Tech Leaders “pull no punches” over the Metaverse
Not all of Silicon Valley agree the Metaverse is the next big thing. From Elon Musk to Bill Gates, the tech industry remains divided about the subject. Whilst many agree the Metaverse will happen, there is a divergence of opinion about what the Metaverse will become. Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook/Meta) has called the Metaverse “the next stage of the internet“. Focusing on people, Zuckerberg explains how interaction is a more personal experience in the Metaverse. Meta strategy is built around the Metaverse social spaces that incorporate entertainment and advertising. Meta’s Horizon features workspaces, home space, entertainment, games and worlds. Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin poured cold water on Zuckerberg’s Metaverse vision, tweeting, “It’s far too early to know what people actually want. So anything Facebook creates now will misfire.” Bill Gates recently saw the acceleration towards the technology, remarking that most “business meetings will happen on the Metaverse” within two to three years.
Elon Musk has been critical of the technology that interfaces the Metaverse likening current headset technology to “strapping a tv to your face”. Two key companies developing extended reality headsets are Google and Apple. Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, taking a swipe at Facebook, said, “There’s not an agreement on what the metaverse is, even though one company has changed its name in anticipation of defining it,”. Meanwhile, Apple has been silent over the Metaverse, although CEO Tim Cook has repeatedly praised augmented reality. Both Google and Apple are specialists at reinventing marketplaces through innovation and are developing for the Metaverse. Interest fueled by Facebook’s change of name and focus on the Metaverse has seen digital land on decentralised platforms soar, only for Metaverse land to crash this year. The news prompted Billionaire investor Mark Cuban to call Metaverse real estate owners “dumb“. Although he directly benefited from the Yugo Labs “Otherside” Metaverse Land sale.
In the gaming sector, Fortnite success in Metaverse Concerts has reaped a Billion Pound in investment into Epic Games. CEO Tim Sweeney called the Metaverse a “Multitrillion Dollar Opportunity.” Not everyone in the gaming sector was so keen. Playstation inventor called the Metaverse “quasi-real” and said he “can’t see the point“. However, investment has been high throughout the sector, with Blackrock among the Metaverse Angels calling this “a game-changing year“. JP Morgan has led the banking sector in opening in the Metaverse, remarking that the technology will “infiltrate every sector.“
Interest in the Metaverse has declined from its peak in January, with Google Trends showing a 75% drop that mirrors the fall in Metaverse Real Estate. If the trend continues and platforms fail to captivate their audiences, the Metaverse may become perceived as another PokemonGo. A fad used to socialise during the covid era. In many ways, the Metaverse has launched early, with most platforms failing to offer extended reality and interoperability non-existent, leaving users to wade through siloed platforms. We see the building blocks of the Metaverse created on the fly. Decentralisation and Web 3.0 ideology on ownership have created Metaverses that compete with centralised owned platforms, notably Microsoft and Meta. The seamless travel through virtually enhanced perceived reality is yet to arrive, and interoperability unlocks the door to a true Metaverse that both users and investors are waiting to materialise.