector, including leading executives, policy leaders, and industry experts, the conference focused on how new technologies, regulation, and infrastructure will impact the future of the industry.

This is the edited transcript of Session Two, covering: Sky’s plans for the future, the road to net zero, brand building in the digital world, and advancing diversity and inclusion in tech. Videos of the presentations will be available on the conference website.