When we look back at 2021 many years from now, there’s a fair chance that we will count this year as the one that sewed the seeds of the metaverse. Of course, there’s also the chance that we don’t. People have been talking about the concept for a very long time. Moreover, not everyone agrees with what the metaverse is, or what it should be.

And yet, from the moment that Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg announced his intentions to build the metaverse, it became one of the most important buzzwords of our times. As a result, companies are pouring billions into metaverse startups and stocks broadly linked with the concept. You might doubt what the end product looks like, but there is certainly a lot of enthusiasm.

However, some contend that the metaverse already exists in the gaming sector. We see examples like Decentraland, which is something of a 3D VR platform enjoyed by gamers. Its founders claim that they had already started building the metaverse long before Facebook decided to change its name to Meta.

Working in the metaverse may soon be a reality

But whereas VR gaming experiences are easy to envisage, working in the metaverse is something altogether more difficult. And to be clear, we don’t mean working on metaverse products: We mean working in the metaverse, within the confines of a virtual space. Meta has claimed such roles are possible on a large scale, perhaps even within this decade.

So what would a job in the metaverse look like? It’s fairly simple to break down what initial roles might look like in the earliest incarnations. Most would assume that sectors like retail, entertainment, and customer service would be best suited to evolve from reality to virtual reality within a few years.

Consider, for instance, a job like a casino croupier. Already, we have seen that real casino workers can work at a live casino online. They operate from studios, using real cards, dice, etc., and the action is streamed to your device. While this is not the metaverse, it nevertheless represents a small step in the blurring of reality. You could easily see the next stage coming with VR headsets, allowing the casino games to take place in a shared virtual environment.

Snapchat offers AR shopping for bargain hunters

If you want to look at another example, you might consider clothes retailers. Snapchat, the popular social media app, recently showcased its AR (augmented reality) credentials in time for the annual Black Friday sales rush. It partnered with many big brands to offer customers virtual stores containing clothes and fitting rooms. Again, like the casino example, it’s easy to see how shop assistants might work in these spaces to help people with their purchases.

Going further – and this taps into Meta’s vision for the metaverse – we can see the virtual space being used for work practices that require face-to-face engagement: Job interviews, counseling, doctors appointments, and other types of meetings. Of course, a lot of this already happens online via Zoom, so it’s not a difficult step to imagine it taking place in a virtual environment. There are benefits to it, too. Consider the environmental impact of flying to another country for a business meeting? That’s something that could be solved by the metaverse.

As for the more complicated stuff, it remains speculative. But for the naysayers who believe that working in the metaverse will never become a reality, the roles we have mentioned are not just possible, but probable in the coming years. For many of us, it will require a reordering of our conventions. Yet, in a changing world, it is likely that we will have to adapt.