Study: People May Soon Spend Up to Five Hours in the Metaverse Daily

A recent McKinsey report broke down some myths about our immersive digital world, including how we'll really use AR/VR

Woman with virtual reality glasses. A new McKinsey study suggests users may spend up to 5 hours per day in the metaverse.
Can you see yourself doing this five hours per day?
F.J. Jimenez / Getty

Not everyone can define what the metaverse is, but a recent study by McKinsey suggests Gen Z, millennials and Gen X consumers may spend between four and five hours a day in this 3-D internet in the next five years.

As reported by Quartz, the study surveyed over 1,000 consumers aged 13 to 70 about their expected transition from laptops and smartphones to devices for virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Interestingly, consumers currently spend roughly five hours a day watching TV across different platforms, suggesting that our VR/AR future may soon equal our streaming present.

The McKinsey study also countered several myths regarding the metaverse, including the idea that most people can’t properly define the term; 55 percent of survey respondents said they had heard of at least one existing metaverse platform (like Decentraland) and 47 percent “described the metaverse with vibrant clarity.” As well, the study suggests that users may not just be gamers, but are more likely to be shoppers, travelers or even just people interested in better telehealth options; playing social games actually came in ninth in a survey of immersive internet activities.

One of the most interesting findings, however, centered on relationships: It turns out around 10 percent of the population has actually already tried augmented reality (AR) or metaverse dating, and a “majority enjoyed it more than the real-life alternative.” That coincides with a plethora of VR-based dating apps that have sprung up recently, which offer several advantages over current Web 2.0 dating apps — including the introduction of voice, avatars and other sensory identifiers.

As Dazed notes in its recent Future of Sex article, companies like Nevermet think the metaverse is actually ideal for dating. “We found that traditional dating apps don’t really work for 80 percent of the population using them because they’re all architected around pictures first, which focuses the entire experience on physical attraction before opening a chat where you can get to the deeper aspects of connection and compatibility,” Nevermet’s creators note, suggesting their avatar-based approach has its advantages. “You can design in any way you represent yourself, and [go] out on amazing, out-of-this-world dates in the metaverse together.”

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