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Reality Check on the Virtual Universe: Metaverse or Metamess?

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TechNewsWorld By Jim McGregor

Ever since Facebook discussed the Metaverse on Facebook Connect in October and officially rebranded the company as Meta, the Metaverse has been the tech industry’s hot topic and one of the most overhyped and misunderstood concepts.
The Metaverse is meant to be a virtual 3D universe where you can do just about anything you can in the physical world, including living, working, and playing — and things you can’t, like travel to other places. other planets.
The most common metaverse analogy is the virtual oasis featured in the book and movie « Ready Player One. »
However, reality is not as enjoyable as science fiction.
What should we expect?
The term metaverse itself is a problem.
What is actually being discussed is a virtual world or a virtual universe if you combine multiple virtual worlds. The concept of virtual worlds is not new. Good examples of existing virtual worlds are some of the massive multiplayer games like Minecraft, World of Warcraft (WoW), and Eve Online.
These three games share several common attributes. They allow user anonymity, they promote creativity, and they have a working economy. Anonymity and creativity are major assets for players because they allow them to be anyone or anything they want, and do what they want. A functioning virtual economy is like the glue that binds everything together as it does in the physical world.
There are other virtual environments like VRChat, but they often lack the formal economy. Due to rules and limitations, players often develop unauthorized solutions, such as a currency for VRChat or using independent servers to play WoW games. Hence the creativity. In most cases, gamers would prefer to have a completely open platform that allows anyone to develop solutions.

vr metaverse

However, it also allows for the « everything is fine » mentality that can allow the worst of the worst to come out in some people, including some of the criminal activity seen in the real world made possible by game flaws and hacks.
There is potential for creating safe environments, but it requires a significant amount of control, which some players despise. However, this is the area most likely to be developed by trading platforms.
Virtual platforms have practical applications for a wide variety of applications, such as education, travel, work, religious celebrations, social events, interviews, shopping, real estate, film showings, concerts and even electronic sports.
Interoperability issues
These platforms will need to be more secure, with rules, consequences for breaking the rules, and some level of requirements for public recognition and authentication (no anonymity). However, these platforms will be highly fragmented by applications, platforms and participants.
Due to the race for market share by the various companies developing the platforms, it will be slow and difficult to develop industry-wide standards. As a result, there is no clear way for these to interact with each other, much less how they might interact as a single virtual universe/metaverse.
On the other hand, interoperability issues will be quickly overcome by the open source community.
Despite these safe and commercial opportunities, the development of large and powerful worlds will be carried by the open-source community, around two main applications.
The first is gaming. With over half of the world’s population (yes, over four billion people) already engaged in some form of electronic gaming activity, there is critical mass and huge revenue opportunities. .
The other opportunity is pornography. Regardless of your size, pornography has always been the driving force behind the development and adoption of new media technologies. This will only speed up virtual worlds.
Combine these drivers with the three key criteria of anonymity, creativity, and a functioning economy, and you have uncontrollable, unruly growth.
The technology is here and improving
One thing is clear, it is possible to have successful virtual worlds today. It does not require virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR) glasses, or full haptic suits.
However, as we have seen with VR and other gaming peripherals, as technology advances and game/app developers integrate these advancements into the player experience, adoption will follow quickly.
Audio, graphics, controls and haptic feedback will all be key technologies in developing a truly immersive experience in future virtual platforms and applications.
Likewise, in these environments there will be an increasing interest in developing, buying, selling and trading almost any form of product or service; necessitating the need for development tools in these virtual environments, or at least the ability to import and export virtual goods, and a functional economy that ultimately interacts with the real world.
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and blockchain seek to enable this, but these systems add more rules and expense that many players will not accept and will likely be circumvented in many ways by the open source community. The youth will lead the direction
Like most technologies, everyone will have an opinion. Many older generations will disapprove of the direction of the virtual universe, while most younger generations will embrace it.
While the outlook for the virtual universe or the metaverse (if you insist on using the term that Facebook has hijacked and helped completely hype) is rather bleak, you have to remember that it’s the younger generations who will be looking to embrace it. and to activate it, as many believe that everything is permitted.
Some people call this « the Grand Theft Auto mentality » and find it perfectly acceptable. Add to that, many prefer the virtual environment to talking in person or on the phone. They also place the value of electronics above many other items such as cars.
With an overpopulated planet, one area where humanity will grow will be through the virtual universe(s). Unfortunately, it will be more like the anarchic old west or the «