A recent conference called about quarterly results, Facebook’s CEO Mark focused more on the metaverse than any other topic. Throughout the one-hour call, the metaverse’s stated almost two dozen times.
Zuckerberg’s vision is to build a space like an internet but comprised of digital avatar users that can walk, interact, and socialize digitally in real-time. It’s a whole digital world where interaction is not just on a computer but in actual life through devices.
Zuckerberg has been thinking about this idea since middle school and claims it can be the successor of the mobile internet. Recently he announced the creation of a new metaverse product group and others companies expressed interest too.
Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft revealed that the company is making efforts to make an enterprise metaverse. Epic Games declared a $1 billion funding round in April for metaverse, stirring the Fortnite maker’s estimate to approximately $30 billion. In June, entrepreneur Matthew Ball started an exchange-traded fund so people can invest in the metaverse space and companies like graphics chipmaker Nvidia (NVDA) and gaming platform Roblox (RBLX).
Regardless of the arising hype around metaverse, its reality is still far away. There is also a concern regarding its technology, privacy, and authenticity. The main question is asking people if they are ready for social media to be shifted as a metaverse.
What exactly is the Metaverse?
The term “metaverse” was established in the 1992 cyberpunk book “Snow Crash.” The book consists of Hiro Protagonist who is a hacker and a pizza delivery boy who uses the metaverse as an escape from his life.
The metaverse in the book is a virtual reality created by technology that leads to other problems such as addiction, discrimination, harassment, and violence, which garners influence in the real world. In today’s world, Metaverse can be described as a virtual space that is a reflection of the world and has people interacting, talking, and using all senses just like in the real world but virtually.
The concept of the metaverse is to bring real-life feelings alive digitally too. Games like Fortnite, are a beginning example of creating virtual reality with millions of other players and worlds.
Why is the metaverse trending now?
The major reason is the need for socialization during the pandemic! After the restrictions of Covid’19 enabled people to live at home more, work, and socialize people realized the importance of the internet and virtual connections. This may be a great thing to capitalize on for companies right now!
Also, the advanced improvements in mobile device processors, gaming systems, internet infrastructure, virtual reality headsets, and cryptocurrency in recent decades paves way for people to be more interested in taking the next big step.
The possible problems in ‘the metaverse’
The metaverse can be a great business opportunity and innovative way for humans to learn how to interact and use virtual reality for their benefit. However, there are concerns about how this technology can be used and exploited.
Zuckerberg announced last week that advertisements will probably be a fundamental origin of income in the metaverse, similar to the company right now. This worries many individuals as it will promote more inequality and hype on who can get the headset and afford the better experience of the metaverse.
Bar-Zeev notes that the metaverse can produce more realistic online harassment, as people can assault each other virtually than just using comments and videos.
There is also concern regarding misinformation and radicalization, which could reflect in the metaverse and get worse.
In short, the metaverse can contribute to many negative impacts as well. If there is an opportunity to build an alternative reality, the greatest struggle will be not to create a world that fosters the worst that exist in our real society, but only the good.