Sat. Nov 26th, 2022

There will be a large influx of people. The $75 billion (£55 billion) acquisition of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft has landed “like a bomb” on the US$200 billion revenue video game industry, according to Call of Duty slang.

In its vision of the metaverse, in which gaming is the marketing adrenaline of this much-touted online future, which is to be experienced immersively through VR headsets or AR glasses, it heavily arms the Xbox giant. The news caused the stock market to lower Sony’s valuation by $10 billion dollars.

Killer App for the Metaverse

Variety magazine called the metaverse “tech’s hottest trend” at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this month. A new VR world called My House from Samsung offers virtual home makeovers, and an AR-driven virtual beauty makeover line from Perfect Corp. in the United States lets users experiment with cosmetics and accessories using augmented reality.

In October 2021, Facebook renamed itself Meta – a risky move since virtual reality only accounts for 3% of the company’s current revenue. However, Bloomberg predicts that the overall metaverse will be generating revenues of US$800 billion by 2024 (compared to US$500 billion in 2020), so the prize is enormous.

About half of that 2024 projection is expected to come from video games, while a significant portion comes from live entertainment—and major artists like Ariana Grande and Marshmello have already held concerts in the virtual world.

However, what about the rest of us who haven’t yet embraced the technology?

When the technology is ready in a few years, will we all jump on the virtual interaction bandwagon? This will allow people “to feel present—like we’re right there—no matter how far apart we actually are” in the metaverse, according to Mark Zuckerberg of Meta.

BUT WAIT, what?

Perhaps Zuckerberg should rethink his confidence. As anyone who has seen a 3D movie can attest, technological and entertainment trends are never predictable.

To paraphrase Elon Musk, who said it best in late December,

At the moment, I’m unable to envision anything compelling in the metaverse… I don’t see anyone glued to a screen all day and never wanting to leave. You can put a television on your nose, of course. That doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in the metaverse.

It was a November 2021 commercial for an organisation that promotes all things Icelandic, Inspired by Iceland, that addressed similar concerns. On behalf of analogue existence, the host parodied Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s evangelistic “I’m so excited to tell you” launch video for Meta. “It’s here already… Enhanced real-world experience without the use of gaudy headsets… When it comes to immersion, the water is actually wet.”

Because of their foresight, they deserve an award. People’s desire for real-world experiences is evident in current social and entertainment trends. Data from the United States shows, for example, a suburban shuffle and a preference for the great outdoors over smaller towns. In the music industry, touring is the primary source of revenue.

The Impossible Project, a film by German filmmaker Jens Meurer about the man who saved the last Polaroid factory, has just premiered in theatres. BBC One in the United Kingdom has a hit show called The Repair Shop that is conceptually the polar opposite of the metaverse: “A heartwarming antidote to a culture of waste. ”

As a result, the idea of a future theme park where your life is a video game is open to question. People will be tempted by attractive products that are on the horizon, such as Apple’s VR/AR ski-style goggles and Bond-style intelligent contact lenses. Although it’s now possible on the Oculus Rift to experience office life in VR, will we be able to accept the idea of having a virtual ski lodge for our Monday sales meeting?

Meet your virtual representations of Yourself

The metaverse is an appropriate alternative paradigm for the metaverse, which is itself an alternative paradigm. We could delegate access to the metaverse to machine-learned synthetic versions of ourselves instead of attempting to enter it ourselves.

If our synthetic selves had been trained on our preferences and needs, they would have no problem navigating the digital world. Amazon and Facebook already know a lot about you, but if you add your dinner conversation, a quick morning meeting to set priorities, and your digital avatar could be a functioning replica.

It would be able to synthesise your speech and physical features and travel to metaland without the need for a physical body. Whether you need to buy new clothes, book a plumber, or negotiate a new electricity contract, this app can do it all.

As our avatars go out and buy a new refrigerator or negotiate a deal, we can concentrate on more important things in the real world. This is the metaverse where the work gets done.

It could be compared to Downton Abbey’s “invisible workroom” below the stairs. Alternatively, you can run your own private call centre, where dummy agents play the role of you and deal with annoying customers while the real you enjoys a relaxing vacation at the beach. He has been called “a great bunch of guys” by the New Yorker. That’s possible in the metaverse).

It’s even more fascinating than the current, entertainment-based metaverse conceits if it can be reduced to this functional space – and perhaps even a bigger opportunity. The worst dangers in the metaverse can be avoided by using blockchain to verify our avatar identities, even if we’ve heard about dystopian AIs or alarming reports on deep fakes and bot armies. There is still a lot of room to grow. We may be able to combine virtual and real worlds with AI replicas, allowing us to enjoy both worlds without having to give up what we already have.

By Adam

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