Authors: Dr. Marcus F. Demmelmair, Dr. Felix Friederich, Nikolas Spatz, and Dr. Severin Lienhard

Over the last 3 years, Metaverse applications were hyped quite prominently. With high interest rates and a slowing economy, companies are refocusing on their bread-and-butter business. Hence, the big question is how Metaverse applications can help to boost firms’ growth and profitability? Dr. Marcus F. Demmelmair ( is the Head of Pricing & Commercial Excellence at Horváth Germany, Dr. Felix Friederich ( is Consultant at Horváth Germany, Nikolas Spatz ( is a Senior Consultant at Horváth USA, and Dr. Severin Lienhard ( is a Consultant at Horváth Switzerland.

The Pricing Advisor, February 2024


The global revenue of the Metaverse reached approximately $82 billion in 2023, with projections indicating a surge to $937 billion by 2030 (+ 42% CAGR).[1] The Metaverse offers users an immersive virtual experience and multisensory interactions by merging physical reality with digital virtuality, involving the ownership of digital assets and social interactions.[2]

The Metaverse comes with massive commercial potential for businesses and organizations. They can sell virtual goods (e.g., avatar customization items such as clothing or accessories), virtual real estate (e.g., virtual properties within virtual worlds), digital collectibles (e.g., virtual artwork), experiences (e.g., virtual events or concerts), and other virtual assets within virtual worlds that remain yet to be explored. Despite the widespread excitement surrounding the Metaverse, businesses still grapple with the complexities associated with its commercialization. Consequently, we delineate the concept of the Metaverse and provide practical guidance for businesses seeking to capitalize on its monetization potential, specifically focusing on the following:

  1. Define the Metaverse and classify main use cases,
  2. Introduce the Metaverse monetization framework and derive monetization potentials, and
  3. Outline immediate next steps to exploit the Metaverse potential.

The Metaverse: Definition and classification

We first establish a framework that defines the Metaverse and associated terminology to provide a foundation for subsequent discussion (see Table 1). After, we classify typical Metaverse applications regarding real-world- or purely digital relations and use cases.

Table 1. Metaverse definitions and boundary delimitations.[3]

The Metaverse: Overhyped and under-monetized?

We can cluster applications depending on whether a Metaverse is used to solve real-world or pure virtual use cases. For example, office applications (e.g., remote work or hybrid spaces) provided by, for instance, Virtuworx or Teamflow, are running platforms in the Metaverse. Yet, they solve real-world use cases for organizations. The same applies to decentralized medical data platforms. While user data is collected virtually, the applications solve real-world problems by providing anonymous user data to researchers and healthcare facilities (e.g., DeHealth). On the other hand, Metaverse applications such as real estate (e.g., Earth2 or Decentraland), gaming platforms (e.g., Fortnite or Sorare) or digital collectibles (such as Non-fungible Tokens – NFTs), are pure-play digital assets as their value creation is digital.[4]

The Metaverse monetization framework and its monetization potentials

Based on this understanding, we have developed a framework for monetizing the Metaverse. This framework is based on Metaverse applications and business offerings. The framework’s x-axis describes the Metaverse application. It defines the extent to which the application originates from or relates to the real world (e.g., office applications), or is purely available or created for the digital world (e.g., virtual real estate). The y-axis describes the extent to which a business offering, a product or service, is already commercialized or is yet to be developed or created. Thus, four zones are derived, as illustrated in Figure 1. In the following, all four framework zones are explained using examples of financial institutions.[5]

Zone 1 – Transfer: In this zone, the applications originate and relate to the real world while representing a current offering of the business. For instance, a financial institution has offerings such as financial advisory, brand engagement (forming a bond between customers and brands), commercial meetings, or even physical branches. These offerings can be transferred to the Metaverse, as customers might require advisory about real (non-virtual) accounts, which might be especially helpful for customers with physical restrictions.

Within this zone, three pricing logics can apply. First, prices can be set by comparing them to the “next best alternative.” This means that prices of the physical, financial advisory service are considered and related to the service offered via the Metaverse. While there are still non-negligible procurement and operational costs in the Metaverse (e.g., minting processes, mainly reflected in the gas fees associated with blockchain transactions), businesses are nonetheless likely to have a lower cost base in the digital space. Therefore, businesses can set the price (slightly) lower than the price of the physical “next best alternative.” Second, a competition-based logic can be applied by analyzing the offerings of leading competitors. This market analysis informs the business’s pricing strategy, ensuring competitiveness in the virtual space. Lastly, a value-based pricing logic can be utilized. Businesses can understand how customers perceive the value of the virtual service offered in the Metaverse. This involves identifying what aspects of the digital offering, in this case, financial advisory, are most appealing and valuable to customers. To do this, companies can rely on traditional market research methods or use user interaction data in the Metaverse. For instance, younger target groups may perceive higher value in virtual financial advisory, allowing businesses to capitalize on this perception. On top of this, network externalities increase the offering’s value. They might even result in behavioral effects known in the virtual world, such as evoked fear of missing out.

Figure 1. The Metaverse monetization framework and exemplary applications.

The Metaverse: Overhyped and under-monetized?

Zone 2 – Adapt: In this zone, the applications have no relation to the real world. They are already completely digital as they were created in a purely digital context. However, these applications reflect the business’s current offerings, as in zone 1. For instance, virtual spaces in the Metaverse have elements that parallel (digital) products in the real world (e.g., in-game currency and digital assets). Businesses can therefore adapt existent digital offerings and core competencies. In relation to financial institutions, cross-border payments, financial assets creation, trading and safekeeping to purely digital worlds (e.g., real estate trading in the Decentraland) are several examples. In this zone, typically two pricing logics apply. First, analogous to zone 1, pricing via next best alternative can apply by considering the price of similar digital services in a non-virtual space. Secondly, value-based logic can be employed. For example, in terms of digital collectibles that might be offered, their intrinsic value represents an opportunity to optimize the pricing structure by capitalizing on the perceived value attributed to such assets. Historically, this value has been particularly substantial. For instance, NFT artwork sales, such as the CryptoPunk #5822 for $23.7 million in 2022, or Nike, the multination brand, that reported more than $180 million through NFT sales in 2022.[6]

Zone 3 – Create: In this zone, applications stem from and have a connection to the real world. Yet, these applications represent a business offering that is still to be developed. For instance, new offerings are created – such as cryptocurrencies, financial asset exchanges or real-world contractual agreements via the Metaverse. Yet, the commercial activities relate and originate to the real world (e.g., European clients buying non-virtual assets in Australia via the Metaverse without temporal and physical restrictions). The competitive rivalry within this zone remains relatively low, primarily attributable to the scarcity of market entries. Additionally, the next best alternative pricing is less applicable here, as the new offering has no physical counterpart to consider. Consequently, businesses are advised to prioritize the adoption of value-based logic, analog to zone 1 and 2, capitalizing on the value that customers attach to these virtual products or services. Secondly, the rapid generation of vast amounts of data within virtual worlds and the capacity to efficiently collect and harness this data empowers businesses to embrace dynamic pricing approaches. Companies can, therefore, set prices based on factors such as demand, scarcity (not least because of the low level of competitive rivalry), and customer transactions. Such data-driven strategies allow for real-time adjustments to pricing, catering to customers’ dynamic demands in the virtual environment.

Zone 4 – Extend: In this zone, the applications are new and target the digital world, serving as a representation of a forthcoming business offering that is yet to be developed. For instance, financial institutions can offer services via employed digital agents that operate in virtual branches and advise on digital business cases (e.g., real estate trading digital agents advising on profitable investment opportunities across Metaverse platforms), hence extending new offerings to purely digital opportunities. The lack of competitive rivalry within this zone, as well as the low applicability of next-best alternative pricing, contributes to the prominence of value-based logic as viable strategy. Consequently, businesses operating in this zone are well-positioned to apply value-based pricing logic and monetize the value drivers of the offered products and services. Moreover, the advent of novel offerings within entirely virtual worlds opens opportunities for implementing dynamic pricing approaches, similar to zone 3.

After outlining our monetization framework, we demonstrate potential viable monetization schemes in the Metaverse. For this, we show a simplified illustration of several monetization mechanisms for selected Metaverse applications (see Figure 2).[7]

As shown in Figure 2, current gaming applications exemplify a remarkable advancement in terms of monetization potential. This is attributed to their aptitude for capitalizing on diverse revenue streams, including subscription-based models, sales of virtual goods, and the organization of virtual events. Similarly, digital collectibles show substantial monetization potential, presenting an additional domain with promising revenue-generating capabilities.

Figure 2. Potential Metaverse monetization mechanisms.

The Metaverse: Overhyped and under-monetized?

Immediate next steps

The current economic situation makes businesses refocus on their core commercial activities. However, despite the flattening hype, the Metaverse presents substantial monetization potential to create new revenue streams, particularly in the current situation. Based on our Metaverse monetization framework and Metaverse application overview, we guide deriving fitting pricing strategies to leverage these potentials. To start the journey of monetizing in the Metaverse, here is an outline for the next critical steps:

  1. Start: Analyze your current offering(s) and weigh potential, technical feasibility, and economic viability for Metaverse applications.
  2. Pilot: Introduce pilot offering in rapid deployment to identify potential monetization quicks wins. Collect market feedback and improve as well as supplement offering if necessary.
  3. Boost: Launch fitting offering in selected platforms based on customer segments, positioning, and use case. While steering control metrics, develop strategy for long-term Metaverse application initiatives.

The monetization potential of the Metaverse is vast. Now is the time to get started, become part of the party, create applications, and excel in monetizing the offers.


Horváth Research (2023). Metaverse framework. Internal source.

Statista (2023). Metaverse market revenue worldwide from 2022 to 2030(in billion U.S. dollars).,at%2065.5%20billion%20U.S.%20dollars.

Yahoo finance (2023).


  1. Statista (2023).
  2. Horváth Research (2023).
  3. Horváth Research (2023).
  4. Due to the still embryonic and dynamically evolving Metaverse environment, several applications cannot yet be clearly separated between real and purely virtual.
  5. We chose financial institutions as an example because several companies in this sector have already implemented Metaverse applications, making the illustration tangible.
  6. Yahoo finance (2023).
  7. Products displayed not exhaustive, for illustration reason only.

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