Updated: 10/4/22: Corrected Speedway sales figure from 200 million to 2 million in the sentence saying, "7-Eleven subsidiary Speedway is the most successful case study in the metaverse 'you’ve never heard of,' with 2 million in measurable sales from Atlas Earth to Speedway…"

MetaBeat, the metaverse event for enterprise decision-makers, kicked off with a keynote introduction by Sami Khan, CEO and cofounder of Atlas Earth, a mobile game experience where users can purchase virtual real estate and brand partners can offer promotions tied to the company’s in-app currency. 

Khan told the MetaBeat audience that no one can fully explain what the metaverse is, in all its iterations. 

While the definition may not be clear, Khan did have some advice for those developing products for the metaverse: “My humble advice is to use the metaverse to enhance people’s experience in the real world,” he said. “I don’t want my daughter growing up in a world where the future is escaping this world to live in a virtual reality world — that sounds pretty depressing.” 

Creating an enhanced experience in the real world, he explained, is different for every company. Nvidia, for example, is using digital twins as a metaverse to help teach future self-driving cars in a 3D world. 

An enhanced real-world experience is the goal of Atlas Earth, he added — that is, using your mobile devices to buy virtual land where you live, work and play. You can then sell it for real dollars within the mobile gaming experience. (Atlas Earth, a metaverse-based representation of the planet, lets you buy land in virtual 900-square-foot parcels. For example, in its mobile game you could buy property in your neighborhood and sell the land, in real dollars, to your neighbors if they became members of Atlas Earth.)

The enhanced real-world gaming experience, Khan envisions, also enables companies to take local marketing to a national scale. “It offers the ability for innovative brands like Sonic to drive a quarter-million in revenue from metaverse gamers to their (physical) doors.” For example, by buying at Sonic in the real world, you can earn “Atlas Bucks” to buy virtual land in Atlas Earth.

7-Eleven subsidiary Speedway is the most successful metaverse case study “you’ve never heard of,” with $2 million in measurable sales from Atlas Earth to Speedway. “When you do this authentically, people are excited about it,” he said.

After Khan’s welcoming remarks, he brought up Ethan Chuang, VP of loyalty solutions at Mastercard Advisors and Mike Paley, EVP of business development at Atlas Earth, up for a Fireside Chat about activating the metaverse at a time when every dollar counts. 

Paley, who was previously at popular browser extension Honey, which was acquired by PayPal for $4 billion, said that in his previous role he learned how important it is to deliver incremental value to your customers. “Even leveraging a simple piece of technology, I learned how incredibly transformative that could be to your user community,” he said. 

Marketing in the metaverse

Mastercard, which links Atlas Earth to its loyalty program, is all about helping its business customers – merchants, CPGs, financial institutions — grow their businesses, Chuang said. 

“Consumers are moving away from traditional media — what you’re doing in the metaverse, from the standpoint of extending reach to segments of the audience that a lot of retailers and marketers prize, is authentic dialogue,” Chuang said. “At the end of the day, the goal is to bring people into stores, into ecommerce and drive sales with a virtual circle.”

Building a metaverse that drive sales means building an ecosystem that builds positive value, Khan added. 

“My hope is that everyone walks away today thinking about how marketers think about the metaverse,” Khan said. “This ecosystem will continue to thrive when the economy flows through it. Understanding how they spend money is so important.” 

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