A true ‘metaverse’ may not exist yet, but that doesn’t stop marketers from using the buzzword to promote their apps and games in mobile app stores. According to new data shared by Sensor Tower today, there are now 552 mobile apps that include the term “metaverse” in the titles or descriptions of their apps, hoping to spark consumer interest in this next evolution of the web. . And many of the new additions have been added in recent months, the company notes.
Across all global apps ranked in the App Store and Google Play, a total of 86 apps added references to the “metaverse” to their title or description between November 2021 and January 2022, Sensor Tower data shows.
This time frame follows Facebook’s announcement of the company’s rebrand to “Meta” and its plans to invest heavily in “metaverse” technologies over the next decade. While Facebook, now Meta, never claimed to have built the metaverse yet, the word soon began to be used much more casually to describe almost any immersive online environment where people interact as virtual selves. Startups began to describe themselves as metaverse companies. Gaming platform Roblox was touted as a metaverse frontrunner. Social crypto platforms – which were really just MMORPGs with a heavy financial component – were also referred to as metaverses, leading to land storms for real estate metavers. And so on.
It seems that marketers didn’t care much about the actual technical requirements for the metaverse’s existence — like the new industry standards that should be built to allow for movement between interoperable digital worlds, where all your friends, connections, and virtual ” things’ goes with you.
After Facebook announced its metaverse efforts on October 28, the number of apps that referenced the word “metaverse” grew 66% month-over-month in November. By the end of November, 29 apps had been updated with the word, more than double the 11 apps in October.
The new company also analyzed what types of apps were taking advantage of the metaverse trend. It found that many of the apps referred to other popular technical terms in addition to the word “metaverse,” such as “crypto,” “NFTs,” “AR” or “VR.”
Of these, “crypto” was the most common term seen alongside “metaverse,” with 23% of apps (144 total apps) mentioning the term. That’s not surprising, given that the web3 crypto community today relies heavily on hype, and dubbing something that’s the “metaverse” before it even exists is certainly the definition of hype. “NFTs” was the second most popular term, appearing in 18% of the sample, or a total of 118 apps. The terms “AR” and “VR” were found in 11% and 9% of the “metaverse” apps, respectively.
The term “metaverse” was also surprisingly used in a wide variety of apps, not just games and crypto finance apps.
However, mobile game publishers led the keyword’s adoption as 107 apps in the Game category now refer to the term, or 19% of the apps surveyed. The second largest category where the term appeared was Finance, accounting for 101 of the “metaverse” apps. This was followed by Social (70 apps), Entertainment (57 apps), Books (37 apps), Lifestyle (33 apps), Tools (26 apps), Business (25 apps). Art and Design (13 apps) and Education (11 apps.)
Whether the addition of the word “metaverse” to these apps works to bring in users remains less clear. While it’s clearly been assumed to take advantage of users’ app store searches for the word, apps that succeed in this market probably just provide better user experiences than apps that aren’t.