What is the metaverse?

It’s a decades-old idea… that’s resurfacing with a bang: the metaverse. As Mark Zuckerberg announced his company’s new direction around this concept – now renaming itself Meta – the entire tech industry is embarking on the race for the virtual universe. But what is it really? Here are the fundamentalss.

The metaverse, sci-fi fans already knew it. Since Simulacron 3 by Daniel F. Galouye (1968) and especially since The Virtual Samurai (or Snow fall) by Neal Stephenson (1992), who coined the term metaverse to name his virtual universe. In 2021, Mark Zuckerberg gives his own definition of this idea cherished by visionary authors. ” The next platform will be even more immersive, an embedded internet where you are experiencing, not just watching.he explains during the Connect. You can do anything you can imagine: gather with friends and family, work, learn, play, shop, create, plus new categories that don’t fit the way we think about our phones and computers today.. »

From video games to the metaverse

Mark Zuckerberg is convinced: it is not the role of a single company to build the metaverse. It will be the role of each leader in this space to associate with the right partners to bring it to life and build it. Meta sees his role as accelerating the tools needed to bring it to life – and while Mark Zuckerberg’s statements have already accelerated the metaverse’s race, some versions of that vision have existed in the past. Second Life was a forerunner in this area, with its virtual universe launched in 2003 and in which users of this virtual world could build their elements and create real economic and cultural activities.

More recently, video games have played this metaverse role. With its approximately 350 million players, Fortnite is the favorite and persistent universe of the most popular video game. In addition to the battle royal style game, Fortnite stood out for organizing gigantic shows: more than 15 million people connected to see the Travis Scott show, while the 2022 edition of Coachella had its virtual video game equivalent. In turn, Meta launched Horizon Worlds in December 2021 in the United States. In this first version of the metaverse Meta version, users can play games, meet or go to the movies. Above all, they can create their own world.

The group is also working to develop its video game offering, the success of which is no longer in doubt – video games like Beat Saber have surpassed $100 million in total gross revenue on the Quest platform, and Meta is collaborating with many studios to continue development. of successful franchises. Sport also finds its place in this ecosystem, with fitness apps like FitXR constantly improving, allowing the more sedentary among us to exercise indoors without leaving home.

The future of work?

It is now possible to have a custom workspace in virtual or mixed reality. Horizons Workrooms is a good example. Meta’s collaboration experience lets you get together with your colleagues to work in the same virtual room as if you were next door, no matter the distance. The app allows you to overlay a virtual desktop onto your real desktop, to display a whiteboard and many other tools. At the same time, the trial of Quest for Business, a set of features designed for businesses, was launched. This will facilitate collaboration between colleagues as well as access to productivity apps.

Interoperability and virtual economy

The director of Meta emphasizes the creative potential offered by this next iteration of the internet and has decided to invest $150M over the next 3 years to create an ecosystem to support learning in the metaverse – shaping the next generation of AR/VR creators, funding experiences high-quality immersive solutions that transform the way we learn and increase access to technology-enabled education for key communities that would otherwise not be early adopters.

And as the landscape of the metaverses is multiple, the creators of these worlds seem to agree: it is necessary, from the beginning, to think about the interoperability of these environments – that is, the possibility of passing from one world to another with the same avatar. A technical possibility for user comfort, but also to promote a more dynamic virtual economic ecosystem. ” When we buy and create, we want to know if our objects will be used in multiple contexts or if they will be stuck in one universe or one platform.curriculum Mark Zuckerberg. We want to own an object, not that the platform owns it. »

Already, and while we are at the beginning of what some predict will be the new web, we see the experiments of what could be a metaverse economy. Fashion brands like Louis Vuitton or Benetton collaborate with video games Fortnite or Cross between animals to create skins (clothes) for avatars. After years of being traded like crypto kittens among a few tech-savvy collectors, NFTs have permeated from the mainstream into the world of luxury and art. Brands buy shares in virtual worlds and sell hybrid experiences. Everyone tries to find a way to anchor themselves in the metaverse.

Security and inclusion

We now know that technologies are quickly used for the worst. In the same way that we include interoperability, security and inclusion must be thought “by design”. Then, in February 2022, Meta launched Personal Boundaries, a feature that helps prevent other avatars from invading your personal space. Another essential point: regulation. If legislation and regulations are slow enough to keep up with technology that evolves at full speed, the metaverse will take a few years before it succeeds. Enough to let our societies collectively think about the best uses of this new virtual world. Before diving into it collectively.

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