Now that the metaverse is seemingly here to stay, companies are scrambling to build their own virtual worlds, even if they’re not tech companies.
Last week, Facebook announced it was changing its name to Meta to focus on building a metaverse (and possibly to distract from the avalanche of criticism, whistleblowing, and lawsuits). Microsoft, meanwhile, announced this week that it would build its own metaverse for the workplace to rival Meta’s Horizon Workrooms. It may be a brave new virtual world, but PowerPoint and Excel aren’t going anywhere.
Most recently, rumors circulated that Nike was getting in on the game, based on a handful of new trademarks filed last week for some of its most iconic brands and products. According to the filings, the “swoosh” logo and “Just do it” slogan were trademarked specifically "for use online and in online virtual worlds." The shoemaker is also hiring software designers for its own metaverse.
According to our data, the rumors are true. Nike and six other major companies are hiring for metaverse-related positions: Amazon, Roblox, Microsoft, Facebook, Bitfury, and accounting firm KPMG. These listings not only contain the word “metaverse” in them, but directly relate to the creation of one. Each listing was posted within the past month.
Nike is hiring two “virtual material designers” to “play a key role in redefining our digital world, ushering us into the metaverse, and growing our team’s capabilities,” according to the listings. While it’s unclear exactly what Nike plans to create, the role’s responsibilities include “exploring, iterating, and visualizing new material concepts. You will achieve this through creating procedural materials that can be parameterized and shared with design.“
Game platform Roblox has 268 listings, the most of any company. While some listings may not be metaverse-focused, many look like this listing for a “principal tools engineer - avatar appearance.”
Each listing includes a summary of Roblox’s goals for its metaverse: “Our vision is to build a platform that enables shared experiences among billions of users. This is what’s known as the metaverse: a persistent space where anyone can do just about anything they can imagine, from anywhere in the world and on any device. The breadth of opportunities, and the evolving demands of this first-of-its-kind platform, ensure that your avenues for growth are always expanding and flexible.”
Meta (as Facebook’s parent company is now called), naturally, has a wide range of metaverse-related listings from more technical roles like software development to marketing. Highlights among the 97 listings include Game Designer, Product Marketing Manager, and Content Strategist for Horizon Media.
Microsoft is hiring for three roles, including one for Business Development Manager, which focuses on “Identify game development studios, game concepts, licenses and characters that support Microsoft’s global interactive entertainment content strategy and production needs across Microsoft’s hardware, software and services.”
Bitfury, an emerging blockchain technologies company, is hiring for a couple of roles, including a community manager that will “manage and host community events in the metaverse and meatspace.” For those who are new to the term, “meatspace” refers to the physical world — presumably because there’s no real meat in cyberspace.
KPMG, one of the Big Four accounting organizations, is hiring for a product security engineering associate for “continuous research and involvement in Firm-led efforts related to Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) capabilities.” Qualifications in the listing include a “general understanding of metaverse concepts and the disrupting factors in the XR space.”
Two other listings not included in our chart come from Amazon and UK-Dutch accounting firm KPMG. Amazon is hiring for a go-to-market (GTM) Alliance Leader as part of its AWS GameTech division. The role will be “at the center of building the technology that will empower customers across all industries to success in this new frontier.” More specifically, the role will “develop cross-industry GTM programs with [Fortnite maker] Epic Games.”
About the Data:
Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online, jobs, social and web traffic, product sales, and app ratings, and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue, and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.