Like all innovations, Metaverse comes wrapped in mystery and skepticism. The concept is still vague to many business leaders. The vision has been spelled out, but the roadmap is unclear. How should the business industry approach and be a part of Metaverse? What kind of thinking, planning, and execution is required? Unless Metaverse companies shine a light on these areas, widespread adoption of Metaverse may not be possible by 2030.
The term ‘Metaverse’ originates from a classic science fiction called Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson that dates to 1992. The story revolves around how avatars in a digital world meet online. Tech giants are trying to turn this concept into reality, and investors are visibly excited about its possibilities.
Metaverse promoters believe it will revolutionize how we think, work, shop, socialize and play. However, before all this fantastic stuff lands on our doorstep, we need answers to how it works.
Back to the beginning
What is Metaverse? We can say it is a network of 3D virtual worlds by parsing the various definitions doing the rounds. You need to enter the Metaverse by using headsets, doing a bunch of actions such as eye movements, voice commands, and other stuff, and creating your digital avatar, which will acquire a life of its own.
Once you are in, it’s a whole new world out there. You can socialize, shop, build homes, buy, sell, learn, hold concerts, perform, lecture, and create a digital economy, pretty much like it is in this physical world.
But how are all these experiences going to be conveyed to everyone? Are the companies setting up shop in Metaverse explaining their journey clearly and lucidly so we can follow them?
There are already rumblings that Metaverse is nothing but a jazzed-up version of the existing virtual reality with its games, concerts, and e-commerce. Such dissonance results from a lack of clarity, and Metaverse passport-holding companies must begin telling their stories.
Funding is only the start
More than $120 billion was invested in Metaverse in 2022, double the sum in 2021, and that’s great, but it still does not dissolve the mystery surrounding the concept. Businesses, policymakers, consumers, and citizens read about this momentum but continue to scratch their heads.
There are four core building blocks in the Metaverse’s technology stack: content and experiences, platforms (such as game engines), infrastructure and hardware (such as devices and networks), and enablers (such as payment mechanisms and security). Metaverse experiences are built on ten layers that span these components, and Interoperability between these elements is a critical consideration of how they will evolve.
What does each component call for? How are these interoperable? How can industry leaders, businesses, manufacturers, consumers, and others on the spectrum be a part of it, and what’s in it for them? Will these building blocks and layers combine to form the Metaverse?
It remains to be seen.
Undoubtedly, our digital lives are becoming increasingly complex and immersive. However, this does not guarantee that the Metaverse will further blur the lines between our physical and digital lives. Innovation is exciting but also a risk. The farthest horizons it promises to take us to may not be where we end up going because the essential component of every digital experience is the user who first exists in flesh and blood and then morphs into a digital entity. If the user experience does not sit well in the promised world of Metaverse, the first stumbling block may prove to be its undoing.
There are other fundamental issues like privacy and security, which are also unknown territories.
Lifting veil over metaverse
Companies need to start putting out compelling and enjoyable content that will lift the veil over Metaverse and clearly show the picture. A dedicated content team can fast track the B2B and B2C marketing efforts of the metaverse companies.
For example, Manchester City is set to build the first football stadium in the Metaverse. Huh? How will this work? Will your avatar watch a football match with other Premium League avatars playing in the virtual world? How will you be a part of the action? Will the stadium have rules and regulations? What does it mean for your avatar to watch a match? How does that relate to the physical you? The sooner the company enlightens us, the better we can put our hands together for it.
The Metaverse is here. Or is it?
Can the next iteration of the digital world impact our way of life or change how we live and think? We know for a fact that technology has the power to alter our lives irrevocably. How will Metaverse achieve this shift?
How will we balance the virtual worlds with the physical world to ensure the Metaverse is built responsibly? How can it be a safe environment for consumers? How closely will it align with the ‘open’ vision of the internet’s next iteration? Can technology advance quickly to build the Metaverse of our imagination?
So many questions. We can’t get the answers fast enough. Can the stakeholders please step up and tell their stories that educate, empower, and engage us?