Washington DC, January 24, 2022– Sci-fi writer Neal Stephenson coined the term 'metaverse' in 1992 to describe a 3D virtual space. While it sat quiet for many years, metaverse has taken off since October 2021 when Facebook rebranded as Meta and has continued with Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard this month.
A set of rapid pulse surveys conducted by Ipsos through our proprietary Ipsos Digital platform shows that two in five (38%) of Americans state they are very or somewhat familiar with the metaverse, with significant differences by age and by the presence of children in the household: one in two (53%) of those with children in the household, 53% of those 18 to 34, 45% of those aged 35 to 54 and 20% of those age 55 or older report familiarity with the term.
Awareness of the metaverse is lower than reported familiarity with "virtual reality" (69% familiar), "cryptocurrency" (56%) or "augmented reality" (40%), but similar to reported familiarity with "NFTs" (37%) or the "internet of things" (35%).
However, less than majority of those familiar are able to correctly identify the metaverse as a “a virtual, computer-generated world where people can socialize, work and play” (42% of those familiar; 16% overall). One in ten (10%) believe the metaverse is “a new social networking platform”, 9% select “A huge tech company that has developed consumer services in lots of different areas'' and 9% describe the metaverse as “A new internet experience which links together multiple sites and platforms.”
Among those familiar, the metaverse is associated with the future of technology and excitement. One in three of those familiar describe the metaverse as “the future of technology” and 23% describe metaverse as “a really exciting way to play and socialize.” Those familiar report feeling curious (41%), excited (35%) or optimistic (25%).
Those who are initially familiar with the metaverse have different emotional reactions than those who are informed about the metaverse in the survey. Comparatively, those informed about metaverse in the survey feel a mix of uninterested (34%) and curious (29%).
While the overall findings suggest there is a positive anticipation for the metaverse, there is also some suspicion and concerns. 21% of those familiar and 25% of those unfamiliar say they are “suspicious” of the metaverse. And, one in four (23%) believe the metaverse is “tech companies trying to figure out a new way to make money.”
Meta (formerly Facebook) has the highest association with the metaverse among a series of companies and brands tested with 45% of respondents making the association between Meta and the metaverse. Google has the next highest ranking at 22%, followed by Oculus at 19%, and Microsoft at 18%. Notably, gaming platforms and developers have lower association with PlayStation at 15%, Xbox at 14%, Roblox at 11% and Epic Games at 10%.
Julia Roland, Senior Vice-President with Ipsos Media Development, commented: “Strong levels of consumer awareness, excitement and curiosity offer positive signals for companies investing in the metaverse. As with any tech adoption, there is a good measure of confusion, skepticism and indifference. Alongside technical development, companies will need to build clarity and understanding about what the metaverse is and how it will benefit consumers.”
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About This Study
This Ipsos Digital poll was conducted in two parts from January 21st to January 24th using our proprietary Ipsos Digital Platform. The first poll was conducted in 12 hours across January 21st and January 22nd, 2022 and the second over 9 hours between January 23rd and 24th, 2022. Both polls are based on a nationally representative sample of 1,001 general population adults aged 18 or older. The data is weighted so that the sample composition best reflects the demographic profile of the U.S. adult population according to the most recent census data. The precision of Ipsos online polls is calculated using a credibility interval with a poll of 1,000 accurate to +/- 3.5 percentage points. For more information on the Ipsos use of credibility intervals, please visit the Ipsos website.
For more information on Ipsos Digital, please visit: https://www.ipsos.com/en/digital-platform.
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