What is the metaverse that caused Facebook to change its name? One of my sons is a computer consultant and says its a place for business to share space, and my other son says Facebook has nothing, and that the nearest thing today is STEAM. This illustrates the problem that there is no clear idea yet of what this “metaverse” really is. Oh there are lots of slick videos but none of that is real folks, its all made up just like Expanse or Star Wars. I know its cool but it ain’t there.
Meta has put out many adverts but for the life of me I just do not get them. So our article will explore this metaverse and find out if its an Emperor without clothes or a misunderstood genius.
it seems to me that gaming is at the bleeding edge of the metaverse. Firstly gamers already live in alternative realities, so understanding what they like and dislike might help us understand how to build an interesting metaverse but also what are the basic needs of people in an alternative reality. Studies of gamers say that 4 things stand out.
1 your in control of yourself but can exceed your physical risk level
2 competing with others in a space thats not real life
3 the excitement of the new world your going into and understanding it
4 community of like minded people
As far as I can see almost all the talk of metaverse started with gaming. Its tracking gaming needs that led to more realistic universes and better controls and opportunity. Gaming is core to the future of the metaverse and its where the battle has commenced.
In our first article lets look at some of the supposed “Players” in the Metaverse and see what gives.
Lets start with the source of the hype, META istelf whose opening screen shows a space ship?? followed by a weird gamer screen of a quasi Mexican house with hanging hammocks, and says
“The metaverse is the next evolution in social connection and the successor to the mobile internet”.
It goes on to say you will be able to connect work, play and learn and shop and then a huge bizzare gaming giant appears in a boxing ring saying “how do you access the metaverse” suggesting I might want to look like a weird game monster with table lamp hands?
OK Mark, now I see why no one has a clue what your talking about!
I then looked at “devices” and found META selling a headset with the words “Hit the link. Blast some droids”. So the product of all this hype is a gaming headset?
Having said that the headset is well reviewed by some gamers and at $300 is not going to phased by Apple at $3000!! The BBC review said a headset looking for an application and that sums it up nicely
Well apple has no products in the metaverse (not even a teaser on its web site which is still selling cell phones and earpods) but is supposedly teasing (not delivering) a headset in 2023?
Apple is so secretive that they do not have anything on their web site about developments at all. You have to go to Macworld or other outside watchers to find out anything at all.
8 years ago they started talking of a headset (they started developing supposedly in 2015) a bit underwhelming isn’t it, and remember its not delivered just teased. Rumour has it that its 8k which would be very nice if there was any video or content in 8k (which there is not). But to deliver the metaverse 8k at least is needed.
Despite this Apple stock of course rose on the news LOL. It is mooted to cost US$3000 a pop and so far no software to back that up! Will it be like the Apple car, all smoke and mirrors?
Well they have some books on the Metaverse Not much else. Of course that over simplifying as its Amazons cloud servers that wil probably power a lot of the metaverse. I am sure Jeff want to take a dollar on every sale in the metaverse but seems to be waiting for other to do the spade work
Microsoft says the Metaverse is:-
the metaverse refers to a virtual world parallel to the real world that can be experienced more completely with technologies such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). These virtual worlds will connect to a social system and fully functioning economy in which data, digital goods, content, and intellectual property (IP) can pass, and individual users, organizations, and companies can create content and goods to ensure that the metaverse continues to expand and evolve.
Well now connecting words together does not mean they make sense. Maybe Microsoft team used ChatGPT to write that, as it makes very little sense to me.
Recent news reports indicate the MS has fired the whole team and shut the Metaverse down. Maybe someone actually read this and said “What are you guys smoking!”
Sundar Pichai apparently said in an interview with Bloomberg.
“It’s always been obvious to me that computing over time will adapt to people than people adapting to computers. You won’t always interact with computing in a black rectangle in front of you. So, just like you speak to people, you see, and interact, computers will become more immersive. They’ll be there when you need it to be. So, I have always been excited about the future of immersive computing, ambient computing, AR.”
OK Sundar, your making more sense than anyone else I have read about this. I can buy that the computer will speak to me out of thin air, in fact I know many people consult Siri and others verbally to get directions and find things so having a Siri like AI help me verbally is a thing I can grasp. Perhaps the AI could also see my surroundings at the time and offer advice and help. Say I was surrounded by muggers maybe Siri could call the police for me or even better make a very loud noise and scare them off? Maybe I am walking down the street and the AI tells me hey you remember last night you searched for a new office shirt, well the shop to your left has them on sale why don’t you take a look?
But why then do I need to walk around with a box on my head looking like a geek covering my eyes and making walking difficult?
M R Carey wrote the Book of Koli and apocalypse novel series, and described such a helper in very sympathetic detail. I am more impressed by his version than anyone in the current media space.
20 years ago a man at MIT told me Electronic Ink would become universal, and sprayed on walls would know my needs and tell me where to go…..anyone seen it out there??
Who are they? Well a company that makes software to make gaming and other worlds come to life. They help bring this metaverse to life in 3D and they claim to have a 50-70% share of all gaming with 3.9 billion users world wide. Led by a veteran gamer John Riccitiello of Electronic Arts who is now helping another company to dominate. This time the 3-D rendering world the basis of virtual reality.
Its not exciting but its fundamental, if your avatar walks into a meeting and shows a complete lack of facial expression, how will the other attendees read you? A blank face might work for poker, but not for say romance or even normal office work.
A video game producer that has used the word metaverse a lot in its marketing. But reality is that it a very successful gaming company and thats about it so far.
CEO Jensen Huang says
“Now, Web 3.0 is here,” Huang said. “The metaverse is the internet in 3D, a network of connected, persistent, virtual worlds.”
We call it the Omniverse says NVIDEA. Now NVIDEA is one of the coolest companies out there and their chips are some of the finest in the world. But I am not sure about this take on metaverse.
They even have a cool image showing designers and others working in a virtual world creating a new product that is then sent to the “real” world to be manufactured on real machines no doubt. So a sort of Zoomy connectedy place?
I keep seeing Web 3 everywhere in researching this so maybe we should look at that.
OK so web 3 from what I read is all tied up with privacy, NFT and block chains and making the web more egalitarian whatever that means. The write up is like a communist manifesto frankly, time to do down the big boys and give people power…good luck with that.
I see no metaverse here and I also see from numerous blogs that its a long long long way off 15 years at least, so I have to question Mr Huang, maybe he just lives in the future.
Steam is a kind of portal to games, its not trivial, the day I went there they had 32 million users online and 10 million actually playing. Could it act as a portal for the future? Well not yet by a long way, its not stupid and does things that make money unlike other big boys above ,whose efforts so far have all spent money and earned zero.
But for gamers STEAM is a place to go, a kind of exhange point. Assuming that gamers lead the future (its a BIG if) , then maybe STEAM would be a portal to more of a future than games.
Another game company with ambition. They have hosted virtual concerts and they have wicked games and they are head to head with UNITY as they have an open source 3D rendering system Unreal Engine 5 that looks awesome and can build amazingly detailed virtual worlds. The software is very exciting and it seems at first glance to be a world beater.
I am not impressed by anyone except Google and Epic Games so suggest you boys talk!
There is a social media company that is starting to fail (i.e. in the tech universe, failing to grow) and you are looking for the next big thing so you look around and decide oh the metaverse. So you will be remembered for posterity you change your company name at eye watering cost so you are META. But really there is nothing there….yet. A recent McKinsey report suggests 8 years, but my gut says double that.
Its not that we will not get more 3-D, its not that we will not change and grow. Of course we will, and Sundar of Google’s take on all this seems more real than anyone else. If Web 3 is going to fundamental then we are in for a long haul. The idea that the current masters of the Universe will just give up and allow themselves to be diminshed is pie in the sky thinking as is most of this hype I’ve been reading.
There is a fundamental difference in approach reflected in these snapshots. Google is walking down a road that helps people do better, Google is “The Book of Koli” just starting out. A system to enhance your world and try to provide what you want before you ask. A kind of virtual Jeeves who has your bag packed before you know you are going to travel.
Meta and other seem to think that we are all tired of this world and want a better place where we can do things different and spend money on virtual clothes and real estate. A kind of fantasy world.
We use our senses, sight, hearing, touch smell and taste all the time. What would a trip to Nice France be in the virtual world? A walk down a virtual promenade. What would it be in the real world? The smell of the sea, the sounds of gulls and the ocean, the taste of rich Nicoise coffee at a stall, a whiff of gauloise, the perfume of a stroller walking past. Anyone who doubts we are 20 years away is not listening.
Yes of course the computer world will try to adapt to and be a part of the real world and if that means glasses that allow you to see information, or advanced Siri’s then for sure it will happen. But right now its a lot of smoke and mirrors. Beware the companies trying to sell you the Metaverse, whether on your computer or on the stock exchange.