If Mark Zuckerberg has his way, we won’t be surfing Facebook and the like with our cell phones or computers in the future. Virtual reality glassesto immerse yourself in the virtual worlds of the Metaverse. futurezone took a closer look at the Facebook founder’s vision.
By metaverse or metaverse is meant a network of virtual worlds, which you can access via smartphone, PC and finally also via virtual reality glasses (VR glasses). With them, you can directly immerse yourself in the three-dimensional virtual world and move around in it.
Billions invested in the metaverse
Until now, the Metaverse has been used primarily for entertainment. game worlds are very popular, but virtual events such as concerts also take place there. On the other hand, the metaverse should help shape the future of work.
The driving force behind the Metaverse is Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook’s parent company, Meta. $10 billion the internet giant invested last year in the development of the metaverse. also gave recently Microsoft known to want to participate in development. Game makers are working on it too EpicGamesgraphics card manufacturer Nvidia or electronics company sony in their own virtual worlds.
Old idea repackaged
The idea of a virtual world in which to live a virtual life is not new. Already in the early 2000s you could play “second life“literally building a second digital life. Are always monthly 900,000 users On the platform. In Meta’s own Metaverse virtual world called horizon According to their own statements, 300,000 users are active.
“The reality is that the Metaverse has existed as a virtual world for many, many years. Also 3D technology has been used in architecture for years. But he now has a slightly bigger vision and a concrete name.“, says Hans Elstner, founder of the solution provider Metaverse rooom AG in an interview with futurezone. His company allows companies to independently design virtual worlds, which they use as virtual showrooms or for product presentations. In 3D.
However, Zuckerberg stresses at every opportunity that the Metaverse is still in its infancy. Nevertheless, companies sense an opportunity to be part of an early phase of the “next Internet”. “The interest is incredible, but it’s mainly the big companies, that is to say Companies with 200 or more employeessaid Elstner.
The metaverse is rather unknown in Austria
However, the clientele of the metaverse is still rare. According to market research institute Mindtake Research, the half of Austrians know nothing about the term “metaverse”, at least a quarter of them have heard of it. Around 20 percent get a concrete feel for the Metaverse, with the 18-27 age bracket particularly standing out.
Among them gave 41 percent indicated that they were interested in musical events in the metaverse, and 36% found virtual travel interesting. Only a little less would do it in the Metaverse store. “Shopping will be a big topic”, is also convinced Elstner. A lot of money is already spent on costumes and outfits in the Fortnite video game. “Young people pay 30 or 40 euros a month just to change the look of the avatar.” Companies are also jumping on this trend: high-end fashion brand Gucci, for example, is already selling virtual handbags. cost point – $4,000 a piece.
The events industry is fishing for the public in the Metaverse
Zuckerberg’s vision of the metaverse is that purchased items can then be transferred to other platforms. Also marketing could use the business for themselves. “Then you get a wristband at the concert, for example, which also serves as an entrance wristband for the Metaverse room,” says Elstner, “or I buy a real T-shirt and get a virtual T-shirt in present.”
Also for the corona-stricken event industry Elstner sees opportunities in the metaverse. “The industry needs to take a small step into the digital world to achieve the sales it would like to have. Digital events will not replace, but an extension of the brand.”
Hardware as a big problem
However, in order to attract customers to the Metaverse, there are still some issues to be resolved. The first and perhaps the greatness is the Material. “The thesis is actually that in five to ten years, many people will be using AR glasses and not looking at their smartphones at all,” Elstner says. Meta’s best-selling VR headset, the quest 2could be rare since September 2020 15 million pieces sale. However, the company does not make a profit if you include research and development, Zuckerberg pointed out to the media.
The glasses are still big, clunky, and can only work for a few hours before their battery runs out. The goal, however, is to reduce and improve the technology so that in the future it becomes more and more of a bigger glasses looks like. And the graphics should also improve in the coming years, which would bring us to another problem.
Graphics make you laugh
The graphics and design of virtual worlds are a regular reason for jokes and laughter. The mostly comical worlds are – at least not yet – comparable to the real world and seem strange at first glance. “Actually, about 80, maybe 85% of people aren’t very particular about graphics, because it gamificationthe element is in the foreground,” says Elstner. “It’s more or less okay in many places, but it always depends on what you want to accomplish with it.”
For product presentations realism yet important. For example, if you try on a dress in the Metaverse to order it in real life, you shouldn’t have any unpleasant surprises when it arrives. However, the technology is not yet ready to create a virtual world that is difficult to distinguish from the real world.
Also the integration of the Metaverse into the daily work Elstner views it critically: “It’s a nice gadget in a typical office job, but I just don’t get the added value there.” It doesn’t matter if you’re looking at real screens all day or through AR glasses on virtual screens. However, the technology offers concrete advantages for continuing education.
“The Metaverse Will Come”
Elstner is after the billion bets from Meta, Microsoft or Sony: “The Metaverse will come. Because big tech companies just bet on the Metaverse. But Zuckerberg knows the Metaverse will only prevail if all the major internet companies come together. He found a solid partner in Microsoft. And while the Metaverse vision is far from complete, several companies are already coming together to establish common standards for the “new Internet.”
Although big names like Adobe, Nvidia or even Ikea are part of the “Metaverse Standard Forums”, two important names are missing: Apple and Google. Both companies are working on their own augmented reality headsets. Unlike VR glasses, these do not project completely virtual worlds directly onto the eye, but rather enrich the real world with virtual elements such as directions. Individual companies still cook too much for their own ends to be able to speak of a networked metaverse.
If the metaverse is on its way, the question remains: when will it happen? As internal documents show, Meta wanted one by the end of 2022 half a million active users a month for their world”Horizon Worldsachieve. This goal will likely be clearly missed. The market research company Gardener believes on this subject that the metaverse even more than ten years will take until it enters the mainstream.
Metaverse Internal Critique
Let’s come to the most important and final question: is the metaverse even a good idea? Meta-developers are not convinced, the project is making noise in the company New York Times also denoted by the abbreviation “MMH” – “Make Mark happy‘, i.e. ‘make Mark happy’. The Facebook founder’s vision even triggers a nod in his own company, but is hyped nonetheless.
You feel a little there Google glasses remember – Google’s AR glasses, which were introduced in early 2013 and discontinued in 2015. So is the metaverse also doomed? Or will Zuckerberg’s vision prove successful? At present, many signs point to the former.