Metaverse-NFT overlap is nigh, says Gartner

Man wearing HoloLens 2
Man wearing HoloLens 2 (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • The metaverse and NFTs have both been hot topics of discussion in tech circles throughout the first quarter of 2022.
  • Gartner now has a prediction that, by 2026, 25% of people will spend a minimum of an hour per day inside the metaverse.
  • Gartner also predicts that the metaverse's virtual economy will operate on NFTs and crypto.

Metaverse discussion is ramping up, having gone from a phrase scarcely used before October 2021 to a core part of tech jargon that's warranting five-year predictions and outlook reports. The latest of these analyses comes from Gartner, which predicts a lot of metaverse activity by 2026.

Specifically, Gartner forecasts that a quarter of people will be spending a minimum of an hour per day inside metaverse spaces by 2026 and that by that time, 30% of organizations will have metaverse-friendly services and goods.

According to Gartner, the virtual economy of the burgeoning metaverse will be fueled by digital currencies and nonfungible tokens (NFTs). Though many are skeptical about the future of NFTs, others see their potential to define the future of content licensing.

As for the metaverse itself, even if many would still define it as an empty buzzword, there are others who would refrain from dismissing it. Specifically, Gartner's current definition of the metaverse is as follows:

The metaverse is a persistent and immersive digital environment of independent, yet interconnected networks that will use yet-to-be determined protocols for communications. It enables persistent, decentralized, collaborative, interoperable digital content that intersects with the physical world's real-time, spatially oriented and indexed content. Access is currently device-dependent and includes experiences spanning the immersive (augmented, mixed, and virtual reality) spectrum.

And based on that definition, the firm says it doesn't believe the metaverse properly exists yet. In other words, the forecasts it's outlining are for a 2026 landscape that will look substantially different than where we are in 2022. That is to say: Stay frosty for a potential spike in NFT and metaverse activity.

Robert Carnevale is the News Editor for Windows Central. He's a big fan of Kinect (it lives on in his heart), Sonic the Hedgehog, and the legendary intersection of those two titans, Sonic Free Riders. He is the author of Cold War 2395. Have a useful tip? Send it to

  • Gartner predicts that by some arbitrary timeframe, an arbitrary number of people will spend an arbitrary amount of time using a technology that's currently barely a buzzword, operating on yet more buzzword technology. Got it.
  • I could not agree more. Has there been more hype for a non-existant, dare I say, "product" than the "metaverse"?
  • Pish posh! It is a well-known mathematical fact on Reddit that buzzword x buzzword = buzzword^buzzword 80% upside, guaranteed! They don't want you to know this!
  • Metaverse and NFT are NOT related to each other! They're just buzzwords that tried to stick together without any further context. Also, I hate both of these.
  • Don't be silly. NFTs are essential, as it is literally impossible for one to check their receipts in the metaverse. Otherwise, how could you ever prove you bought something? I learned all about it on Reddit and by clicking the ads in YouTube.
  • This is absolute trash. They're trying to make both things happen, and these comments are just expression of their wishes.
  • "According to Gartner, the virtual economy of the burgeoning metaverse will be fueled by digital currencies and nonfungible tokens (NFTs)." Surprise! This is really stupid. National currencies are already digital. The vast majority of US dollar transactions are electronic, even for consumers. I can't even remember the last time I used cash. What does crypto (what they really mean) add? You guessed it: nothing, except a chance for scam artists to prey on gullible "investors." (Unless you really like extremely unstable currency values.) Oh, and maybe a way for rogue nations to get around sanctions! That's a new one! NFTs don't bring anything different in VR or AR applications that they don't already bring to the real world. And that's nothing anyway. Regardless of how easily it is to publicly track transactions (and since when is that a useful innovation?), it's up to platforms to set the terms of their software purchases and usage and platform membership. NFTs won't help if a platform decides to kick you off or doesn't respect your sale of a piece of digital-only software to someone else. Empty buzzwords all around.