By now, you’ve likely had your first VR experience. At least 171 million people globally have used VR. Whether through a video game console, mobile phone, or standalone headset, it is incredibly easy to access thousands of unique, mind-blowing experiences. If you’re close to someone or on the same network, you can meet and interact through your headsets.
What Will the Metaverse Be Like?
What exactly will the metaverse be like? It will likely involve a federated identity with a common avatar across experiences. In it, you will log onto a world where you can meet and interact with anyone worldwide. It will be more like Facebook, where someone in Texas can connect with someone in Korea. Instead of building standalone apps, businesses will build experiences within the metaverse that they can either offer for free or fee.
For all of its hype about the metaverse, Facebook’s current offering, Horizon Worlds, is a VR application, not a fully realized metaverse.
Put another way, for those around during the 90s, a VR app is a website, so there are endless possibilities of which you can easily dip in and out. Horizon Worlds is AOL; you need access to log into it, and then you’re in a walled garden. And just like AOL was a step towards the Internet, Horizon Worlds may be a step towards the metaverse.
Why the Metaverse Will Take Time
Here are a few reasons the metaverse might take some time.
1. Few Companies Can Build It
Facebook and Microsoft are two that are publicly giving it a go. So the pace of development is wholly dependent on a few companies that are also dealing with many other issues.
2. It Will Be Extremely Costly
Facebook has spent at least $10B on metaverse-related projects. Of course, it can afford it, but recent economic uncertainty has paused some of its more aggressive plans.
3. Building It Will Take Place Over the Next Few Decades
VR takes place on standalone, self-contained apps that are built and released. The metaverse will never reach a final form; rather, millions of developers will continue to build upon the original framework, meaning people will differ on deciding when it’s worth exploring.
4. People May Resist It
While Facebook is still a dominant brand, it has lost some luster over the years. People are wary of Facebook’s power over their lives, so they may be disinclined to give them (or another solitary company) power over their virtual selves.
Metaverse Is the Future, VR Is the Present
But have no fear. What will be possible in the metaverse is possible today through virtual reality. Mark Zuckerberg’s initial announcement of the metaverse focused on the following “activities,” all of which VR does extremely well and has done so for years.
1. Get Together With Friends
VR provides opportunities to watch movies together with friends, play games together, or otherwise just hang out. One could argue that VR will always be superior to the metaverse when it comes to just hanging out with a friend.
WSJ tech reporter Joanna Stern recorded a helpful video demonstrating how you can use VR to meet with coworkers and attend conferences without stepping out of your home.
VR has long been an educational tool for training workers. From flight training to medical schools, it will increasingly become an invaluable tool for workers in all industries, but especially those whose decisions could mean life or death.
There are hundreds, if not more, of VR games that span sports, role-playing, first-person shooter, and more. Playing games will continue to be the main driver of VR adoption.
Many retail brands have invested heavily in creating virtual storefronts to help people shop for real-world goods, as well as virtual goods that people can wear in virtual reality. It will continue to be a big business for traditional “physical goods” manufacturers and those who start up to only focus on virtual goods.
As you can see, the future is already here: in virtual reality. For the metaverse to truly transcend the ease and direct application of VR, it must make significant leaps and bounds. Experts are divided on whether that will even happen by 2040.
The metaverse is likely the future, but people don’t have to wait for it because the revolution is here. And when the metaverse blooms, they will be ready for it because of all the VR experience they have.Guest Post
About the Guest Author(s)
Raghu Bathina is a serial entrepreneur who successfully grew and sold his previous ventures to Nokia and Citrix. He co-founded Ramp Networks, a Router company that went public on NASDAQ and then got acquired by Nokia in 2001. In mid-2020, he began the journey to create a solution to the problem of making VR truly immersive through spatial audio, resulting in the birth of Conquest VR.