The Metaverse Is Simply Big Tech
The Future of Reality
Virtual reality companies claim that they’ll help you get there using VR headsets, and AR companies claim that you’ll wear AR smart glasses. In addition, with a boyish love in science fiction driving their religious zeal These preachers call this view as the metaverse inspired by Neal Stephenson’s dystopian novel of 1992 Snow Crash.
BACK UP WHILE Stephenson published his book, the internet was a collection of tiny planets linked to each other only through the force of gravity exerted by server technology. Beginning developers created basic websites with HTML in addition to HTTP. Then, Friends fan websites as well as the Texas Internet Consulting pages hung apart from the gaudy GeoCities.coms full of Broadway songs. From this space-based system were born web browsers such as Mosaic and Netscape to address the issue of aggregating and sorting information.
The metaverse, originally imagined by Stephenson was based on the concept of a 3D digital street that includes virtual real estate in which avatars of users are able to wander or party and conduct business, locating spaces as well as each other. It’s managed by a corporation known as Global Multimedia Protocol Group. Global Multimedia Protocol Group, that earns its income by acting as the foundation for 3D cyberspace.
The futurists with a starry eye of the 1990s took this idea as it was, and portrayed users as avatars that resided in isolated cyberspaces , such as Activeworlds. The other part of the concept, the most important part, was connecting cyberspaces, which was something they couldn’t achieve.
Metaverses must be interoperable. Digital services that are part of it need to be pieced together, quilt-like, in order to make up its fabric. Matthew Ball, a venture capitalist who has written a lot about the metaverse, states, “Interoperation effectively requires companies to release their control over proprietary formats, or otherwise adopt wholly open source ones.”
In the first decade of the 2000s the emergence of open-source metaverse projects was born to address the issue of gluing together virtual worlds. If the code was free and available to everyone and everyone, anyone Snow Crash fan who had the knowledge could find their own space within the metaverse. If the internet had remained frozen in its early forms it is easy to imagine the open equalist metaverse it would have created: A 50-year-old wearing an avatar of Barbie avatar strolls right from their Second Life Dream House to Sephora.com’s VR boutique, where she can purchase digital mascara with gold she earned from World of Warcraft.
However, those open metaverse initiatives did not get going. “There wasn’t a lot of enthusiasm around interconnection, partly because there really wasn’t a motive for it,” says Philip Rosedale, founder of Second Life publisher Linden Lab. “We were, as a company, trying to make some money.”
In the mid-2000s the realization was that the real money was not in creating individual websites; it was in the creation of channels, information sorters publishers, and aggregators that were open enough to grow using user-generated content, yet secure enough to make huge profits.
“A few online services came to have a truly global user base and in its wake grew a global infrastructure dedicated to optimize its needs,” says Carl Gahnberg, a senior policy adviser for the Internet Society.
This is the progression from the Web 1.0 into Web 2.0. Since the last three decades, the force of consolidation has brought cyberspace under the aegis of ever-shrinking corporations. These tiny planets get caught up and collide, forming larger planets, then collide again, create stars, or black holes. Facebook consumes Instagram along with WhatsApp; Amazon swallows two dozen online stores. Then you’re left with a small number of giant players that control and appropriating the celestial movements of millions of users. This is the way that Big Tech got big.
When interest in the open-source metaverses declined in the tech world, it was an entire decade devoted to”the “total service environment,” one where you’ll use your morning to check Gmail and then in the afternoon, plugging information in Google Sheets, take a break from your Android phone before heading to a new bar using Google Maps or watch YouTube at night with the Nest home device.
This is the Internet that the metaverse has inherited. This is the web Big Tech’s metaverse.
The metaverse is resurfacing under an entirely new sky. The current frenzied? It’s just a method to allow Big Tech to repitch its wide range of products. Metaverse describes the future of internet consolidation, an advertising spin on Big Tech’s growing impact and power. It’ll be Big Tech, just like today, but more powerful.
Meta Platforms (formerly Facebook) the company Mark Zuckerberg has vowed will in the future be an “metaverse company,” owns not just all of the leading social media sites but also Oculus which makes VR hardware. VR is in the process of becoming mainstream for the past decade but it’s not yet ubiquitous and the company is constantly trying to maximize the benefits of the $2 billion deal. What could help sell VR headsets better than the fact that everyone is going to require one to access Internet of future, especially when that website is owned by Meta?
There is a chance that the metaverse concept is too flawed to be a reality in any form.
For Microsoft the metaverse is an esoteric skin that covers its manifest destiny, which is the aggregation of its products and platforms, which comprise the operating system (Windows) and servers (Azure) and comms network (Teams) as well as hardware (HoloLens) as well as the entertainment hub (Xbox) and social networks (LinkedIn) and the IP (Minecraft). In a blog post from May 2021 Azure’s corporate vice president, Sam George, describes the ways Microsoft is perfectly placed to bring about this convergence “the physical and digital worlds” within its “metaverse technology stack.” The technology stack, George excitedly shares, “is available today.”
At present, the metaverse exists in the space between these service environments as well as their owners corporate blogs. It’s an opportunity to work in conjunction with, and not under the tech giants’ offerings.
If the major companies
controlling cyberspace do decide to work together, while simultaneously putting on opposite parts of the fabric to make this digital textile, it is extremely respectful. Is there a place that Microsoft, Facebook, Epic Games, Apple, Niantic, Nvidia, et al. blend their most popular products, in the Captain Planet style, to build a new metaverse using open source standards that nobody has a particular way to earn billions of dollars? It’s an incredibly high request to change your code and join forces with your competition. Why should four or three tech giants collaborate to build an entire universe when they have already have spent years and billions of dollars building their own?
The closest thing that we have to a genuine metaverse is Roblox which is a billion-dollar gaming platform and toolkit for game development. Roblox users play Roblox to develop games about adopting pets , or an imaginary re-creation of their church and 48 million people are able to join their ranks. Roblox connects these worlds by utilizing a unique search engine built on the browser.
The word “proprietary” is the main word. Users aren’t able to port their virtual worlds to World of Warcraft or Second Life. What is expected to grow to Roblox is more things to do on Roblox. However Roblox’s CEO declared the company to be “shepherds of the metaverse” beginning in 2021.
If the exponential growth of Big Tech is allowed to continue there will be several metaverses, if there’s any. They will all be connected under the same umbrella of one tech giant similar to the way Apple is not just a walled garden but an ideal, practical space for its faithful customers. The users love the ease of Apple’s own operating system, and the ubiquitousness of iMessage. Also, Apple is likely to love the 30% fee it will charge developers selling apps on iOS via it’s App Store.
Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney has spoken out about the dangers of a metaverse. He believes it is inevitable. It is run like the Apple ecosystem, and governed through “one central company” and “more powerful than any government,” he said in a recent interview with VentureBeat. His concept for the metaverse was shared the idea with The Washington Post in detail includes a cyberspace that is interoperable with Fortnite as a gaming platform as well as Epic Games’ Unreal Engine.
It was hilarious, at the time it was funny, after a California judge said to Epic after the company unsuccessfully filed a lawsuit against Apple and Apple, the following “Epic Games seeks a systematic change which would result in tremendous monetary gain and wealth … [The lawsuit] is a mechanism to challenge the policies and practices of Apple and Google which are an impediment to Mr. Sweeney’s vision of the oncoming metaverse.” Ouch.
In the same way, John Riccitiello, CEO of the company that makes a game engine Unity believes that Big Tech’s vision of Metaverse technology is Orwellian. The solution? Everyone should utilize Unity. “It pulls down the height of the wall of the walled garden,” He declares.
Who would like
A metaverse that is built in the same way as Web 2.0 was? Who would like a metaverse designed to scale and generate revenue? New open source metaverse projects seek to combat the inevitability of this next total-service-environment internet. “I believe we’ll witness an Internet 2.0 metaverse as well as a web 3.0 metaverse, Web 2.0 being the entirety of these Big Tech companies that are closed. They’re not likely to let go of their server-based models, or collecting data,” says Ryan Gill Co-founder and chief executive officer of Crucible which is an open metaverse initiative. “We’ll witness a faster expansion that’s part of what’s known as the Web 2.0 metaverse. The only way to get to Web 3.0 is decentralization.” The new internet, Gill argues, should be built on the open protocol and standard, which includes blockchain technology. Gill believes that open source communities are able to contribute and receive rewards financially.
It is said that the Web 3.0 Gill describes looks very much similar to the Web 1.0 in the 90s. It was a distributed users-owned, decentralized, the Web which gave birth to the concept of metaverse. The thinking goes that we were entangled in the thing called Big Tech thing.
There’s a chance that the “metaverse” concept isn’t a viable concept in any form. Connecting services in order to gather our information, track us, and control our attention to the extent that they can could cause more harm and not more better, at least for those that aren’t vice presidents at Meta and Microsoft.
While the marketing teams of Big Tech are glowing when we connect via their corporate blog entries however, the truth is that any metaverse that is born from their website will be hostile to humans. The reality is that today’s metaverse will never be an internet of tiny planets. It would be true to the original material at least in one manner: It would look like Snow Crash‘s 3D street, if, in addition to Amazon acting as the landlord in the majority of stores, they was owned by Amazon.
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