Big Companies and the Metaverse: What’s with the Obsession?
Don’t worry, this is not going to be another piece that starts with a Snowcrash or Ready Player One reference. There has been so much noise about the Metaverse, with brands, techsperts, founders, and tech enthusiasts talking about it. With so many big shots like Facebook and Microsoft trying to take their jab at the Metaverse, here is us answering your question — what is with the sudden obsession towards the Metaverse?
It has been a process
The ecosystem did not wake up one day and decide they were going to go all out on the Metaverse. It is different pieces like AR, VR, Crypto, NFTs, MR, and so much more coming together to form a virtual layer to the physical world. Each of this technology has been in development over the past five years, surpassing their initial stages of awareness and adoption. Fortnite, Roblox, Oculus, everything is a part of your Metaverse. As you can now sense, it has been around for a really long time.
Think of this as the next big step towards your social system. When video calls were introduced, it was a big deal. Remember Skype? Back in the day, you had hardly two or three platforms that let you video call someone. In fact, video call was synonymous with Skyping, which then became Facetiming. Now you see that every other messenger platform has a video call feature to it. It has become a part of our communication process.
Similarly, the Metaverse will mean that you interact with the help of avatars, have digitally simulated worlds to interact with, you can have communities, the ecosystem will be community-driven and several elements will be made for the Metaverse. New shoes, outfits, currency, assets, or even a house! You name it.
Why is it important for tech giants to jump on the bandwagon?
The answer is simple, but also not. The Metaverse is seen as your leap to the next generation of the internet. That simply answers why it is important for all tech giants to offer their bit of contribution. But also, on the other hand, the Metaverse is not a space that one company can create or hold.
Take the example of Web2. Cyberspace is not just your Google or Facebook. You depend on several of these platforms for your everyday user flow. Similarly, Web3 is going to need the contribution of various platforms for various services. Don’t like your Bitmoji? Use the avatar that Meta creates for you. Don’t think a virtual world is a good place for you to have a work meeting? Jump to a different virtual world.
This applies to gadgets as well. The idea is to use several gadgets to access the Metaverse, ranging from your mobile phone to VR headsets to your gaming console. A major difference is going to be that these platforms will have their own deep social world.
How the Metaverse is going to be is still a vision that is being built. What we are seeing right now are barely the MVPs. Each company can have its own vision for the Metaverse. What matters is that eventually, all the visions come together and offer an experience that the user will be immersed in.
Right now, most Metaverses that are being discussed are virtual worlds where you get to interact with Avatars. Meta’s upcoming social platform Horizon is a great example. The avatar-based virtual social space will work in VR, but they are also looking to expand it to AR, mobile phones, and computers as well. AltSpaceVR of Microsoft is already in this space.
Companies are now finding ways to bridge the hardware gaps by enabling different technologies and creating new solutions. Microsoft has been at it for a long time now but still hasn’t cracked it.
AR/VR hardware is not for everyone
Meta is integrating Oculus with its non-VR social platforms as well, Microsoft is pushing for AR that works on smartphones in addition to Hololens, iPhone is concentrating on building better AR integration on iPhone and iPad. You can see what the common thread here is. AR or VR hardware cannot be for everyone given various factors like the price, availability, etc.
Tech companies have now realized the necessity to bring the tech to everyone regardless of the availability of hardware. Everyone has a smartphone with a good camera these days. Cross-platforming is also the important goal of the Metaverse. Most of the Metaverse initiatives will be available for you to use, doesn’t matter what kind of hardware you prefer.
The race begins
Anyone with multiple devices like smartwatches, a voice assistant, a smartphone, and a VR headset would know why it is important for all of these to function together seamlessly.
But the companies involved here range from Google, Facebook, Apple, Epic and so many others. Everyone wants to be the go-to option in the marketplace. There is no wonder why everyone is rushing to make it to the line, because like it or not, the Metaverse is here.