In the list of buzzwords that sneak in everywhere, although not everyone is very clear about what exactly they are, right now the metaverse occupies a prominent position. Like one of those newsworthy summer snakes, the metaverse has crept into all tech and business / business media outlets, who are talking about what it means and how a few prominent companies have been on the run to capitalize on it.
The term, metaverse, sounds like a kind of nebulous element, stolen from the science fiction universe (and it will not be the first question that has been imposed on the market in recent years that seems to be taken from science fiction). As it is not so rare, its origins are found in science fiction.
The term was first used in a 1990s novel, Snow Crash , by Neal Stephenson, although it would be popularized by another, Ready Player One , which would be made into a movie. In the literary universe, the metaverse implied a kind of alternative reality to the real one. In the business world, the idea is seen as a kind of new evolution of the internet, as the crossroads where the real world and the digital world will conclude.
Virtual reality, augmented reality and social networks will be a kind of gateway to an environment in which everything is much more diffuse. Facebook has become the most visible face in the jump to the metaverse, basically because it is a very large and influential company and because its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has already made announcements noting that they hope to become a “metaverse company” to five years seen.
“You can think of the metaverse as an embedded internet where instead of just viewing content, you are in it,” Zuckerberg has defined about what exactly the metaverse is. “In the coming years, I hope that people see us as a Transitions social networking company primary form to a metaverse company , ” stated Zuckerberg himself in his last investor conference, as collects the Financial Times .
They see it, says the business newspaper, as the goal of building “the new generation of the internet.” Facebook has already spent billions of dollars annually on elements linked to the metaverse (for example, working in augmented and virtual reality) and has more than 10,000 workers linked to development projects in this field.
Horizon, its virtual reality environment, will be the jewel in the crown, although, as the FT makes clear, it is still not very clear what the metaverse of Facebook will look like. What is known, because Facebook has already made it clear, is that this metaverse will be monetized, with ads and purchases.
It’s not just Facebook
Analyzes of the metaverse and what it means for companies are dominated by Facebook, because the company is the largest and most recognizable company in this race, but Facebook is far from the only one trying to gain a position in the metaverse or in mention it as a key element for the future.
As you recall, in fact, in eldiario.es, the Spanish Government already mentions in the Spain 2050 National Strategy the “growth of the metaverse” as an element that will mark the economic future. Gaming companies are the other more visible face of the potential of the metaverse and how it works in that direction.
Epic Games, the owner of Fortnite, has seen how her game became a universe in which the borders between the digital and the physical were becoming more blurred, so much so that when they began to talk tentatively about it in 2020 metaverse appealed to this company. Silicon Valley was betting on the metaverse then as the new reinvention of the internet and, as The Washington Post pointed out at the time, Fortnite seemed the company that was going to come first to change.
“Fortnite is a game,” said the CEO of Epic Games, Tim Sweeney, in a statement in 2019, which recovered the Post, “but ask me that question again in twelve months.” The truth is that not even Fortnite was the only game that was approaching the metaverse. Animal Crossing, the endearing game that was the great king of confinement, was also already an example. All the virtual events of the coronavirus crisis were likewise accelerating the migration to the metaverse.
Potential for all
But of course not only games and social media companies have been looking for ways to enter the metaverse. The potential is for everyone and the changes will affect everyone. Chipmaker Nvidia also works in this environment and is already creating the first B2B applications.
And some companies have started operating in that new world: Sotheby’s has already opened a temporary gallery in the metaverse. In fact, all the NFT fever of a few months ago can be understood very well in this context of the metaverse boom. The possibilities are very wide: “The metaverse is not an app store with a catalog of titles.
In the metaverse, you and your friends and your appearance and use of cosmetics can go from one place to another and have different experiences while staying connected to each other, ” explains Sweeney. And, although there are voices that remain critical and believe that all this hype about the metaverse is rather smoke, more and more analysts are taking it seriously and alerting companies about the challenges it will pose for the future. The change to the metaverse will be staggered, but the work must start now.