A man wears Virtual Reality Head Mount at VR/AR World during Content Tokyo expo in Tokyo, Japan June 28, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
A man wears a virtual reality head mount at VR/AR World during Content Tokyo expo in Japan on June 28, 2017. Photo: Reuters / Kim Kyung-Hoon

Metaverse fever continues to gain momentum: Real-estate sales in the digital space exceeded US$500 million last year and could double this year. According to Goldman Sachs, the new sector has the potential to become a $16+ trillion industry globally. The risks are big, but the opportunities are even bigger; that’s why only the bravest will be able to make the most of this newborn market.

In terms of perspectives, the new technology could revolutionize the businesses of video games, movies, television, fashion, music, advertising, and travel agencies. Thus it should not be a surprise that companies such as Apple, Nike, Roblox and Alphabet are investing millions of dollars in the development of the metaverse.

For instance, McDonald’s has offered its fans an opportunity to enter the lifelike exhibit on virtual-reality social platforms, AltspaceVR and Spatial, to experience the elegant McDonald’s gallery hosting fashion designer Humberto Leon’s work.

It is worth mentioning that Chinese companies are also wasting no time: ByteDance has bought virtual-reality solutions developer Pico and is also investing in startups focused on the creation of digital doubles and 3D reconstructions of objects.

NetEase invested in IMVU, the world’s largest social network with avatars and a 3D world. Tencent invests aggressively in third-party game makers, AI companies and a wide range of technology companies not only in China but also overseas (including Epic Games and Roblox).

Overall, as the “future” approaches, interest in VR gadgets will also grow. According to analysts at Loop Capital Markets, consumer electronics retailer Best Buy could benefit from increased sales of virtual-reality headsets. They give it a price target of $150. So the upside potential is just over 50% of the current price.

Of course, one has to be quite careful with these forecasts. First, analysts may simply be manipulating the opinions of readers. Second, it is not entirely clear when the growing interest in the metaverse will be reflected in a company’s books.

However, it is true that the increase in capitalization could come from earlier investments in advertising and the development of an online platform.

Igor Kuchma is a financial adviser who is passionate about economy and the capital markets in general. He has experience working with Russian, Spanish and American financial institutions. He helped to compile a course for the Series 7 exam, while some companies he has prepared investment portfolios and macro and microeconomic models in Excel, and has studied trends and historical data.