Looking to develop and explore the virtual world? Nate Essin, our new Aquent Studios Metaverse Practice Leader, is a veteran in this evolving space. Elizabeth Toenyes, Content and Editorial Strategist at Aquent, sat down with Nate to learn more about his wide range of work experience. Meet our new leader, learn about his passion for the metaverse, and its potential to change the way we work and live.
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
I am Nate Essin, and I currently live in Houston, Texas, and I am a Creative Technologist. I came to this after beginning my career as a Filmmaker and 3D Artist. I worked in 3D animation and did a lot of freelance work, some production work, and worked on a lot of sets for a lot of brands. Then I started my own agency about five years ago. It was a small digital agency, and it runs very similarly to Aquent. But we're only talking about three people. I ran that and learned a lot about the creative process and design thinking. We won some awards, which was fantastic because I sold that company last year. After that, I joined Accenture's Metaverse Continuum Business Group. I was able to be on the ground floor and see how that was put together.
I first became involved in the metaverse about three years ago, when I was running my own business. I bought a virtual reality headset, the first Oculus Quest. I put it on and I was blown away. I didn't realize the technology had come this far this fast.
The first time I met someone else in virtual reality, I was lifting my headset up and thinking, “Okay, I'm in my house; I can see the horizon line; I can put the headset back; the horizon lines match; but now I'm with his avatar.” Even though it looks like a cartoon, it feels to me like I'm actually with someone. My biology kicks in. I've got this personal space around me, and I'm wanting to make eye contact with them, even though it's not tracking my eyes. I was like, “This is going to change the way that we live and work. I want to be a part of this.”
I started learning Unity Development and building small metaverse apps for myself and learning the process. And that's what led me to the metaverse business group at Accenture, creating experiences for people who just got one of the 60,000 headsets that Accenture deployed and writing thought leadership content.
So I'm excited to be here at Aquent and launching our Metaverse Practice, building out our capabilities, and delivering metaverse solutions to our clients.
Do you think that your background in design helps you understand the metaverse better, or gives you a different perspective on digital experiences?
Storytelling and crafting enjoyable user experiences are two major design elements in the evolving metaverse. As a designer, it's important to create a journey map for users by guiding them through their content engagement decisions step-by-step—while making sure those steps aren't too confusing or clunky. Metaverse experience usability is slowly improving, but there is still a lot of work to be done in creating more intuitive experiences. On many platforms, getting into virtual reality environments and meeting other people can still be challenging. Here at Aquent, we are developing experiences to improve that.
Do you believe it is still important for businesses to invest in and learn about the metaverse? And will it still be the reality that we foresee in the next five years?
Consumer and worker behavior has changed since quarantine. The industrial environment is undergoing a revolution with digital twins. The metaverse is already here. It's not something in the future. Your competitors are changing how they do business, and it's time to find where your business, blockchain, and the immersive world intersect. Early adopters are already seeing results, and companies that are waiting will be at a disadvantage as their competitors launch new projects building on lessons learned.
Aquent Studios launched a Metaverse Practice with consultative services to help companies create their own successful metaverse projects. Considering a blockchain or immersive project? Let's talk.