Technology & Innovation

Towards a successful metaverse: the case for measuring enabling factors

June 28, 2023


Towards a successful metaverse: the case for measuring enabling factors

June 28, 2023

Vaibhav Sahgal

Principal, policy and insights

Vaibhav Sahgal is Principal, Americas on Economist Impact’s policy and insights practice. He is a quantitative economist by training and has led a variety of consulting engagements across the domains of technology, critical infrastructure and finance. His areas of focus include: scenario-based estimation of the economic impact of emerging technologies, evaluation of the business case for investing in ethical AI, assessment of the role and contribution of global innovation networks, measurement of the global prevalence of online violence against women, development of technology and infrastructure-focused benchmarking tools such as the Safe Cities Index and the Global Infrascope for public-private partnerships in infrastructure, analysis of infrastructure financing costs/ volume and estimation of project construction costs across countries, sustainable financing trend analysis, and the development of a variety of macroeconomic, demographic and consumer outlook studies.

Prior to joining The Economist Group, Vaibhav gained experience in the fields of asset management (sales and trading), corporate and investment banking, and trade and economic competitiveness, working at HSBC, Rothschild (Global Financial Advisory), and the World Bank Group (IBRD), respectively.

The metaverse’s immense promise is at once clear and clouded in uncertainty. The word metaverse’s etymology — it combines the Greek word for “beyond” with the latter syllable of “universe” — signals limitless possibilities. Today, the term is attached to a variety of promising applications and digital environments related to education, healthcare, entertainment and social interactions, accessible via both new technologies and older ones.  

Yet no single conceptualization of the metaverse holds sway: it is still in its infancy, leaving considerable space for research and debate. What is clear, however, is that the metaverse holds significant potential to alter how organisations conduct business and how individuals socialise, shop, work and play. But before the metaverse can reach its potential at scale, a number of barriers need to be addressed.  

Our analysis of published literature finds that a comprehensive tool is needed to measure countries’ progress building the metaverse and identify areas requiring policy attention and investment. To that end, Economist Impact, supported by Meta, is undertaking a foundational research program to provide policymakers, business leaders and people interested in the metaverse ecosystem with a reliable diagnostic that can both map the current landscape and flag areas for improvement. 

Our initial key findings include: 

  • There is a lack of consensus around definitions of the metaverse and requirements for successful scaling;  
  • Building blocks for the metaverse are already in place, aligned with the four pillars of our Inclusive Internet Index: Availability, Affordability, Relevance and Readiness;  
  • Wide-ranging social and economic benefits are apparent, but can only be realised if market, organisational and consumer barriers are overcome; and  
  • A standardised approach for measuring countries’ progress toward metaverse adoption is needed to systematically track progress. 

To learn more, download the paper.

There’s more to come: the forthcoming country assessment framework (to be published this winter) will address these gaps while measuring progress towards a successful metaverse. Economist Impact will publish the framework, along with other insights drawn from expert interviews, an expert panel and secondary research. 

We hope this paper, and the larger research program of which it is a part, deepens knowledge of a fast-changing landscape, bringing the future into focus.

Enjoy in-depth insights and expert analysis - subscribe to our Perspectives newsletter, delivered every week