The concept of a shared, interactive, and entirely virtual space known as the “metaverse” seized the imagination of tech enthusiasts and companies worldwide in 2022. This burgeoning concept was poised to create a monumental shift in our perception of reality and the digital world, similar to how the internet revolutionized information exchange. But then artificial intelligence stole the stage. Apple’s groundbreaking new headset release brought attention back to the metaverse, away from the AI-enamored consumer market for just a moment. Here we’ll chat more about metaverse M&A.
Apple Leads the Pack
Apple has a time-honored history of redefining technology and consumer behavior. The tech giant has demonstrated its knack for turning novel technologies into everyday essentials with products like the iPod, iPhone, and iPad. This innovative prowess is again on display, with their newest offering — the only major product release since 2014 — the Apple Vision Pro.
The combination of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) capabilities set Apple apart. These technological breakthroughs could potentially disrupt the metaverse landscape by providing a sophisticated and immersive experience far beyond what current AR/VR tools offer. High-resolution displays, powerful processors, and a state-of-the-art user interface collectively promise a metaverse experience that is highly accessible and compellingly real.
As Apple propels the adoption of metaverse technologies, and as consumer demand for compatible services and products amplifies, we are likely to witness a significant upswing in metaverse M&A. Companies will look to acquire those that can help them dovetail into this novel tech ecosystem — appealing to a flourishing, tech-forward consumer base.
Adoption: Need vs. Price
Meta’s Quest Pro is another player in this space, notably inexpensive and focused on advancing social connection within the metaverse. While Meta’s technology brings decent quality, its focus is a fully immersive VR experience that can revolutionize social interactions. Apple will continue to create an experience that transcends the capabilities of existing market offerings by allowing the user to travel between AR and VR while not solely focused on social interactions. It will be the need versus the price point in the end.
As the metaverse depends heavily on AR/VR technologies, businesses providing both hardware and software solutions that augment the virtual experience will likely find themselves in the spotlight of a metaverse M&A. These include manufacturers of AR glasses, VR headsets, haptic feedback devices, and firms specializing in spatial computing and 3D modeling.
Something to note is the advantage of Apple Vision Pro’s compatibility with the MacBook. If the Apple Vision Pro becomes a “necessary work technology” replacing the Mac or eventually coexists, surely competitors will follow.
Other Technology Considerations
Next in line are content creation companies, particularly those in gaming and digital art. As the builders of the metaverse, these businesses can populate the virtual realm with engaging and interactive content, adding to the allure for consumers. Similarly, companies dedicated to creating avatars, virtual goods, or digital real estate could become metaverse M&A hotspots.
Another sector of interest includes cloud-based solutions and advanced network technologies. The metaverse, being an expansive and data-intensive realm, will require massive computing power and real-time data transmission. As such, companies that specialize in providing robust cloud infrastructure and cutting-edge networking solutions, such as 5G, will become increasingly attractive to potential acquirers.
Businesses offering robust cybersecurity solutions will potentially be in high demand. With the expansion of the metaverse, digital security threats are bound to rise, making cybersecurity a critical concern for companies operating in this space. The more time you spend in the metaverse the more information companies will have that needs to be protected.
The entry of Apple into the metaverse arena with its high-end headset could indeed be the game-changer that sparks a flurry of M&A activity in 2024. Given Apple’s reputation for catalyzing consumer trends and shaping industry landscapes, the influence of this latest product on the metaverse should not be underestimated. Meta will also be eyeing the playing field for any opportunities to retain or gain consumer satisfaction and market share, but they are not alone. Microsoft has just acquired Activision Blizzard and last year, Snap Inc. acquired WaveOptics, a smart glasses (AR) developer. As Apple’s new headset redefines the boundaries of AR/VR technology, and the demand for metaverse compatibility surges, businesses that can enhance, protect, or populate this virtual universe will likely find themselves in the crosshairs of strategic M&A. The year 2024 may well be a landmark year for metaverse M&A, signaling the dawn of a new era in our interaction with technology and an agility test for those looking to bring their products for the ride.