During the ongoing World Government Summit, Dubai announced that it will be setting up its first virtual mall in the metaverse. Named the “Mall of the Metaverse”, the mall is currently in the initial stages of development and the team is currently working on gathering all the necessary information about customer expectations when it comes to a virtual mall.
Developed and owned by the Majid Al Futtaim Group, the virtual mall will be located in Decentraland, which is one of the most advanced and highly developed platforms available within the metaverse.
For the unaware, Decentraland is a decentralized, autonomous, and virtual 3-dimensional world within the Metaverse where the MANA tokens are used for transactions.
Players within Decentraland can buy, hold, or sell land, NFTs, and other in-game items using the MANA tokens. Decentraland also works as a great platform for people interested in socializing in their virtual metaverse land.
Mall of the Metaverse to Offer Immersive Retail and Leisure Experiences
The Mall of the Metaverse will be open to the public after multiple testing stages to ensure that all the people within the Metaverse have a positive and immersive experience while exploring the mall.
According to the statement during the official announcement, a mall is a place for those who seek an increased digital experience across leisure, retail, and entertainment offerings available within the metaverse.
Once opened, the mall will have virtual versions of VOX Cinemas, Carrefour, Ghawali, THAT Concept Store, and also a Samsung Store. Many more stores, features, and exciting experiences will be added in the near future to give users a real-life experience while visiting the virtual mall.
With operations in 13 countries across the Middle East & North Africa and Asia, the Majid Al Futtaim Group is no stranger to large-scale projects and innovative ideas. The group owns and operates several popular malls across Dubai, including the Mall of the Emirates and Mirdif City Centre.
Speaking at the announcement event, Khalifa bin Braik, CEO of Majid Al Futtaim Asset Management, stated that the Mall of the Metaverse will become a top destination for entertainment, retail, and futuristic experiences within the metaverse.
He added that “It will surely become a great attraction for customers who are very much interested in digital experiences from the brands that they love most.”
Also speaking at the event was Fatima Zada, the Director of Omnichannel and Digital at Majid Al Futtaim Shopping Malls, who highlighted the fact that there has been a notable increase in demand within the past few years for digital experiences.
She also said “The team at Majid Al Futtaim utilizes the technologies and data related to behavioral science to understand and deliver on what customers truly desire from a digital retail and leisure experience. Our in-depth observation of customer requirements, followed by the subsequent planning and testing stages has led to the full-fledged “Mall of the Metaverse” project that is definitely a step ahead of the current shopping experience.”
The UAE government as well as leading businesses in the country have been heavily focusing on the metaverse, as it’s considered to be one of the technologies that will take the internet to its next iteration. Recently the UAE also announced its plans to set up the first hospital in the metaverse.
The hospital, which was set up by the Medcare Hospitals & Medical Centres operating under the Aster DM Healthcare brand became the first healthcare facility from the United Arab Emirates to be present within the metaverse. The virtual hospital, jointly developed with the help of BIOMETAVERSE, went live on October 11, 2022.
Ajman-based Thumbay Group had also announced their plans to launch a virtual hospital experience within the metaverse. To further accelerate the developments in the metaverse space, the official “Dubai Metaverse Strategy” was announced which aims to transform Dubai into a global metaverse leader.
According to the strategy, Dubai aims to attract over 1,000 companies in the fields of metaverse and blockchain which in turn is expected to add over $2 billion to the UAE’s economy and create over 40,000 jobs by the year 2030.
The metaverse strategy is in line with the vision of the UAE leadership to diversify and boost the country’s economy, attract talented professionals into the country, and take the UAE into its next stage.
Several UAE-based companies are investing heavily to offer superior experiences within the metaverse. Damac Properties, which is one of the biggest property developers in the country, had announced plans last year to invest $100 in expanding their presence within the metaverse through “D-Labs”, a new initiative that aims at offering virtual experiences of their homes and properties within the metaverse for interested buyers.
The ongoing World Government Summit also has had serious discussions on the future of concepts such as the metaverse.
A report with the title “Governing the Metaverse” was launched during the summit detailing the opportunities that the metaverse holds in the fields of education, healthcare, energy, etc., and also put forward proposals and recommendations that focus on implementing governance policies to ensure that the metaverse remains a sustainable environment.