The METAVERSE Reality-Check: Hype or Hubris?!
Scenario analysis based on forecast use-cases up to 2030

Abstract. The metaverse (MV) is a digital (parallel) world, which is mainly accessible via virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). It is conceivable that it could be used in almost any industry in the not-too-distant future: From automotive, to banking and insurances, the travel and event industry, or healthcare. The use of digital (health) data in the “metaverse” on smart platforms, has the potential to optimize future behavior, diagnoses, finances through the application of VR & AR as well as Artificial Intelligence (AI). This sounds a bit like science fiction, because the vast majority of people have never heard of the Metaverse or associate it with Facebook (since the company was renamed to “Meta” lately) and a skepticism about the use of data is definitely real in present. This “meta-analysis” looks at various scenarios based on use cases and compares various study results and future forecasts. The aim is to assess whether the metaverse will soon become a reality or whether it will take
several years or decades before it becomes part of society.



Keywords: metaverse, virtual reality, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, web3, digital twin

JEL codes:
E17, C82, I15, J11, L86, O33


1              Introduction and Relevance

The “Metaverse” (short MV) is on everyone’s lips and yet it seems to be a kind of bet when the breakthrough will actually happen?! Large US companies such as FACEBOOK (only recently renamed META) invest billions in the development as well as construction of the MV and is thereby under immense cost pressure, with simultaneously falling stock market prices and declining advertising revenues. Similar to TESLA a few years ago, many experts did not believe in the success of e-cars and some market participants slept through the trend or paid dearly by entering the future technology too late as a latecomer.

In the metaverse, the possibilities are almost “limitless” because the virtual meta-world offers an infinite variety of possible applications for almost all industries. In addition to commerce and the financial and gaming worlds, it is the event industry and the healthcare sector that are expected to offer new forms of communication. For example, medical treatment in the field of telemedicine or pharmaceutical advice in drug analysis from pharmacies for patients to virtual trade fairs or events where people can be informed about news – live and to touch via appropriate hardware such as VR/AR glasses. Scientific studies explore the potentials and provide first indications that virtual emotions can be equivalent to real experiences in analog reality.

What possible impact this metaverse hype could have on tomorrow’s world is the subject of this article based on a scenario (meta) analysis. Current metaverse use cases will be presented as examples.

Pundits worldwide agree that we are on the verge of a quantum leap with the MV, much like back in 2007 when Steve Jobs († 05.10.2011) introduced the first smartphone called iPhones. This invention was revolutionary! Some selected quotes out of the Forbes-Magazine by leading experts in the research field of the MV [Forbes/2022]:

“In simplest terms, the metaverse is the internet, but in 3D.” 
(Quote by Ed Greigg, Chief Disruptor at Deloitte)

“Here we are in 2021 and all our devices are still built around apps, not people. The experiences we’re allowed to build and use are more tightly controlled than   ever. And high taxes on new creative ideas
are stifling. This was not the way that we were meant to use technology.”
(Quote by M. Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta – Ex-Facebook)

“The metaverse is coming. Metaverse is not only a place to game. Future worlds will be photorealistic, obey the laws of physics, and be inhabited by human avatars       and AI beings. We will create a future in these metaverses before actually downloading the blueprints to be fab’ed in
the physical world.” 
(Quote by Jensen Huang as CEO from NVIDIA, world’s biggest Graphic-CPU Manufacturer for PCs and Gaming-Consoles and main cooperation partner from Microsoft for Cloud-Gaming-Platform)


The following figure (see Fig. 1), based on a Study [Gartner/2022], shows an overview of the industries for which MV offers good opportunities for today and in the future:

1. Overview of metaverse chances (own representation based on [Gartner/2022])

2               Theoretical Background

2.1         Definition of the Metaverse (Overview)

The term metaverse was first recognized in the science fiction novel “Snow Crash” (1992) by Neal Stephenson [Stephenson/1992] more than 30 years ago. In this book, the inhabitants escape from everyday life in a world called “Meat Space”, which very much resembles an anarcho-capitalist dystopia, into a virtual world called “Metaverse”. In this virtual reality, visitors act as “avatars” and can communicate with each other, act, and chew virtual objects or artifacts. One of the most famous forerunners of the metaverse is the game “Second Life (SL)”, which was launched in 2003 by LindenLab [Amann-Martens/2008]. 

According to the developer company’s own data (, SL had around 60 million registered user accounts at its wedding in 2018, and although it failed to achieve a major breakthrough it is still alive and generates revenues by selling properties and products in the virtual world (exact revenue figures are not known, with estimates ranging from 50-100 million dollars). However, the MV and SL differ in some key aspects, because unlike SL, today’s MV is not dominated by a single company, but is constantly being developed by a large number of different companies – big names like Microsoft with NVIDIA and Meta with Facebook are considered pioneers.

The MV takes a decentralized approach and builds a bridge between the real life (analog world) and virtual reality (digital world). From a technological point of view, there is no limitation on the number of users and the MV is always available; in addition, digital products can be exchanged in the metaverse at any time [Arvato/2022].


The following figure (see Fig. 2), illustrates the intersections of MV with Web3.0, which partly cover different areas and at the same time have commonalities.

Fig. 2. Intersections of MV vs. Web 3.0 (own representation based on [Arvato/2022])

2.2         Meta-Analysis (Methodology)

According to the definition in the literature, meta-analysis [Glass /1976] or even a meta-meta-analysis [Cleophas-Zwinderman/2017] is a proven statistical method to quantitatively summarize and evaluate the results of different studies with a very similar question in a scientific research area.

Meta-analyses are based on empirical investigations or studies in which results and data are collected. These data results have usually already been statistically analyzed, for example to determine significance. Statistical tools are used to analyze the data from the individual studies and summarize them for comparison purposes so that overarching findings can be obtained. Meta-analyses usually aim to include as many comparable results as possible and to find out their variability.

They are used in various disciplines (e.g. medicine), especially in the context of systematic reviews, and are thus an important methodology for evidence-based medicine. The literature is then systematically
evaluated for a specific question according to defined criteria.


2.3        Szenario-Matrix (Methodology)

The term “scenario” originates from theater and film language and was introduced into futurology and economics in 1967 [Kahn-Wiener/1962].

In the business context of deterministic scenario analyses, this method is widely used today to prepare and support certain decisions, especially in strategic business development or risk management. It
is mostly used in the area of future-oriented questions in order to compare different action alternatives.

As a rule, different states, partly with probabilities, are considered and often a positive extreme scenario (“Best Case”), a negative extreme scenario (“Worst Case”) and a trend scenario (“Realistic Case”) are worked out.

One of the fundamental and trend-setting approaches of explorative scenario analysis was developed by Ute Hélène von Reibnitz. With her depiction of the “scenario funnel” she symbolizes on the one hand the complexity and on the other hand the uncertainty regarding the future. There is some debate in the literature as to whether a trend scenario is really necessary. In the conceptual approach by von Reibnitz three basic types of scenarios are distinguished [Reibnitz/1991]:

1) Positive extreme scenario (“best-case-scenario”).

 This case corresponds mostly to the “wishful scenario”, even if often a realization is rather unlikely, nevertheless not impossible.

 2) Negative extreme scenario (“worst-case-scenario”)
 This is usually the worst of all possibilities and is considered a “horror scenario”.  As in the best-case scenario above, unlikely, but quite possible.

3) Trend scenario (“trend-extrapolation”)
 This scenario shows the future if the current situation continues without a change. It is also called “extended present” or “continue-as-before scenario” (do-nothing). In the approach of von Reibnitz, the trend scenario is often excluded because leaving it at the current level (without changes or course corrections) does not seem to make much sense and rarely leads to more success in the long run.

2.4         Goals and Objectives

This article presents current implementation concepts and evaluates them in the context of a meta-analysis. The aim is to use concrete examples from practice to cast a “flash light” on the current state of the technology. Finally, an outlook on future developments in the field of AR/VR and in the
growing market of artificial intelligence (AI) until 2030 will be forecast.

For this purpose, various studies and online articles as well as white papers from renowned consulting companies (e.g. Accenture, Gartner, Deloitte, KPMG, McKinsey, etc.) will be consulted. Finally, the
results from the use cases will be clearly presented in a “scenario matrix” with recommendations for action.

The result should provide an exchange of experiences and, by means of positive and negative practical examples (“lessons learned”), show the opportunities and risks of the metaverse. Due to the highly innovative and fast development in this technology area of the Metaverse, this is of course only a snapshot and no final solution or finished blueprint and no recommendation for action is possible.

The end of this article will again briefly summarize the relevant use cases for the selected industries (e.g., healthcare) and create a space for controversial discussions. According to a recent survey [McKinsey/2022], more than 95% of the professionals and executives from digital service companies surveyed believe that the MV will significantly change our lives and positive impact to the business within 5 years.


3              Methods

The theoretical background is based on the findings made in chapter 2, the following research questions will be answered as output of the assessment with the META-Analysis:

            1) What are the key innovations that make the MV a strategic technology trend?

            2) Which branches/technology-drivers have the greatest impact of going to the MV?

            3) What technological and regulatory hurdles are currently slowing down the MV?

For processing research questions, a wide literature search was carried out at first. Then, a qualitative content analysis was performed afterwards as follows [Mayring/2015].

The current state of research and the theoretical foundations were determined through an extensive literature review and mainly online search sources (databases).

The following databases were used for the literature research:

            a) Google Search

            b) Google Scholar

            c) Web of Science

            d) ELSEVIER

            e) Springer Link

            f) SCOPUS

            g) JSTOR


The following search keywords were used as part of a targeted literature search:

“Metaverse” (> 37.000 results), “VR” (> 3.65 million results), “AR”, (> 3.65 million
results), “KI” (more than 5.60 million results).

 Subsequently, the results were further limited by the search-filters “AND” and “DATE”. The literature search identified 5.640 potential sources, 253 of which were identified as relevant sources. All sources that corresponded to the generally valid scientific requirement for the level of detail and quality of the elaboration were classified as relevant.

Finally, 15 sources were selected for deeper research. These chosen sources were published between 2019 and 2022 and mostly from German-speaking areas. For the qualitative content analysis, only sources that meet scientific standards were used. The software MAXQDA was used for the qualitative content analysis to structure the codes and subcodes for developing a valuable summary of the main topics like in Figure 3:

Fig. 3. MAXQDA Overview with Codes/Subcodes (own presentation)


4     Results of the META-Analysis

The Metaverse is a strategic technology trend based on four important innovations, summarized as follows [Gartner/2022]:

Innovation #1:

Web3 is an interconnection of new technologies for the development of decentralized Internet applications. It offers the possibility to control the users’ identity and managing their profile data. It’s good for building communities or entire ecosystems where items of value can be exchanged in multiple forms among individuals and companies.

Innovation #2:

Spatial computing, is like a three-dimensional technology that allows users to experience a mix of analog and digital reality in only one world.

Innovation #3:

A person’s digital twin (DToP) is on the one hand a unique individual and on the other hand a real-time object with the ability to be presented in multiple places at the same time in digital and physical space as well.

Innovation #4:

The digital twin of a client (DToC), is like a subject of the DToP. It is a dynamic virtual illustration of the client. This customer can learn, simulate and anticipate behavior. Users can be individuals, avatars, groups or machines at the same time.

The Metaverse has the potential to become the digital counterpart to the real world. It enables a complete new digital world of experiences. A few selected examples should demonstrate these new possibilities and not mainly from the fashion and gaming world.


4.1         Digital Services (Public Sector)

The key areas in the cities and communities of the future are city marketing, business development and other digital services for citizens, which are to benefit from the metaverse. The term “smart city” is being redefined in this context. The model in this respect for the use of the Metaverse as a municipality is the South Korean capital Seoul, which launched a MV pilot project in May 2022.


4.2         Media & Entertainment (not only Gaming)

The metaverse in the media sector offers a huge range of opportunities storytelling. Brands can be virtually transferred to the digital world of the metaverse to target especially the younger groups. This offers new sources of revenues to sell digital products. In addition, the Metaverse can be developed into a meeting place for the new creator generation.


4.3        Manufacturing Industry (Automotive)

The Internet of Things (IoT) combined with the Metaverse offers an unabridged new dimension for the industrial sector. For example, virtual interaction during installations and maintenance can be handled authentically via avatars or digital twins. Support and troubleshooting can be aided by technologies like AR and VR. In addition, the efficiency of design and manufacturing processes including interactions between all participant is much better as in the real world due to 24/7 availability of the resources.


4.4        Energy & Utilities (Telecommunication)

The metaverse offers a widespread range of new opportunities for utilities. Grid operators can collaborate with other municipal infrastructure providers in unexpected ways. For example, energy-producing offshore facilities can be made more efficient via remote maintenance in the Metaverse. Virtual energy consulting in the Metaverse also benefits the end customer through improved communication.


4.5         E-Commerce (Trade & Consumer Goods)

Retailers can create virtual shopping worlds or promote customers loyalty programs, for example like Kaufland in Germany with the virtual “Kaufisland” in the Metaverse. The U.S. coffee company Starbucks offers members in the “Odyssey experience” the opportunity to earn and purchase digital collectible tokens (NFTs) that can unlock access to new, fascinating coffee experiences.

4.6        Healthcare (Telemedicine)

Today’s telemedicine will be raised to a much higher level by the future possibilities in the metaverse: This offers the possibility for better collaborations of international specialists worldwide. Or also for robotic surgery, patient-centered remote monitoring and diagnosis as well as remote consultation of particularly specialized medical specialists in the metaverse. This opens up new efficiency advantages for all players in the healthcare system.


5              Discussion– Metaverse is coming

The metaverse opens up great opportunities for many industries, whether retail or other products for the consumer industry, banks and insurance companies, the manufacturing industry and last but not least, the healthcare and public sectors, which often lag behind in terms of digitization. It opens up completely new ways for modern communication with all target groups.


So the big question is: 

Should we get on board now, or would it be better to wait, and see?


Of course, the metaverse has still the character of a hype technology at the moment, but there are already a set of early adopters for taking the first steps and gaining valuable experiences. The fashion industry and the gaming world certainly have a pioneering role to play here. This was also an outcome of a recent study by the German Association of the Digital Economy (BVDW/2022).

According to the latest BVDW-study, the pole-position has the fashion sector (82%), followed by the media and entertainment sector with 74%. The study showed that “the fashion and entertainment industries are working closely together like in the past. This result is remarkable due to various collaborations between fashion and gaming by selling virtual clothes with famous brands in the metaverse. These kinds of collaborations are known from the real world and can be easily adopted to the virtual worlds too.


6              Conclusion

6.1        Synopsis

The future of the Internet is coming: The metaverse is the next big innovation in the digital transformation of the 2D Internet. An entire merge of real and virtual worlds.

The Metaverse is a digital experience of virtual Internet in 3D. It offers the users a nearly unlimited range of movements, information and transactions in a new infra-structure with their avatars and
interactions between others users and provides trading of virtual items (NFTs). The metaverse is like a fusion of real with virtual worlds and supports new technologies such as virtual and augmented reality (VR & AR), digital twins, holograms or avatars, robotics, Big Data, and decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), blockchain-based technologies (e.g. cryptocurrencies, NFTs, proof of attendance protocols) and the emerging technology of artificial intelligence (AI).

So how can companies benefit from the metaverse (today and in the future)?

The Metaverse offers many benefits to Companies in many ways. They can open virtual 3D-stores for their offerings of digital products and service, for example. Organizing virtual events with new touch-points with the visitors by using VR devices and walk through virtual rooms. This kind of trade-shows are entirely virtual and deliver a huge amount of data and can provide totally new insights of the users’ behavior in all industries and sectors.

There are already companies with pilot projects in the Metaverse. For example, companies in the financial branch are testing the opportunities in order to transfer essential services completely to the Metaverse world to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty. This is because the “Metaverse” is always open – 24 hours and seven days a week.

It works faster than analog processes and can be accessed from any location worldwide.

Retail companies can reduce the costs due to expensive returns by using the Metaverse. A virtual walk-in store can display products much better than conventional catalogs and websites with haptic product presentation and using a VR gloves.

In the Metaverse of the Industrial companies a digital twin is useful to simulate millions of processes in the entire production or in supply chain management, infrastructure and other value creating processes. This provides more efficiency for the companies to increase the value creation and the resilience of their supply chain management.

In the field of real estate, the physical visits of properties can be exchanged with virtual tours with prospective clients directly from home and even design changes can be planned in real time. There is no limitation on single places, because the planning can be extended to complete shopping malls in the entire street.

The Metaverse offers a higher customer engagement by providing immersive experiences and a new kind of meta-economics by selling virtual objects (NFTs). A successful engagement in the Metaverse requires careful decisions on each of the mentioned pillars of activities. It is also an opportunity for corporations to leverage the level of engagement with their existing employees and future clients [KPMG/2022].


6.2         Further Research

Since the beginning of 2022 the hype about the “metaverse” has grown enormously. The digital parallel universe promises its users immersive immersion in a virtual world. The technological basis for this is not only blockchain technology but also extended reality (XR). Many already see Metaverse as the long-sought application that will help the XR game types of virtual, mixed and augmented reality achieve a breakthrough. In fact, Metaverse and XR could benefit significantly from each other.

Fortnite developer Epic Games is also working on a virtual world where gamers can meet and interact with each other. At the same time, platforms from the crypto-cloud world such as “Decentraland” are trading virtual real estate in the form of NFTs with great success.

However, no significant effects are expected from this symbiosis before 2025. The Metaverse is currently occupying large online corporations as well as young startups. Facebook, for example, has underpinned its ambitions in the development of a metaverse by renaming the entire group “Meta Platforms. Microsoft would soon like to expand Teams as a communication platform to include virtual rooms with avatars.

All of these examples show one thing: Companies are rapidly staking their claims in the metaverse context [Deloitte/2022].



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Mr. Stefan Odenbach-Wanner, PhD Student

Comenius University, Faculty of Management, Bratislava, Slovakia

Doctoral Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Natalia Kryvinska, Comenius University, Faculty of Management, Bratislava, Slovakia



Ing. Jaroslav Vojtechovský, Phd. <>

Department of Information Management and Business Systems

Faculty of Management, Comenius University Bratislava

Odbojárov 10, 82005 Bratislava 25, Slovakia


prof. RNDr. Michal Greguš, PhD. <>

Univerzita Komenského, Fakulta managementu

Department of Information Management and Business Systems

Faculty of Management, Comenius University Bratislava

Odbojárov 10, 82005 Bratislava 25, Slovakia

Digital Science Magazine, Číslo 1, Ročník IX. ISSN: 1339-3782