The blockchain saw a surge in mainstream attention last year as cryptocurrency grew its mobile market share, NFTs (non-fungible tokens) became the center of million-dollar deals, and social media giant Facebook bet big on the metaverse with its Meta rebrand. This excitement has carried over into 2022, and Sensor Tower App Intelligence data reveals that globally, 86 apps added references to the metaverse to their title or description on the App Store and Google Play from November 2021 through January 2022.
Facebook announced that it would be redoubling its efforts on the metaverse on October 28, 2021; in November, the number of apps updating their descriptions or titles to reference the metaverse grew 66 percent month-over-month. By the end of November, 29 apps had updated to include the keyword, more than twice the 11 apps in October.
To date, 552 apps include the keyword “metaverse” in their description or titles. Within this cohort, Sensor Tower analyzed whether the apps also mentioned “crypto”, “NFTs”, “AR” (augmented reality), or “VR” (virtual reality) keywords. Out of these four, crypto was seen the most in conjunction with metaverse—approximately 23 percent of metaverse apps mentioned the term.
NFTs was the second-most mentioned term in conjunction with metaverse, representing 18 percent of the cohort studied, while AR and VR accounted for 11 percent and 9 percent, respectively.
Mobile game publishers have shown the most interest in joining the metaverse early, representing 19 percent of apps with the keyword in their title or description. Microsoft and Take-Two both recently signaled their interest in NFTs and the metaverse as part of the impetus behind their acquisitions of Activision Blizzard and Zynga, respectively.
Finance category apps closely follow on the heels of Games as having the second-highest count of apps with the keyword, and the Social category saw the third-most apps referencing “metaverse”.
2022 kicked off with mergers in the gaming space that indicate mobile will play a key role in the metaverse of the future. NFTs are still in the headlines as well, as the Bored Ape Yacht Club collection has crossed $1 billion in sales.
The interest from publishers is clear; however, the challenge will be to convince users of the benefit. In the NFT space, some brands have seen success—such as Disney with its partnership with VeVe Collectibles—while others have faced backlash from their audiences. It’s looking more and more like navigating public sentiment as well as bleeding-edge applications of new technologies—and adding “metaverse” to everything—will be key to the success of companies hoping to make their mark in an increasingly meta-minded industry.