Will Best Buy rule the metaverse?
With more people than ever talking about an impending virtual reality revolution and speculating about an eventual consumer move to a shared VR metaverse, some say Best Buy is primed to emerge as the go-to retailer for the hardware that people need to get plugged in.
Brokerage and advisory firm Loop Capital Markets takes the stance that Best Buy is positioned to leverage emerging enthusiasm for non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and virtual gaming/socializing, according to CNBC. In Loop’s approximation, the chain possesses advantages in its physical store environment, which allows customers to try on/test out new VR technology, and in the presence of in-store experts who set up technology (with an add-on cost attached). Loop sees a financial opportunity for Best Buy in becoming an integral part of the upgrade cycle for VR technology, selling higher-end and pricier PCs, displays, VR helmets and ancillary equipment as they come to market and replace outmoded ones.
The metaverse was all over the news late last year, with Facebook just before the holiday season renaming itself Meta to reflect an emerging VR focus. Over Christmas, the company’s Oculus app — required to operate the VR hardware of the same name — emerged as the top seller on Apple’s App Store for the first time during the holiday, according to another CNBC report.
Not all VR news has been positive. A recent Wall Street Journal article detailing rather severe VR-related injuries may give pause to those considering immersing themselves in the technology and the loss of spatial and situational awareness that comes with it.
Best Buy has actively searched for emerging trends in the tech and gadget space to stay on top of since successfully pursuing a turnaround in the mid-2010s.
Late last year the chain announced the acquisition of Current Health, a remote patient monitoring and telehealth company. The purchase marked a continuation of the retailer’s moves into healthcare IT. Earlier, when the tech world was buzzing about the prospects of IoT technology, Best Buy launched a program called Assured Living meant to facilitate older adults aging at home with the help of customized, integrated suites of in-home wired devices.
- Best Buy could cash in from rise of the metaverse, analyst says – CNBC
- How the metaverse won Christmas – CNBC
- VR to the ER: Metaverse Early Adopters Prove Accident Prone – The Wall Street Journal
- Will Best Buy’s latest acquisition be a healthy addition for the chain? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see Best Buy being one of the main beneficiaries of the adoption of virtual reality tech by consumers? What should other retailers in the gadget/device world do to position themselves successfully in this space and compete with Best Buy?