Has The Metaverse Bubble burst?

Land prices on Ethereum traded Metaverses have “crashed 85%” in 2022. The decline was caused by waning user interest. Is history repeating itself as many remember the dot com boom and bust of the early web? There has been akin to a gold rush to own part of the Metaverse, but in reality, there is no Metaverse yet or precise definition of what it will be. Some see it as a virtual world experienced through avatars, and others extended reality where computers and humans share in its creation. A.I. within the Metaverse offers many new possibilities for interaction within an enhanced reality. The vision of the Metaverse is that we will live part of our lives within the Metaverse, where we will meet, work, shop, be entertained, and learn.

The Metaverse started trending after Facebook changed its name to Meta and the accompanying video. But it was in part the “covid era” that grew the user base of the Metaverse. Social distancing, masks, and lockdowns made everyday social interactions difficult, and the Metaverse offered a “more normal” space to interact. No doubt big tech noticed the growth in this sector first. So investment into the Metaverse has been massive, with headsets being sold at a loss to gain a share of this lucrative new audience and Meta and Microsoft pledging over $140 Billion in investment. But will the Metaverse retain its audience, now you can go down to the pub?

The decline of Metaverse land sales coincides with the summer season and refound freedoms. Meta Quest 2 Meta’s Metaverse headset and the app became the top download last Christmas. The platform hosted a series of free concerts featuring star-studded lineups but has had mixed reviews. Reports of harassment on the Metaverse in the media have not benefited growth. Despite the popularity among investors in decentralised Metaverse land, the primary user bases are in gaming and centralised Metaverses. Interface technology is a problem, too, with few decentralised platforms able to offer virtual reality yet.

Investors have purchased Metaverse Real Estate as an investment into a world that can only artificially be limited. The Metaverse experience of seamlessness travel through games and platforms has yet to arrive. With a plethora of platforms to choose from, many investors appear to be waiting for clear indications of which areas of the Metaverse will win. Other tech leaders such as Elon Musk point to the technology, likening the headsets to “strapping a T.V. to your head and calling it the Metaverse”. BlackRock has said 2022 will be a significant year for the Metaverse, with the new release of products that could prove game changers. It could be that innovation in headset technology is required to reignite interest from the mainstream public.

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