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The metaverse is here.
From the Greek word meta, meaning after or beyond, this burgeoning synthetic universe, once cyberpunk fantasy, cannot be denied. It just doesn't look anything like Neal Stephenson described in his seminal work, "Snow Crash," just yet.
That novel describes the trials of Hiro Protagonist (yes, that is his name) in the (capital-M) Metaverse, a 3D virtual world populated by avatars, shops, and corporate advertising as real as the physical, offline world. Since it was published in 1992, it's been the definitive inspiration for every virtual reality concept we've developed, and now, Meta Platforms Inc. has leaned all the way into the idea.
But our version of this synthetic world is still in the earliest stages of construction, and the companies building it up will find themselves crowned the new Big Tech pantheon - and that's the aspect of the metaverse that has really grabbed my attention.
I've been looking at all the players in this new field, big and small, and I've got some can't-miss picks to help you get in early on the potential for massive profits...
The Future Has Taken Root in the Present
I alluded to this above, but let's make this clear: The metaverse has existed in some form for many years. In 1995, you had "Active Worlds." Then came "Second Life," "The Sims," and more modern titles like "World of Warcraft," "Final Fantasy XIV"... too many to count, honestly.
The idea of creating and living as an avatar that projects an idealized version of yourself with certain powers, talents, or traits is seductive and popular. Mark Zuckerberg is simply tapping into that desire with this metaphysical rebrand of Facebook.
It appears Zuckerberg's goal, along with companies inspired by his project, is to create an immersive platform based on games created by the likes of Epic Games and Sony. They want to design a space where you can participate in VR social gatherings or even corporate meetings as an avatar.
And several companies are working to help them create it.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) has begun readying future iPhones for metaverse use. At its 2019 Worldwide Developers Conference, WWDC, executives openly discussed building the "components of a metaverse substrate," designing a dedicated hardware and software device stack.
Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) is starting its efforts with its Teams meeting platform, where it announced it's going to let users create digital avatars and collaborate in the metaverse using the company's highly touted HoloLens, as well as Facebook's Oculus headsets.
Nvidia Corp. (NASDAQ: NVDA) will be a major player in most companies' metaverse projects, as the premier "virtual computing company," which is how the company describes itself, specializing in graphic and "compute & networking" technologies. NVDA's cloud-based visual and virtual computing and whole "infrastructure for gaming platforms" ensure this tech giant will be a constant presence in the metaverse.
Frankly, these tech giants should already be in your portfolio. If not, add them. But the giants aren't where the best growth potential lies.
These huge companies are kicking off their metaverse projects with billions of dollars in funding. Because they're so expensive, the resulting revenue won't move the needle for these companies for many years even if the products they make are a big success.
In their shadow, several smaller companies are already working to create the metaverse, and they will be the ones to translate growth in the metaverse directly to profits.
United We Stand
One of those companies is Unity Software Inc. (NYSE: U), which went public just last year.
If you're not familiar, Unity is behind one of the most popular game development engines in the world. Colleges and universities across the United States, including NYU, offer courses and professional certifications exclusively about the Unity engine and its VR potential.
That's what makes the company so attractive in this space - it has experience with virtual reality design and platforming, which is crucial to metaverse development.
The company's initial listing price was $52. It immediately soared 50%. In September, it saw a high of $174.94 before falling to $81.36 in May of this year. With all things metaverse dominating the tech news cycle, Unity's stock bounced back up and now trades around $186.
Not only is this young company a leading-edge player in the metaverse, in gaming, and in the future, but its stock has also barely taken off.
What's going to propel it to the stratosphere are the platforms and software solutions it creates so companies can monetize the real-time 3D future we're stepping into. Unity isn't a U.S. tech darling; it's a global player. And since the metaverse is another universe, Unity's got that space covered.
So buy it now to secure your place in a rich future of your own making.
The metaverse represents just one aspect of a rapidly changing economy. We're on the eve of a very volatile time, when regulatory changes and shifting priorities for American businesses are going to create some big winners... and some big losers.
Some of the companies I'm talking about in my November "Buy This Not That" update could double or triple in the years to come...
While others will get wiped out.
Which ones should you bet on?
About the Author
Shah Gilani boasts a financial pedigree unlike any other. He ran his first hedge fund in 1982 from his seat on the floor of the Chicago Board of Options Exchange. When options on the Standard & Poor's 100 began trading on March 11, 1983, Shah worked in "the pit" as a market maker.
The work he did laid the foundation for what would later become the VIX - to this day one of the most widely used indicators worldwide. After leaving Chicago to run the futures and options division of the British banking giant Lloyd's TSB, Shah moved up to Roosevelt & Cross Inc., an old-line New York boutique firm. There he originated and ran a packaged fixed-income trading desk, and established that company's "listed" and OTC trading desks.
Shah founded a second hedge fund in 1999, which he ran until 2003.
Shah's vast network of contacts includes the biggest players on Wall Street and in international finance. These contacts give him the real story - when others only get what the investment banks want them to see.
Today, as editor of Hyperdrive Portfolio, Shah presents his legion of subscribers with massive profit opportunities that result from paradigm shifts in the way we work, play, and live.
Shah is a frequent guest on CNBC, Forbes, and MarketWatch, and you can catch him every week on Fox Business's Varney & Co.