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How Many People Use The Metaverse in 2023? (Metaverse Users)

How Many People Are Using the Metaverse in 2023?

The Metaverse has become one of the most talked-about technologies in the world. But with the concept still emerging, one key question remains – just how many people are actually using the metaverse today?

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive deep on current and projected Metaverse users, growth trends, demographics, use cases, and obstacles facing adoption. Whether you’re an investor looking to understand the market size or a business exploring opportunities, these Metaverse user statistics will provide valuable insights.

Let’s get started by first examining what exactly the Metaverse is and isn’t.

What Does the Metaverse Mean?

The term “Metaverse” can still seem nebulous. At a basic level, the Metaverse refers to 3D virtual worlds where users can interact through digital avatars. But it encompasses an array of technologies and concepts:

  • Augmented reality (AR) overlays digital information onto the real physical environment via devices like smart glasses. For example, you could get directions projected onto the sidewalk through AR glasses.
  • Virtual reality (VR) fully immerses users in a digital space using headsets. It transports you into a computer-generated environment.
  • Avatars are digital representations of users that let them customize their identity and appearance. Your avatar could look entirely unique from your real self.
  • Persistent virtual worlds – Unlike a short VR experience, Metaverse environments persist indefinitely, with activities and economies continuing even when you log off.
  • Blockchain and cryptocurrencies enable virtual economies where users can securely trade digital assets like virtual fashion, art, or land ownership.
  • Interoperability between worlds – The Metaverse won’t be owned by a single company. Individual worlds need to interconnect so users can freely traverse between them.

So in essence, the Metaverse refers to interconnected, persistent virtual worlds accessed through AR, VR, and avatars. It envisions a future “virtual internet” that parallels the real world.

Major Tech Companies Investing in the Metaverse

Given this expansive vision, the Metaverse requires collaboration across many companies and platforms. Here are some of the biggest tech giants investing in Metaverse development:

  • Meta (previously Facebook) – Acquired VR headset maker Oculus for $2 billion in 2014. Developing Horizon Worlds social VR platform.
  • Microsoft – Producing enterprise-focused HoloLens AR headsets and Mesh mixed reality software.
  • Nvidia – Creates GPUs and graphics tools optimized for VR experiences and environments.
  • Epic Games – Developer of Fortnite, which hosts massive virtual concerts and social events.
  • Unity – Builds 3D development platform used to create 50% of all Metaverse experiences.
  • Apple – Rumored to be developing a high-end AR/VR headset for release in 2023. Already offers ARKit development tools.
  • Google – Investing in AR algorithms via search and maps. Also developing 3D, VR, and AR tools.
  • Roblox – Popular gaming platform with 47 million active users that offers virtual concert venues, clothing shops, and more.

With billions in investment and the top minds in tech focused on building the Metaverse, the foundations are steadily materializing. But just how many people are already using this nascent technology?

Current Metaverse Users: The Statistics

Given the Metaverse doesn’t fully exist yet, estimates vary on current adoption. But we can look at usage of foundational technologies like VR and AR headsets, gaming virtual worlds, NFT platforms and more:

  • Over 15 million Oculus Quest 2 VR headsets sold globally – Meta’s devices allow easy access to virtual worlds.
  • 1 billion+ AR users – Microsoft estimates over 80% of smartphone owners use AR at least once a month through apps like Snapchat filters or Pokemon Go.
  • Up to 350 million virtual world users – Fortnite, Roblox, and Minecraft each have hundreds of millions of registered users who interact through avatars.
  • 300,000+ crypto wallets connected to Decentraland – This blockchain-based virtual world lets users buy plots of virtual land as NFTs.
  • Over 50,000 active monthly users on The Sandbox – This virtual gaming world built on blockchain allows users to create avatars and buy virtual real estate.

So while niche in some areas like VR, foundational Metaverse use cases like mobile AR and gaming worlds already support hundreds of millions of users. And adoption is accelerating as VR headsets get cheaper and more accessible.

Metaverse User Growth Predictions

How quickly will mass consumer adoption of the Metaverse grow? Here are some forecasts on users:

  • J.P. Morgan – 1 billion VR/AR users by 2035
  • Morgan Stanley – ~1 billion Metaverse users by 2030
  • BofA Global Research – 500 million+ users for both Fortnite and Roblox in coming years
  • ABI Research – 125 million consumer VR users by 2024, up from only 10 million in 2019
  • Statista – 1.5 billion AR users by 2024
  • Grayscale Research – 15-30x increase in blockchain-based Metaverse world users in coming years

So while estimates vary, many experts see billions of users interacting in some aspect of the Metaverse within 10 years. The consensus is that growth will accelerate exponentially as the technology matures and use cases expand beyond just gaming into social, work, shopping, education, and events.

Demographics – Who is Using the Metaverse Today?

You might assume the Metaverse is dominated by younger male users, and you’d largely be right. But the demographics are steadily broadening:

  • Age – Roblox claims over 50% of its users are under 16. The majority of Decentraland users are 18-34 years old. However, broader consumer AR apps have much more balanced age ranges. As the Metaverse expands beyond gaming, the user base should continue aging up.
  • Gender – Roughly 71% of Roblox users are male. For VR headsets specifically, males make up about 57% of Meta’s Oculus user base. Again, AR use cases like Snapchat filters have much more equal gender distribution.
  • Geo – Adoption is concentrated in the U.S. and other technologically advanced nations at this stage. But globally accessibility will spread over time.

So while younger, male demographics dominate specific Metaverse platforms today, the use cases appealing to mass consumers should ultimately make adoption much more reflective of the real world population.

How Are People Using the Metaverse Today?

Metaverse platforms are still rather niche experiences tailored to specific use cases. Most common examples include:

  • Gaming – Massive virtual worlds like Fortnite, Roblox, and Minecraft allow users to play, build, socialize, and even attend concerts as customized avatars.
  • Social – Apps like VRChat, AltSpaceVR, and Horizon Worlds are pioneering virtual social networks where people can explore, meet up, and chat as avatars.
  • Events – Epic Games hosted a virtual Travis Scott concert in Fortnite watched live by over 12 million concurrent users. Artists can now tour virtual venues.
  • Digital Fashion – Players can dress their avatars in virtual clothing and accessories on platforms like Roblox, Decentraland, The Sandbox, and more. There’s a whole digital fashion industry.
  • Virtual Real Estate – Blockchain-based worlds like Decentraland allow users to buy plots of virtual land as NFTs using cryptocurrency. Some parcels have sold for millions.
  • Shopping – Brands like Nike and Adidas have experimented with virtual stores in environments like Roblox where users can try on digital goods.
  • Work Collaboration – Meta recently introduced Horizon Workrooms allowing remote workers to collaborate in VR as personalized avatars.

Gaming remains the gateway for most users today. But events, socializing, self-expression, and shopping also emerging as early use cases.

The Metaverse Future and Predictions

While gaming and entertainment drive most Metaverse usage today, the long-term potential could fundamentally transform many aspects of society:

  • The Metaverse may become as ubiquitous for social interaction as social media. People will have deeper connections through personalized avatars, virtual events and trips.
  • AR glasses or contacts could someday replace smartphones as our primary media device – blending the digital and physical worlds seamlessly.
  • Remote work may move into persistent virtual offices where distributed teams interact seamlessly through avatars and shared virtual resources.
  • Education can dramatically improve through immersive simulations of historical events, inner workings of cells, or realistic teacher avatars.
  • Shopping can let you try on digital clothing from brands, or place holograms of products in your living room to view placements. Retail moves into interactive virtual stores.
  • Travel can be disrupted by realistic virtual tourism experiences letting users safely visit recreations of real world places from the pyramids to mars.

So while gaming dominates today, the Metaverse has vast implications for communication, work, education, health, design, and entertainment in the future. But significant challenges remain…

Metaverse Challenges and Adoption Obstacles

It’s important to balance the hype with pragmatism. The Metaverse faces substantial adoption obstacles:

  • Hardware capabilities are still limited – VR displays have motion sickness issues. AR smart glasses remain poor iterations of science fiction visions. Most users still interact through phones and computers.
  • VR/AR headsets remain expensive for average consumers. Though costs are steadily dropping with each iteration.
  • There’s no dominant universal metaverse platform yet with a must-have experience that compels the masses to join and invest time growing a digital identity.
  • Concerns around negative social dynamics like harassment, misinformation, addiction given limited governance and safety tools on most virtual platforms currently.
  • Most virtual worlds lack the persistent economies, avatar customization, and interconnectivity promised by the Metaverse vision. There are walled gardens and technical constraints.
  • Onboarding new users presents challenges. Digital literacy barriers mean many populations like seniors struggle to use complex VR setups or navigate new virtual worlds.

Reaching mainstream adoption will require major improvements across technology, platforms, governance, and user experience. But the building blocks and momentum are accelerating.

Conclusion

While still in its early days, the Metaverse already encompasses hundreds of millions of users across gaming, AR, VR, and blockchain-based virtual worlds.

Adoption of foundational technologies like augmented and virtual reality continues to grow at a staggering pace. Leading forecasts predict up to 1 billion Metaverse users by 2030.

Gaming remains the gateway use case today. But social, entertainment, work, shopping, education, and more all represent areas to expand adoption among broader demographics.

There are still massive challenges around hardware, platforms, user experience, and digital civility. But the underlying vision seems inevitable – that persistent virtual worlds will become an increasingly connected part of our lives in the coming decade and beyond.

So while the full-fledged Metaverse may be some years away, the momentum behind this virtual evolution of human interaction and the internet is accelerating rapidly. The Metaverse promises to unlock new ways for work, play, socializing, shopping, and creativity.

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Michael

Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.