Startups

Over 500 mobile apps are now using the term ‘metaverse’ to attract new users

Comment

Person with an Experiences of Metaverse Virtual World via Smart Phone.
Image Credits: BlackSalmon (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

A true “metaverse” may not yet exist, but that hasn’t stopped marketers from adopting the buzzword to promote their apps and games on mobile app stores. According to new data shared today by Sensor Tower, there are now 552 mobile apps that include the term “metaverse” in their apps’ titles or descriptions, in hopes of capturing consumer interest in this next evolution of the web. And many of the new additions were added in just the past few months, the firm notes.

Across all global apps ranked on 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’s data indicates.

Image Credits: Sensor Tower

 

This time frame follows Facebook’s announcement of its corporate rebrand to “Meta,” and its plans to invest heavily in “metaverse” technologies over the coming decade. While Facebook, now Meta, never claimed to have already built the metaverse, the word soon began to be used much more casually to describe nearly any immersive online environment where people interact with one another 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 dubbed metaverses, prompting land rushes for metaverse real estate. And so on.

It seems that marketers didn’t much care about the actual technical requirements for the metaverse to exist — like the new industry standards that would need to be built to allow for movement between interoperable digital worlds, where all your friends, connections and virtual “stuff” comes 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 by November. As of the end of November, 29 apps had been updated to include the word, more than double the 11 apps in October.

The new firm also analyzed what sorts of apps were tapping into the metaverse trend. It found that many of the apps also referenced other popular tech terms alongside the word “metaverse” — like “crypto,” “NFTs,” “AR” or “VR,” for example.

Image Credits: Sensor Tower

Of these, “crypto” was the most common term to be spotted alongside “metaverse,” with 23% of apps (144 total apps) mentioning the term. That’s not surprising, given that the web3 crypto community relies heavily on hype these days, and dubbing something the “metaverse” before it even exists is certainly the definition of hype. “NFTs” was the second-most popular term, appearing in 18% of the studied group, or 118 total apps. The terms “AR” and “VR” were found in 11% and 9% of the “metaverse” apps, respectively.

Image Credits: Sensor Tower

The term “metaverse” was also surprisingly used across a wide variety of apps, not just games and crypto finance apps.

However, mobile game publishers led the adoption of the keyword, as 107 apps in the Game category now reference the term, or 19% of the apps studied. 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.)

As to whether or not the addition of the word “metaverse” to these apps is working to bring in users remains less clear. While it’s clearly been adopted to capitalize on users’ app store searches for the word, apps that succeed in this market are likely just offering better user experiences than those that aren’t.

Is China building the metaverse?

More TechCrunch

Copilot, Microsoft’s brand of generative AI, will soon be far more deeply integrated into the Windows 11 experience.

Microsoft Build 2024: All the AI and hardware products Microsoft announced

Hello and welcome back to TechCrunch Space. For those who haven’t heard, the first crewed launch of Boeing’s Starliner capsule has been pushed back yet again to no earlier than…

TechCrunch Space: Star(side)liner

When I attended Automate in Chicago a few weeks back, multiple people thanked me for TechCrunch’s semi-regular robotics job report. It’s always edifying to get that feedback in person. While…

These 81 robotics companies are hiring

The top vehicle safety regulator in the U.S. has launched a formal probe into an April crash involving the all-electric VinFast VF8 SUV that claimed the lives of a family…

VinFast crash that killed family of four now under federal investigation

When putting a video portal in a public park in the middle of New York City, some inappropriate behavior will likely occur. The Portal, the vision of Lithuanian artist and…

NYC-Dublin real-time video portal reopens with some fixes to prevent inappropriate behavior

Longtime New York-based seed investor, Contour Venture Partners, is making progress on its latest flagship fund after lowering its target. The firm closed on $42 million, raised from 64 backers,…

Contour Venture Partners, an early investor in Datadog and Movable Ink, lowers the target for its fifth fund

Meta’s Oversight Board has now extended its scope to include the company’s newest platform, Instagram Threads, and has begun hearing cases from Threads.

Meta’s Oversight Board takes its first Threads case

The company says it’s refocusing and prioritizing fewer initiatives that will have the biggest impact on customers and add value to the business.

SeekOut, a recruiting startup last valued at $1.2 billion, lays off 30% of its workforce

The U.K.’s self-proclaimed “world-leading” regulations for self-driving cars are now official, after the Automated Vehicles (AV) Act received royal assent — the final rubber stamp any legislation must go through…

UK’s autonomous vehicle legislation becomes law, paving the way for first driverless cars by 2026

ChatGPT, OpenAI’s text-generating AI chatbot, has taken the world by storm. What started as a tool to hyper-charge productivity through writing essays and code with short text prompts has evolved…

ChatGPT: Everything you need to know about the AI-powered chatbot

SoLo Funds CEO Travis Holoway: “Regulators seem driven by press releases when they should be motivated by true consumer protection and empowering equitable solutions.”

Fintech lender SoLo Funds is being sued again by the government over its lending practices

Hard tech startups generate a lot of buzz, but there’s a growing cohort of companies building digital tools squarely focused on making hard tech development faster, more efficient and —…

Rollup wants to be the hardware engineer’s workhorse

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is not just about groundbreaking innovations, insightful panels, and visionary speakers — it’s also about listening to YOU, the audience, and what you feel is top of…

Disrupt Audience Choice vote closes Friday

Google says the new SDK would help Google expand on its core mission of connecting the right audience to the right content at the right time.

Google is launching a new Android feature to drive users back into their installed apps

Jolla has taken the official wraps off the first version of its personal server-based AI assistant in the making. The reborn startup is building a privacy-focused AI device — aka…

Jolla debuts privacy-focused AI hardware

OpenAI is removing one of the voices used by ChatGPT after users found that it sounded similar to Scarlett Johansson, the company announced on Monday. The voice, called Sky, is…

OpenAI to remove ChatGPT’s Scarlett Johansson-like voice

The ChatGPT mobile app’s net revenue first jumped 22% on the day of the GPT-4o launch and continued to grow in the following days.

ChatGPT’s mobile app revenue saw its biggest spike yet following GPT-4o launch

Dating app maker Bumble has acquired Geneva, an online platform built around forming real-world groups and clubs. The company said that the deal is designed to help it expand its…

Bumble buys community building app Geneva to expand further into friendships

CyberArk — one of the army of larger security companies founded out of Israel — is acquiring Venafi, a specialist in machine identity, for $1.54 billion. 

CyberArk snaps up Venafi for $1.54B to ramp up in machine-to-machine security

Founder-market fit is one of the most crucial factors in a startup’s success, and operators (someone involved in the day-to-day operations of a startup) turned founders have an almost unfair advantage…

OpenseedVC, which backs operators in Africa and Europe starting their companies, reaches first close of $10M fund

A Singapore High Court has effectively approved Pine Labs’ request to shift its operations to India.

Pine Labs gets Singapore court approval to shift base to India

The AI Safety Institute, a U.K. body that aims to assess and address risks in AI platforms, has said it will open a second location in San Francisco. 

UK opens office in San Francisco to tackle AI risk

Companies are always looking for an edge, and searching for ways to encourage their employees to innovate. One way to do that is by running an internal hackathon around a…

Why companies are turning to internal hackathons

Featured Article

I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Women in tech still face a shocking level of mistreatment at work. Melinda French Gates is one of the few working to change that.

1 day ago
I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s  broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Blue Origin has successfully completed its NS-25 mission, resuming crewed flights for the first time in nearly two years. The mission brought six tourist crew members to the edge of…

Blue Origin successfully launches its first crewed mission since 2022

Creative Artists Agency (CAA), one of the top entertainment and sports talent agencies, is hoping to be at the forefront of AI protection services for celebrities in Hollywood. With many…

Hollywood agency CAA aims to help stars manage their own AI likenesses

Expedia says Rathi Murthy and Sreenivas Rachamadugu, respectively its CTO and senior vice president of core services product & engineering, are no longer employed at the travel booking company. In…

Expedia says two execs dismissed after ‘violation of company policy’

Welcome back to TechCrunch’s Week in Review. This week had two major events from OpenAI and Google. OpenAI’s spring update event saw the reveal of its new model, GPT-4o, which…

OpenAI and Google lay out their competing AI visions

When Jeffrey Wang posted to X asking if anyone wanted to go in on an order of fancy-but-affordable office nap pods, he didn’t expect the post to go viral.

With AI startups booming, nap pods and Silicon Valley hustle culture are back

OpenAI’s Superalignment team, responsible for developing ways to govern and steer “superintelligent” AI systems, was promised 20% of the company’s compute resources, according to a person from that team. But…

OpenAI created a team to control ‘superintelligent’ AI — then let it wither, source says