The “Meh”-taverse: Americans Not Sold on Virtual Worlds

September 23, 2022

Presented with a list of potential descriptors of their views of the metaverse, a majority of American adults choose one with a negative connotation, such as it not being interesting to them (39% share), a risk to their privacy (22%), or just a lot of hype (20%), according to survey results contained in an Ipsos report [pdf].

By comparison, only slightly more than one-third said that the metaverse enables them to learn and do new things (19%) or that it’s exciting (17%).

Previously, research from YouGov has found that among 16 new technologies, American adults rated the metaverse towards the bottom of the list (#13) in terms of the most promising, with more seeing the metaverse as bad than good for society.

This latest study from Ipsos indicates that there’s not much interest in various activities in the metaverse, at least for now. About twice as many respondents to a February survey of more than 1,000 US adults said they’re not interested than interested in traveling to a city they’ve always wanted to visit in the metaverse (65% and 35%, respectively), while an even greater share (69%) are not interested in watching a show or movie. As for shopping, just 22% would be interested in going shopping in the metaverse, an even lower figure than found in earlier research.

Consistent with a previous study showing that interest in the metaverse is higher among youth, separate results from a survey of more than 1,000 US adults contained in the Ipsos report reveal that youth tend to be more interested in virtual world activities than their older counterparts. Among Gen Z and Millennial adults, the broadest degree of interest is reserved for entertainment experiences (45%), though only 7% of Boomers and older show interest.

For Gen Xers, connecting with friends and family is the activity they would most be interested in, with one-third (33%) expressing interest. For those of Boomer age and older, the largest proportion (22%) would be interested in training for a job skill. Other research from Ipsos has found that, globally, people believe that virtual learning is the metaverse application that could most significantly impact people’s lives. In fact, this latest report shows that training for a personal skill is the only activity that Gen Xers would be as interested in as Gen Zers and Millennials.

Overall, 59% of respondents of Boomer age or older said they would not be interested in any of the 9 activities listed, as did 43% of Gen Xers. Just 16% of Gen Zers and Millennials said they wouldn’t be interested in any of the activities, though there was not any single activity that a majority would like to participate in.

For more, check out the report here.


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