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Building synthetic worlds: lessons from the excessive infatuation and oversold disillusionment with the Metaverse


Industry and Innovation


Strategy and Entrepreneurship

Authors / Editors

Jacobides M G;Candelon F;Krayer L;Round K;Chen W

Publication Year



The metaverse comprises a range of technologies offering shared digital experiences based on immersive virtual worlds or decentralised economies. Brands, Big Tech, and investors made huge investments in the metaverse, but users did not share their excitement and the bubble duly burst. We explore this story by drawing on a wide range of data sources and first-hand knowledge. We consider the metaverse as a set of overlapping, partly competing ecosystems and expand the lens of industry architecture to Ecosystem Architecture to examine the rules, roles, and responsibilities involved. We find that incumbent firms rushed to embrace the metaverse in the hope of pre-empting disruption and safeguarding their competitive position, leading to over-investment. Greed among ecosystem orchestrators impeded contributors from creating value, while persistent technological shortcomings impaired the user experience. Our study throws new light on the dynamics of innovation and technology hypes and the challenges involved in cultivating and coordinating ecosystems.


Metaverse; Industry evolution; Hype; Innovation dynamics; Ecosystem architecture

Available on ECCH


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