Is the “Metaverse” the next major thing in terms of investment?
The “metaverse” – the world of virtual reality has been a major concept of science-fiction for years. However, it is now likely to become real. John Stepek explains what the metaverse is and thinks about the best way to invest.
Facebook’s chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has a vision. He says that in the near future that he doesn’t wish for Facebook to be considered a company that uses social media. Instead, he would like the company to be named a “metaverse” company.
What is a Metaverse?
Well, it could become the next big thing.
The future is happening today all around us
If you’ve never had the pleasure of hearing about it (I didn’t) it came out in 1981. It was among the first books that depicted an imaginary world that one can “plug into”. The story is enjoyable (and isn’t too long). It’s not as cocky as Gibson and less savage as Neal Stephenson. It also brought me back to Ready Player One.
It wasn’t the plot itself that attracted my attention. I had purchased the 2001 edition, which honoured Vinge’s vision by encasing the book in various non-fiction articles that addressed some of the issues anticipated in the tale.
These covered topics like privacy, cryptography, digital currency, anarcho-libertarianism versus all-powerful governments, artificial intelligence, robots coming for our jobs or creating new ones – all the stuff we’ve been talking about for decades now.
The thing is, the majority of these essays were written in the mid 90s. In the mid-90s I had no email address. The internet was just a curiosity. I still had the music I wanted on my CDs, and I would rent movies from a store.
The thing that struck me was how prescient these articles were. They were written by writers who were discussing how we’d live in a form of panopticon in the near future when governments and companies struggled to manage our data. The discussion was full of discussion of digital currencies that were based on the latest technology in digital cryptography (more than 10 years prior to when Satoshi Nakamoto created bitcoin).
Then, in a quick way, via Twitter, yesterday an individual shared a photo of an article about users becoming bored with the internet. The article was posted in December 2000.
What’s the issue?
My argument is simply that it was well-established by the time I was writing this. To quote Gibson the future was there. It was just not evenly spread.
What I’m thinking about now is which other developments or technologies are at the same point? What technologies are already sophisticated and are open to those who are looking to experiment or have fun with it but aren’t yet mainstream?
There are many candidates that are available. One I believe has a decent chance of becoming one of the “next big things” is virtual reality and augmented reality. To put it more concisely – and to bring us to the opening of this message”metaverse” “the “metaverse”.
How can we define the term metaverse? And why should anyone care about it?
In short, the metaverse is a 3D digital version of the web. You already have your digital shadow (or many). The longer you stay online and the less rigorously you safeguard your data, the more thorough it’s likely to get. The metaverse simply takes it to the next step.
There are many levels of this, however, in the idealized metaverse one would put on the VR cap and become depicted in a virtual world as an avatar that is 3D. You could do everything you do in real life but with more advanced special effects.
Augmented Reality (AR) is the place where two worlds meet. It is essentially an overlay of digital images on your real-world. There are many apps using this technology. The Pokemon Go game might be the most popular.
If you have an up-to-date Android phone, you may be able to use an app called Google Art and Culture app. It lets you take, for instance, the miniature gallery onto the table or on the kitchen floor (that’s the place I tested the last time) and then wander through the gallery looking at the artwork.
It’s fun and silly for just five minutes. However “normal” people can be completely oblivious to asking ,What’s the point?
It’s the kind of thing that some of us were thinking about when we first started using the internet, 20 years ago. We cannot live without it.
I’m not saying this is a certain thing in any way. However, I believe that any technology that can make human communication easier will likely be able to find uses. The pandemic may have been a catalyst for the process.
Facebook’s comments about metaverses came at the same time that Facebook launched a brand new application that lets you meet 3D models of your coworkers in a virtual meeting space.
I’m saying, yes. This isn’t enjoyment in the least. It’s possible to ask what Facebook’s new virtual workplace application can provide that Zoom call doesn’t.
However, I’m assuming there’s a tipping point that’s connected to the) the convenience of the device and b) the authenticity of the experience. This will eventually lead people to accept VR as it adds an element of depth to the communication.
In addition There are many additional uses beyond this. Imagine if you could digitally digitize all your equipment for computers. You wear a pair of glasses, and your screen pops up with a keyboard and you remove them and everything is cleaned up.
It’s barely getting the edge off.
What are your options for investing your time in the metaverse?
What would you do to invest in this area? I’m just thinking of ideas for curiosity’s sake However, I’ll be analyzing the subject further.
Many large companies are trying out new ideas; Facebook is the obvious one, naturally. In truth, I find it difficult to get excited about it however, a lot of it is just an unintentional dislike of Facebook and its continual push for boundaries, so don’t listen to me. Do your own research and find out the results you make.
Another one that’s interesting is Snap that doesn’t only create photos that disappear it also creates AR glasses (you might or not be aware of Google Glass, which people disliked). Snap recently acquired the UK-based WaveOptics for more than $500 million.
Lex from the FT isn’t convinced: “AR glasses in their present form aren’t likely to be successful even with Facebook, Apple and Microsoft investing in the concept. The hostility towards tech intrusions in the privacy of our lives is increasing and not waning.”
Positivity in Metaverse:
The positive side is the fact that metaverses may help to create a path for equal labour by breaking down boundaries, limits and standards between the different physical worlds. In the actual, physical world, due to the digital revolution individuals can now decide to live away from cities yet still be able to take part in the high-value economic creation through digital work regardless of where they live or the way they work.
The industry of online games is already preparing for the potential for a massive boom in the avatar economy that I consider to be the precursor to the metaverse economy where virtual items are traded and sold through a secondary marketplace. The more consumers shift their expenditure to virtual products as well as services and experiences over the next few years.
Trade, technology, as well as financial internationalization has created income disparities within the actual world. There’s already a labour gap in the metaverse too. For example, mining mineral resources in online games such as “StarCraft” is nothing new.
New Opportunities In Metaverse:
In low-income countries, people are spending their days and nights looking for digital products to sell within or outside the game, or so it’s said. But it is expected that the worth of electronic work will increase as the metaverse expands and it will open up new opportunities.