What really is a metaverse and what is the history? Coined by a writer Neal Stephenson he joined meta meaning beyond and universe. He was apparently thinking of a shared virtual space at the time.
Of course for hundreds of years books allowed us to live in metaverses in our own head. The difference now is shared space which Stephenson saw was critical to the future of information.
Now we curently live in the universe envisioned by Nikola Tesla from 1926.
When wireless is perfectly applied the whole earth will be converted into a huge brain, which in fact it is, all things being particles of a real and rhythmic whole. We shall be able to communicate with one another instantly, irrespective of distance. Not only this, but through television and telephony we shall see and hear one another as perfectly as though we were face to face, despite intervening distances of thousands of miles; and the instruments through which we shall be able to do his will be amazingly simple compared with our present telephone. A man will be able to carry one in his vest pocket.“We shall be able to witness and hear events–the inauguration of a President, the playing of a world series game, the havoc of an earthquake or the terror of a battle–just as though we were present.
Nikola Tesla in an Interview with Colliers january 30th 1926
Where do we go from here?
So where do we want to live? What is this future metaverse really?
A Digression into why it has to be another world not our own
A question that might be asked is why put on a clumsy headset to see things in 3D in another world, when a hologram would let us see them right in this world.
Dennis Gabor, a Hungarian-born scientist, invented holography in 1948, for which he received the Nobel Prize for Physics more than 20 years later (1971).
Where is holography today?
Well many have seen Pricess Leia appealing for help in the first Star Wars. Optical specialists we read say that Leia is not even a hologram and people are confused. Its really a volumetric display.
Today Voxon is state of the art volumetric display, but looking at, it well its just not going to tempt anyone away from their headset. Home – Voxon Photonics
In Germany Kaleida has done some remarkable hologram work with circus but in very specific conditions that cost huge amounts of money and have to be carefully controlled by a team. LINK
When we realise that other than Princess Lei and the back of our credit cards none of us actually see holograms, its clear that huge stumbling blocks remain technically for a hologram to walk amongst us.
Certainly at our current state the idea of walking in a world where the man or women next to you may be a hologram is much further away than that they are a robot.
In fact if that robot was controlled by a person, then there is perhaps no point in the cost of making a hologram. So we could in fact envision a world where there are for hire robots like for hire bikes that you can download your conscious to and live for a while similar to the hit Sci Fi series Peripheral based on work by William Gibson.
At this poimt most tech visionaries are taking the view that gaming leads the way to the Metaverse and has of course been creating virtual universes since pacman. What may not apparent to our readers is the scale of gaming.
- According to the latest data, there are approximately 3bn active video gamers worldwide (40% of the population!).
- The video game market is worth an estimated $230 billion growing to $500bn by 2028.
- Average age of gamers is 35
- 50:50 male female.
- To our surprise analysts show that over 50m US seniors play games up to 5 hours a week.
- In game spending is the fastest growing segment at $61bn
These figures show why tech giants all want a chance to get in here and have coined this Metaverse idea so that they can taking gaming away from its roots into everyday life for everyone!
Why are humans spending $230bn a year growing fast?
Microsofts new Bing chatbot Ai says they do it for these reasons:-
There are many reasons why people play video games. Some of them are:
- To experience novelty or variety
- To feel competence or mastery over something
- To explore and enjoy freedom in a digital world
- To take risks and challenge themselves
- To have a safe place to fail and learn from mistakes
- To compete with others and prove themselves
- To earn income or pursue a career in gaming
- To build and create something of their own
A fast growing trend is Esports where players compete for prizes. Games like Call of Duty and League of legends and Dota 2 offer prizes up to $2m per contest. Prizes by gaming companies are close to $1bn a year. The highest individual earner made about $7m in Esport events with huge audiences. There were over 100 player making over $1m last year from Esports. Esports will soon compete as a category in real games like the Olympics and with revenue growth of 35%pa and over $3bn sales today is expected to join the ranks of the top world sports in 5 years.
Whats driving growth in gaming?
Growth is being driven by the move from expensive desktop consoles to mobile devices more accessible to teens. Mobile devices now make up nearly 50% of all gaming and have massively boosted gaming world wide particularly in Asia. One estimate says over 90% of teens world wide regularly play games, not just for the game itself but for the peer and friend interaction. This grew exponentially during Covid of course.
The key players in gaming are:
Microsoft, Nintendo, Electronic Arts, Sony, Activision, Valve