The Metaverse Is In Its Infancy, But The War To Take Over It Has Already BegunBy Joseph G Edwards
The recent development of the Metaverse as a technological phenomenon seems to project the prospective nature of how the internet is evolving. What began as an innovative way to interact with virtually is gradually becoming a significant part of our lives. The rapid technological advancements in virtual and augmented reality technologies have peeked the interest of Silicon Valley giants, particularly those who feel that pressure to adapt or risk being left behind.
The Metaverse is seen as an opportunity to advance the already existing tech trends, to complement user experience. Mark Zuckerberg recently made a major announcement of renaming Facebook into Meta to announce a transition in the direction of the company.
While Zuckerberg is not the sole creator of the Metaverse, he is following his previous strategy of taking over any technology that could pose a threat to his company and branding it as his own. Zuckerberg has previously done that by buying other companies or by forcing them out of business. The metaverse is another creature that Zuckerberg can’t simply buy, this is why he is trying to front-run the already established virtual worlds by leveraging the large user base of Facebook. The battle over the Metaverse will definitely require more than a name change, this is what we will go through in this article.
What is Metaverse?
Metaverse is loosely regarded as one of the contemporary technologies designed to improve digital interactions with the help of avatars. At this juncture, you could be wondering if Virtual Reality and Metaverse are the same things, right?
Notably, Metaverse is more of an improved version of virtual reality. Metaverse is an advanced technological development that enables individuals to go beyond typical computer experience through headset technology. Essentially, with the help of Metaverse, you can engage with any form of the digital environment, unlike the case of Virtual Reality, which is more into gaming.
The development of Metaverse brought the virtual world closer, hence enabling you to access literally and practically anything, including games, social media, cinema, virtual trips, and work-related activities, among others.
#1. Virtual Worlds
Surprisingly, there are over 6 billion player accounts in the top 10 3D games in the world. In addition, there are over 2.5 billion gamers in the virtual world playing at one specific time. With reference to the aforementioned statistics, it emerges that there are more players in the virtual world than Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp combined. Tencent is regarded as the dominating player in the virtual world, considering the massive number of people playing their games.
The comprehensive array of features that the company has, including digital payment, entertainment, Tencent Music, Spotify, and Penguin Esports, among others, are yet to be challenged by Facebook.
#2. The Tool Builders
It is not a mystery that in order to build the metaverse some tools will be utilized. Currently, the biggest and most notable game engines used in building the Metaverse are Unity and Unreal engine. They are currently on the top of all lists of open-world games. Whatever game you are playing, there is a high chance that one of these two is being used. This does not seem like it will change anytime soon, which is good news as it evens the playing field for developers as it is most likely that facebook’s metaverse will also be using the same engines.
#3. The Hardware Builders
In 2014 Facebook purchased Oculus, one of the first companies dedicated to VR technologies. Since then many more companies have come out offering similar products. The most popular VR headsets on the market are, PlayStation VR, HTC VIVE, Oculus Rift, HP Reverb, and Valve index. Even though Facebook’s Oculus has a lot of competition in the VR arena, its main compactor is still normal displays. over 85% of virtual worlds players have access through computers or mobile displays, and with the constant improvement of display quality and the cost of making them going down, displays aren’t going away anytime soon.
#4. Everybody Else
Since march of 2020 and the lockdowns starting to go into effect across the world, we we all forced to step into the metaverse in one way or another. Most aspects of work went online, and tools such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams made this transition a little bit easier. The pandemic has definitely accelerated the adoption of the Metaverse as a medium where we can conduct and facilitate most aspect of work and life. The pandemic has also accelerated the adoption of cryptocurrency as many people around the world were looking for a hedge against inflation and governments crackdowns. Both the Metaverse and Cryptocurrency helped create a world where the Individual is core of all of its aspect. No need for specific companies, and no need for a specific government. Anyone can built, interact and spend their money how they please. To many. this is how the Metaverse should continue to evolve, away from government and corporates controls that might seek to hinders its growth, and exploits the inhabitants from their privacy. Especially if its a company such as Facebook which is notorious of exploiting users privacy.
Zuckerberg’s attempt to take hold of the Metaverse and brand it as his own will not go as smoothly as he might imagine. This is due to the existing, thriving virtual worlds already populated by participants, Other companies targeting the same field, the lack of hardware superiority, and lastly the lack of trust in Facebook as a company to respect the user’s privacy when other decentralized alternatives already exist. The battle for the Metaverse is still at an early stage and it’s early to call a winner. We can only hope that the Metaverse will be an inclusive world that is not hijacked by private entities seeking only their personal gain with no regard to freedom or privacy.