What is a Chief Metaverse officer? And do we need one?

While big tech companies are fighting for this role, the position has received scepticism and criticism online, even compared to being a social media guru.

Within the dynamically growing data and artificial intelligence industry, the role of the traditional CEO is becoming redundant and replaced with more specialised leadership roles like the chief data officer or the chief technology officer. Lately, the Metaverse has become the talk of the town. While the concept is still developing, big tech companies like Meta and Roblox have already begun providing users with experiences in this virtual mirror of reality. Given recent developments, it is no surprise that the ‘Chief Metaverse Officer’ might become the next big leadership role. 

Web 3.0 and the Metaverse concepts are still new and complicated, but essentially, one can think of Web 3.0 as a virtual space connecting people with places and things, a step up from Web 2.0 that connected people with people. Cathay Hackl, Chief Metaverse Officer, Futures Intelligence Group, illustrated this idea in a LinkedIn post. She said, “Imagine walking down the street. Suddenly, you think of a product you need. Immediately next to you, a vending machine appears, filled with the product and variations you were thinking of. You stop, pick an item from the vending machine, it’s shipped to your house, and then continue on your way.”

The need for a Chief Metaverse Officer

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This role of a Chief Metaverse Officer has been gaining attention recently, given the need for expertise and speciality in managing the Metaverse and its offerings. Luxury fashion brands have dived headfirst into Metaverse collaborations, exhibitions, and fashion shows. Along with them, big tech companies are fighting for the best tech talent to build their Metaverse platforms. Companies like Nike, Balenciaga and Disney are also hiring for specific Metaverse related jobs. But while companies hire engineers to work on virtual reality, they would need someone in a leadership position to oversee it. This has led experts to predict the increasing trend of having the Chief Metaverse Officer role. 

As Vogue reported, at present, luxury brands such as Ralph Lauren have their CDOs or CCOs still overseeing Metaverse projects. Gucci has introduced a new role of ‘director of new business gaming and collectables’ while Burberry’s Metaverse dive is managed by the channel innovation team and the digital commerce function. The role already exists in several companies such as the Futures Intelligence Group, Zepeto, MetaFrames.io, Shadow Factory, PHYGICODE and more. 

Defining a Chief Metaverse Officer

In an interview with Freethink, Hackl defined her job profile as a “professionally trained futurist and strategist, who has worked with Amazon Web Services (AWS), Magic Leap, and HTC VIVE, and helps brands understand how this new paradigm will affect their businesses.” As the CMO of the Futures Intelligence Group, Hackl is in charge of working with top brands to help them grow on the Metaverse. She does this through Metaverse growth strategies, NFTs, gaming, virtual fashion, and advising on extending their brands into virtual worlds. 

Essentially, a Chief Metaverse Officer would be someone with experience in the technology industry with deep knowledge about video games and the Web 3.0 ecosystem. Along with technical, they are also expected to be well-versed with the creative side of the market. This includes knowing and recruiting individuals with a background in development platforms such as Unreal Engine, Unity and CryEngine skills or Blender and Maya to have a vision of the Metaverse environment. They would need to have expertise in cryptocurrency, cloud computing, blockchain, and gaming engines on the technical side. 

The Chief Metaverse Officer manages the organisation’s brand, image, mission and vision across various virtual platforms and accessories. Hackl further told Vogue about the several responsibilities of a Chief Metaverse Officer. These include liaising between people and projects such as virtual goods, NFTs, virtual avatars and more. They will be the person in charge, or the ‘point person’ representing the organisation and coordinating with the various customers and teams. The need for a good communicator with soft skills is becoming increasingly important in data science, and the Chief Metaverse Officer is just that person. They will be responsible for translating Metaverse’s technical ideas and the brands’ creative ideas to build an enriching experience. Web 3.0 is filled with ideas and projects as of now, but most of them have yet to take off. Chief Metaverse Officers will help make innovations a reality because they understand and can work with the new space.

The future of the Chief Metaverse Officer

Hackl anticipates the luxury and progressive brands to consider introducing this role internally by 2023. While big tech companies are fighting for this role, the position has received scepticism and criticism online, even compared to being a social media guru.

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Avi Gopani
Avi Gopani is a technology journalist that seeks to analyse industry trends and developments from an interdisciplinary perspective at Analytics India Magazine. Her articles chronicle cultural, political and social stories that are curated with a focus on the evolving technologies of artificial intelligence and data analytics.

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