Nike Airphoria

The metaverse is not dead yet

While commentators have been lining up to gleefully dance on the grave of the m-word, Epic Games has been quietly advancing its offering on Fortnite. We talk to them about what’s coming next

The hype cycle in tech and advertising has always moved fast, but nothing has so dramatically soared and then crashed to earth as quickly as the metaverse. For roughly 18 months it was all anyone could talk about, before being proclaimed as ‘over’, as the herd shifted to espousing on generative AI instead.

Hold on though. While the columnists may have moved on from the metaverse, it’s quietly been developing in the background, particularly in the space where it was always already in existence: gaming.

At the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity last month, one of the few brands that was still openly talking about the metaverse was Epic Games. The brand behind Fortnite and Unreal Engine was on stage at the festival to talk about its forthcoming collaboration with Lego, and also unveiled a new immersive experience created with Nike, titled Airphoria. Both projects signal new directions for the Fortnite platform, and hint at how brands will mix digital and real worlds in the future to exciting effect.