Close

The Metaverse: And How it Will Revolutionize Everything

“A massively scaled and interoperable network of real-time rendered 3D virtual worlds that can be experienced synchronously and persistently by an effectively unlimited number of users with an individual sense of presence, and with continuity of data, such as identity, history, entitlements, objects, communications, and payments.”

The Metaverse

The Metaverse

Herausgeber:

ISBN: 1324092033

Summary

A great historical perspective on technology and how it brought us to this point. An excellent book if people want to learn where we are and where we are going. The book provides more than just a definition of the metaverse. It also explains what systems will be necessary for the metaverse to thrive.

 

Take Aways

Introduction

Yet the second-highest-grossing film of the year, 2001: A Space Odyssey, imagined a future in which humanity had compressed these fridge-sized devices into coaster-thin displays and used them idly during breakfast. Anyone watching the film today will instantly liken these devices to iPads. Per usual, the imagined technology, like Bush’s Memex, took longer to arrive than was originally anticipated. iPads appeared in stores four and half decades after Stanley Kubrick’s groundbreaking film was released, and more than a decade after the futuristic film was set.”

 

“In July 2021, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said: “In this next chapter of our company, I think we will effectively transition from people seeing us as primarily being a social media company to being a metaverse company. And obviously, all of the work that we’re doing across the apps that people use today contribute directly to this vision.”

“Zuckerberg’s bold pronouncements drew the most attention, but many of his peers and competitors had launched similar initiatives and made similar announcements in the months prior. In May, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella began to speak of a Microsoft-led “enterprise Metaverse.” Likewise, Jensen Huang, CEO and founder of computing and semiconductor giant Nvidia, had told investors that “the economy in the Metaverse . . . [will] be larger than the economy in the physical world”

“Yet there is a critical difference between that shift and the impending shift to the Metaverse: timing. Most industries and individuals did not foresee the significance of mobile and cloud, and consequently were stuck reacting to changes and fighting off disruption from those who better understood them. Preparations for the Metaverse are happening much earlier, and proactively.”

Brief History of the Future

“Jeff Bezos to found the private aerospace manufacturer and suborbital spaceflight company Blue Origin in 2000, with the author working there part-time until 2006, when he became a senior advisor to the company (a position he still holds)”

“Whatever the differences among each specific author’s visions, the synthetic worlds of Stephenson, Gibson, the Wachowskis, Dick, Bradbury, and Weinbaum are all presented as dystopias. Yet there is no reason to assume that such an outcome is inevitable, or even likely, for the actual Metaverse. A perfect society tends not to make for much human drama, and human drama is the root of most fiction.”

 

“Some observers date the history of “proto-Metaverses” to the 1950s during the rise of mainframe computers, which represented the first time that individuals could share purely digital messages with one another across a network of different devices. Most, however, start in the 1970s with text-based virtual worlds known as Multi-User Dungeons. MUDs were effectively a software-based version of the role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons. Using text-based commands that resembled human languages, players could interact with one another, explore a fictional world populated by non-playable characters and monsters, attain power-ups and knowledge, and eventually retrieve a magical chalice, defeat an evil wizard, or rescue a princess.”

“Throughout the 2010s, bands of users collaborated in Minecraft to build cities as large as Los Angeles—roughly 500 square miles. One video game streamer, Aztter, constructed a stunning cyberpunk city out of an estimated 370 million Minecraft blocks, having worked an average of 16 hours per day for a year.7 Scale is not the sole achievement of the platform. In 2015, Verizon built a cellphone inside Minecraft that could make and receive live video calls to the “real world.”

“Tim Sweeney told reporters: “This Metaverse is going to be far more pervasive and powerful than anything else. If one central company gains control of this, they will become more powerful than any government and be a God on Earth”

“But to secure their user and developer bases while also expanding into new areas and blocking potential competitors, the tech giants have spent the past decade closing their ecosystems. They’ve done this by forcibly bundling together their many services, preventing users and developers from easily exporting their own data, shutting down various partner programs, and stymying (if not outright blocking) for-profit and even open standards which might threaten their hegemony. These maneuvers, mixed with the feedback loops that come from having comparatively more users, data, revenue, devices, etc., have effectively closed much of the internet. Today, a developer must essentially receive permission and provide payment. Users have little ownership of their online identity, data, or entitlements.”

Roblox

“According to Roblox Corporation, 75% of children ages 9 to 12 in the United States regularly used the platform in Q2 2020”

“ The Roblox game with the most lifetime plays—Adopt Me!—was created by two hobbyist players in 2017 and enabled users to hatch, raise, and trade various pets. By the end of 2021, Adopt Me!’s virtual world had been visited more than 30 billion times—more than fifteen times the average number of global tourism visits in 2019. Furthermore, developers on Roblox, many of whom are also small teams with fewer than 30 members, have received more than $1 billion in payments from the platform. By the end of 2021, Roblox had become the most valuable gaming company outside of China, worth nearly 50% more than storied gaming giants Activision Blizzard and Nintendo.”

Confusion and Uncertainty

“For example, Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella has described the Metaverse as a platform that turns the “entire world into an app canvas”1 which could be augmented by cloud software and machine learning.”

 

“ . . a kind of online playground where users could join friends to play a multiplayer game like Epic’s ‘Fortnite’ one moment, watch a movie via Netflix the next and then bring their friends to test drive a new car that’s crafted exactly the same in the real world as it would be in this virtual one”

 

“a persistent synchronous environment where we can be together, which I think is probably going to resemble some kind of a hybrid between the social platforms we’ve seen today, but an environment where you’re embodied in it.” That tells me what it is: it’s The Holodeck.”

 

“ Metaverse, it could be described as follows: a never-ending virtual world where everyone dresses up as comical avatars and competes in immersive VR games to win points, jumps into their favorite franchises, and acts out their most impossible fantasies. This was brought to life in Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One, a 2011 novel considered to be a more mainstream, spiritual successor to Stephenson’s Snow Crash, and which was adapted to film by Steven Spielberg in 2018. Like Stephenson, Cline never provided a clear definition of the Metaverse (or what he called “The Oasis”)”

“In 1995, Microsoft founder and CEO Bill Gates wrote his famous “Internet Tidal Wave” memo, in which he explained that the internet was “crucial to every part of our business” and “the most important single development to come along since the IBM PC was introduced in 1981”

 

“While Microsoft and Facebook made fundamental mistakes about the technologies of the future, many others failed because they bet on the right technology but before there was a market to support it. In the years before the dotcom crash, tens of billions of dollars were invested in building fiber optic networks across the United States. Due to the low marginal costs in laying extra capacity, many backers built considerably greater capacity than was needed—hoping that they would corner a regional market by providing enough capacity for all existing and future traffic. However, this was based on the faulty belief that internet traffic growth would increase exponentially in the years to come. Ultimately, it was common for less than 5% of fiber to be “lit,” with the rest unused.”

A Definition

“A massively scaled and interoperable network of real-time rendered 3D virtual worlds that can be experienced synchronously and persistently by an effectively unlimited number of users with an individual sense of presence, and with continuity of data, such as identity, history, entitlements, objects, communications, and payments.”

“Unpacking the etymology of the term “Metaverse” is helpful here. Stephenson’s neologism comes from the Greek prefix “meta” and the stem “verse,” a backformation of the word “universe.” In English, “meta” roughly translates to “beyond” or “which transcends” the word that follows.”

Digital Twin

“ The goal of such a digital twin is to enable city planners to better understand the cities they manage and make more informed decisions about zoning, construction approvals, and more. For example, how would a new commercial mall affect travel times for emergency medical or police services? How might a specific building design adversely affect wind conditions, urban temperatures, or downtown light? Virtual worlds can prove an essential aid.”

Building the Metaverse

Persistence

“The challenge of persistence in virtual worlds can be a bit difficult to grasp because we don’t encounter this problem in the real world. If you cut down a physical tree, it is gone irrespective of whether you personally remember cutting it down, and no matter how many other trees and activities Mother Earth is tracking. With a virtual tree, your device and the server which manages it must actively decide whether to retain this information, render it, and share it with others. And if these computers choose to do so, there are additional questions of detail—is the tree just “gone,” or is it now felled on the ground? Should players see which side it was chopped from, or just that it was generically cut? And does it “biodegrade”? If so, how—generically, or in response to its local environments? The more information that persists, the greater the computational needs and the less memory and power that is available for other activities.

User

“The Metaverse will only become “the Metaverse” if it can support a large number of users experiencing the same event, at the same time, and in the same place, without making substantial concessions in user functionality, world interactivity, persistence, rendering quality, and so on. Just imagine how different—and limited—society would be today if only 50 to 150 people could attend any given sporting match, concert, political rally, museum, school, or mall.”

Networking

“Yet the Metaverse will require low latency. Slight facial movements are incredibly important to human conversation. We’re also highly sensitive to slight mistakes and synchronization issues—which is why we don’t mind how the mouths on a cartoonish Pixar character moves, but are quickly creeped out by a photo-real CGI human whose lips don’t move exactly right (animators call this the “uncanny valley”).”

 

Computing

“An example helps bring this to (virtual) life. When a player shoots a rocket launcher at a tree in Fortnite, this information (the item used, its attributes, and the trajectory of the projectile) is sent from that player’s device to Fortnite’s multiplayer server, which then relays that information to all of the players who require that information. Their local machines then process and act on that information: they show the explosion, determine whether their players are harmed, remove the tree from the map, and allow the players to move through where it once was, and so on.
In practice, players might not even see the same visual explosion, even though the “same” explosive hit the exact “same” tree at the exact “same” angle at the exact “same” time, and the exact same logic was applied to process the cause and effect. This reflects the fact that (due to variable latency) a given device might think the rocket was sent slightly earlier or later, and from a slightly different position. Usually this doesn’t matter, but sometimes it is enormously consequential. For example, Player 1’s console might determine that Player 2 was killed by the explosion that destroyed the tree[…]”

 

Virtual World Engines

“f you go home, mix ketchup and petroleum, and then try to eat it or paint with it, the laws of physics take care of the results. For a game to manage the same interaction, it needs to know in advance what ketchup and petroleum do when they’re combined (and probably in generic ratios), or it needs to know enough about the two for the game’s logic to figure it out, assuming the game is capable.”

“Start with engagement. By January 2022, Roblox was averaging more than 4 billion hours of usage per month, up from roughly 2.75 billion a year earlier, 1.5 billion the year before that, and 1 billion at the end of 2018. This excludes time spent watching Roblox content on YouTube, which is the world’s most used video site and reports that gaming content is its most watched content category, and Roblox its second most popular game (Minecraft, another IVWP, ranks first). As a point of contrast, Netflix is estimated at 12.5 billion to 15 billion hours of use per month”

 

Interoperability

“If a player buys an outfit in Activision Blizzard’s Call of Duty and wants to use it in EA’s Battlefield, how is that to work? Does Activision send the outfit’s ownership record to EA, which manages it until it’s needed elsewhere, or does Activision indefinitely manage the outfit and provide EA temporary rights to use it? And how is Activision paid to do this? If the player sells the outfit to an EA user who doesn’t have an Activision account, what happens then? Which company even processes the transaction? What if the users decide to modify the outfit in the EA game? How is that record altered? If users have virtual items scattered across multiple titles, how do they ever know what, altogether, they own and where what they own can or cannot be used?
The 3D standards to use (or not use), the systems to build and data to structure, the partnerships that need to be struck, the valuable data that must be protected but also shared—these and other issues have real-world financial implications. The largest of these considerations, however, might be how to manage an economy of interoperable virtual objects.”

“[..] brand owners must embrace something they almost never allow: unlimited-term licenses (in-game outfits are kept by players forever), overlapping marketing windows (some brand events are mere days apart or overlap entirely), and little to no editorial control. In sum, this means it’s now possible to dress as Neymar while wearing a Baby Yoda or Air Jordan backpack, holding Aquaman’s trident, and exploring a virtual Stark Industries. And the owners of these franchises want this to happen.”

“Just as free-to-play led to new products to sell to players, from dances to voice modulators and “battle passes,” interoperability will too. Developers might bake degradation into an asset’s code—this skin works for 100 hours of use, or 500 games, or three years, during which time it slowly wears out. Alternatively, users might have to pay an additional fee to bring an item from one publisher’s title to a competing publisher’s (just as many goods have import duties in the “real world”) or pay more in the first place for an “interoperable edition.” Not all virtual worlds will move to widely interoperable model, of course. Despite the prevalence of free-to-play multiplayer online games today, many titles are still paid, single-player, offline, or all three.”

Hardware

“ In March 2021, the US Army announced a deal to buy up to 120,000 customized HoloLens devices from Microsoft over the following decade. This contract was valued at $22 billion—nearly $200,000 per headset (this includes hardware upgrades, repairs, bespoke software, and other Azure cloud computing services).”

“Yet Mark Zuckerberg has said that “the hardest technology challenge of our time may be fitting a supercomputer into the frame of normal-looking glasses.”

“In 2021, Google unveiled Project Starline, a physical booth designed to make video conversations feel like you’re in the same room with the other participant. Unlike a traditional monitor or videoconferencing station, Starline’s booths are powered by a dozen depth sensors and cameras (together producing seven video streams from four viewpoints and three depth maps), as well as a fabric-based, multilayered light-field display, and four spatial audio speakers. These features allow participants to be captured and then rendered using volumetric data, rather than flattened 2D video. During internal tests, Google found that in comparison to typical video calls, Starline users focused 15% more on those they’re speaking to (based on eye-tracking data), displayed significantly greater non-verbal forms of communication (e.g., ~40% more hand gestures, ~25% more head nods, and ~50% more eyebrow movements), and had 30% better memory recall when asked to remember details from their conversation or meeting.5 The magic, as always, is in the software, but it depends on the extensive hardware to be realized.”

“In other words, hardware is not just about what the Metaverse might offer and when, but a fight to influence how it works and, ideally, to take a cut of as much of its economic activity as possible. The more important the device—and the more devices that connect to it—the greater the control afforded to the company which makes it”

 

Payment Rails

“So it should come as no surprise that the extent to which the Metaverse succeeds will depend, in part, on whether it has a thriving economy”

The 30% Standard

“In 1983, the arcade manufacturer Namco approached Nintendo about publishing versions of its titles, such as Pac-Man, on its Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). At the time, the NES was not intended to be a platform. Instead, it played only titles made by Nintendo. Eventually, Namco agreed to pay Nintendo a 10% licensing fee on all of its titles that appeared for NES (Nintendo would have right of approval over every individual title), plus another 20% for Nintendo to manufacture Namco’s game cartridges. This 30% fee ultimately became an industry standard, replicated by the likes of Atari, Sega, and PlayStation.2”

Blockchain

“For example, neither Apple nor any of the major console platforms allow applications that are used for crypto mining or decentralized data processing. Apple has based this prohibition on the stated belief that such apps “rapidly drain battery, generate excessive heat, or put unnecessary strain on device resources.”

“In addition, these platforms (with the exception of the Epic Games Store) do not allow games that accept cryptocurrencies as a form of payment, or that use cryptocurrency-based virtual goods (that is, non-fungible tokens, or NFTs). Though this is sometimes portrayed as a protest against the energy used to power blockchains, such claims don’t hold up to scrutiny. Sony’s music label has invested in NFT start-ups, and created its own NFTs, while Microsoft’s Azure offers blockchain certifications and its corporate venture arm has made numerous start-up investments. Apple CEO Tim Cook has admitted that he owns cryptocurrencies and considers NFTs “interesting.” It’s more likely that these platforms refuse blockchain games because they simply do not work with their revenue models. Allowing Call of Duty: Mobile to connect to a cryptocurrency wallet would be akin to a user connecting the game directly to their bank account, rather than paying through the App Store. Accepting NFTs, meanwhile, would be like a movie theater permitting customers to bring their grocery bags to a film—some people might still buy a box of M&Ms, but most wouldn’t.”

 

“Apple’s efforts to support cryptocurrencies even as it protects its app store gaming revenue has produced more confusion. Apple enables users to buy and sell cryptocurrencies using trading applications such as Robinhood or Interactive Brokers, for example, but they cannot purchase NFTs through these same applications. What makes this distinction strange is the fact that there is no technical distinction between these two purchases—the only difference is that bitcoin is a “fungible” crypto-based token, in that every bitcoin is substitutable with another, while buying an NFT piece of artwork is a non-fungible token, in that it isn’t substitutable with any other token. Things get more confusing if the right to this non-fungible token is fractionalized into fungible tokens (think of selling shares to a piece of artwork). These “shares” can be bought and sold via the iPhone app. Regardless, Apple’s murky policies produce an experience that benefits neither developers nor customers—one which resembles that faced by cloud game-streaming apps. The iOS apps for NFT marketplaces such as OpenSea can only serve as a catalogue; users can see what they own and what others are selling—but to buy or trade themselves, they must[…]”

“Put simply, blockchains are databases managed by a decentralized network of “validators.” Most databases today are centralized. A single record is kept in a digital warehouse, managed by a single company that tracks information. For example, JPMorgan Chase manages a database that tracks how much money you have in your checking account, as well as detailed records of prior transactions that validate how that balance was accumulated. Of course, JPMorgan has many backups of this record (and you might too), and it really operates a network of different databases, but what matters is that these digital records are managed and owned by a single party: JPMorgan. This model is used for almost all digital and virtual information, not just bank records.
Unlike a centralized database, blockchain records sit in no single location, nor are they managed by a single party—or, in many cases, even an identifiable group of individuals or companies. Instead, a blockchain “ledger” is maintained through consensus across a network of autonomous computers situated around the world. Each of these computers, in turn, is effectively competing (and being paid) to validate this ledger by solving what are essentially cryptographic equations that arise from an individual transaction[…]”

 

“What matters is that blockchains are programmable payment rails. That is why many position them as the first digitally native payment rails, while contending that PayPal, Venmo, WeChat, and others are little more than facsimiles of legacy ones.”

“The fact that “decentralized” assets have “centralized” dependencies leads to two major conclusions. First, NFTs are useless—propped up by fraud, speculation, and misunderstanding. This was often the case in 2021 and is likely to remain largely true for years to come. Second, the untapped potential of this technology is extraordinary and will be realized as the utility of, and access to, blockchain-based games and products expands.
This second conclusion points to the importance of blockchain for the Metaverse. For example, blockchains don’t just establish a common and independent registry for virtual goods; they also provide a potential technical solution for the biggest obstacle to virtual goods’ interoperability: revenue leakage.”

 

“In most countries and US states, DAOs and smart contracts are not legally recognized. This is beginning to change, but legal recognition is not a complete solution. There is a common adage: “the blockchain doesn’t lie,” or “the blockchain can’t lie.” That may be true, but users can lie to the blockchain. A musician might tokenize the royalties to their song, thereby ensuring smart contracts execute all payments. However, those royalties may not be received “on chain.” Instead, a music label might send a wire to that musician’s centralized database, and then the musician must put the appropriate sums into the appropriate wallet, and so on. And many NFTs are minted by those who don’t own the rights to the underlying works. Blockchains, in other words, do not make everything trustless—just as contracts don’t solve for all bad behavior.”

“Chris Dixon, a crypto-focused venture capitalist at Andreessen Horowitz, argues that if the dominant ethos of Web 2.0 was “Don’t be evil,” the phrase that (in)famously served as Google’s unofficial motto, then a (blockchain-based) Web3 is “Can’t be evil.”

 

When will the Metaverse arrive?

“Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO, has said that the Metaverse is “already here,” with Microsoft’s founder Bill Gates forecasting that in “the next two or three years, I predict most virtual meetings will move from 2D camera image grids to the metaverse. Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said a “lot of [it] will become mainstream in the next five to 10 years, while Oculus’s former and now consulting CTO John Carmack usually predicts an even later emergence. Epic’s CEO Tim Sweeney and Nvidia’s CEO Jensen Huang tend to avoid a specific timeline, instead saying the Metaverse will emerge over the coming decades. Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai merely says that immersive computing is “the future.” Steven Ma, the Tencent senior vice president who runs most of the company’s gaming business and publicly introduced the company’s “hyper digital reality” vision in May 2021, cautions that while “the metaverse’s day will come[,] that day is just not today. . . . What we see today is indeed a leap from what we had just a few years ago. But it’s also still primitive [and] experimental.”

“We can also observe cultural changes. From its launch in 2017 through to the end of 2021, Fortnite generated an estimated $20 billion in revenue, the majority of which was from sales of digital avatars, backpacks, and dances (also known as “emotes”). Fortnite made Epic Games one of the largest sellers of fashion in the world, outgrossing giants such as Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, and Balenciaga by multiples, while also revealing that even “shooter” games were no longer just “games.” The rise of NFTs throughout 2021, meanwhile, started to normalize the idea that purely virtual objects could be worth millions of dollars or more.”

“But as virtual worlds were destigmatized and it became clear that everyone was a gamer, rather than just 13- to 34-year-old single men, the world’s largest brands began to flock to the space and in doing so, further legitimize and diversify it. By the end of 2021, automotive giants (Ford), physical fitness brands (Nike), nonprofits (Reporters Sans Frontières), musicians (Justin Bieber), sports stars (Neymar Jr.), auction houses (Christie’s), fashion houses (Louis Vuitton), and franchises (Marvel) had all made the Metaverse a key part of their business—if not the center of their growth strategy.”

 

Meta-Businesses

Education

“The most obvious loss with remote learning is of “presence.” When they are inside the classroom, students are in an education environment; they have agency and immersion that’s totally unlike anything offered by a camera through which they can peer into an untouchable school set. Why presence matters is rather beside the point—but pedagogical research does show the clear benefits of sending students on field trips rather than limiting them to videos, of asking them to come to school rather than listen to recordings at home, and of encouraging them to learn “hands-on” whenever possible.”

“Not only are real-time rendered 3D technologies helping educators to take the classroom (and classmates) anywhere, but the rich virtual simulations that are on the horizon can greatly augment the learning process.”

Lifestyle Businesses

Entertainment

Sex and Sex Work

Fashion and Advertising

“Augmented reality advertising is conceptually easier, as the canvas for said ads is the real world rather than myriad virtual ones, but the execution is perhaps even harder. If users are inundated with unprompted or obtrusive ads overlayed atop the real world, they’ll change headsets. The risk of these ads causing an accident is also high.”

“In September 2021, Tim Sweeney told the Washington Post that a “carmaker who wants to make a presence in the metaverse isn’t going to run ads. They’re going to drop their car into the [virtual] world in real time and you’ll be able to drive it around. And they’re going to work with lots of content creators with different experiences to ensure their car is playable here and there, and that it’s receiving the attention it deserves.”

“ As more of human culture shifts into virtual worlds, individuals will seek out new ways to express their identities and show off.”

“NFTs reiterate this as well. The most successful NFT collections are not for virtual goods nor trading cards but identity- and community-oriented “profile pictures” such as Cryptopunks and Bored Apes.
If today’s labels do not meet this need, new labels will emerge which will replace them”

Industry

The Economic Value of the Metaverse

“Trying to project the size of the Metaverse economy is a fun, albeit frustrating, exercise. Even by the time the Metaverse is “here,” there will likely be no consensus on its value. After all, we are at least 15 years into the mobile internet era, nearly 40 years into the internet era, and more than three-quarters of a century into the digital computing era, yet have no consensus answer for how much the “mobile economy,” “internet economy,” or “digital economy” might be worth. In fact, it’s rare that anyone even tries to value any of them.* Instead, most analysts and journalists just sum the valuations or revenues of the companies which primarily support these loosely defined categories.”

“The few estimates that do exist suggest roughly 20% of the world economy is now digital, which would value the latter at roughly $19 trillion in 2021.”

“Some imagine the Metaverse might be as much as 30% of the digital economy of 2032.”

“We can already see evidence of new disruptors in companies such as Epic Games, Unity, and Roblox Corporation. Though their valuations, revenues, and operational scale are modest compared to GAFAM, they have the player networks, the developer networks, the virtual worlds, and the “virtual plumbing” to be real leaders in the Metaverse. Not only that, but their histories, cultures, and skillsets have refreshingly little in common with the world’s current tech titans—even if all of these companies agree that the Metaverse is the future. For much of the past decade and a half, GAFAM has mostly concerned itself with other bets, including streaming TV, social video and live video, cloud-based word processors, and data centers. ”

 

Why Trust Matters More Than Ever

“Regardless of which companies come to dominate, the most likely outcome is indeed that a handful of vertically and horizontally integrated platforms collect a significant share of total time, content, data, and revenues in the Metaverse.”

“To many, however, the real war for the Metaverse is not between major corporations, or between these companies and the start-ups that hope to displace them. Instead, the war is between “centralization” and “decentralization.” Of course, this frame is imperfect because neither side can “win.”

“My great hope for the Metaverse is that it will produce a “race to trust.” To attract developers, the major platforms are investing billions to make it easier, cheaper, and faster to build better and more profitable virtual goods, spaces, and worlds. But they’re also showing a renewed interest in proving—through policy—that they deserve to be a partner, not just a publisher or platform”

“Overall, many people have also come to believe that companies built “off of their data” have dramatically worsened the real world, adversely affecting the psychological and emotional lives of those who use their services. A good portion of the reaction to Zuckerberg’s announcement of the name change to Meta consisted of derision. Why should a company like Facebook have even more reach into our lives? Hasn’t big tech already created too much of the dystopias described by Gibson, Stephenson, and Cline?”

 

“Recall Sweeney’s warning: “If one central company gains control of the [Metaverse], they will become more powerful than any government and be a god on Earth.”

The Metaverse Existence

“The very idea of the Metaverse means that more of our lives, labor, leisure, time, spending, wealth, happiness, and relationships will go online. Actually, they will exist online, rather than just be put online like a Facebook post or Instagram upload, or aided by digital devices and software, as a Google Search or iMessage might”

“ Rich real-time rendered 3D virtual worlds will assuredly make radicalization easier and offer better training to those who never leave their native country (and for some of the same reasons that remote education will improve). At the same time, the Metaverse may make learning about and tracking people through their digital activity even easier, with perhaps many more people ending up on government lists or under government surveillance.”

 

“ It will also mean sharing this data with countless third parties, while also enabling these parties to modify the data. How is this new process managed securely? Who manages it? What is the recourse for mistakes, failures, losses, and breaches? For that matter, who should own virtual data? Should a business that spends millions developing inside Roblox have a right to what they built? A right to take it elsewhere? Does a user who bought land or goods inside of Roblox hold that right? Should they?”

“ When Apple revised its cloud gaming policies in September 2020, The Verge wrote that “Arguing over whether Apple’s guidelines did or didn’t include a thing is kind of pointless, though, because Apple has ultimate authority. The company can interpret the guidelines however it chooses, enforce them when it wants, and change them at will.” This is not a reliable foundation for the digital economy, let alone the Metaverse.”

 

 

“or some 15 years, what we consider “the internet” has become increasingly regionalized. Every country uses the Internet Protocol Suite but the platforms, services, technologies, and conventions in each market have diverged, partly due to the growth in non-American technology giants. ”

 

“The Metaverse may be a “a massively scaled and interoperable network of real-time rendered 3D virtual worlds,” but, as we’ve seen, it will be realized through physical hardware, computer processors, and networks. Whether those are governed by corporations alone, governments alone, or decentralized groups of tech-savvy coders and developers, the Metaverse is dependent on them. The existence of a virtual tree and its fall may forever be in question, but physics is immutable.”

 

Conclusion

“I am certain about much of the future. It will be increasingly centered around real-time rendered 3D virtual worlds. Network bandwidth, latency, and reliability will all improve. The amount of computing power will increase, thus enabling higher concurrency, greater persistency, more sophisticated simulations, and altogether new experiences (and yet, the supply of compute will still fall far short of demand for it). Younger generations will be the first to adopt “the Metaverse,” and will do so to a greater degree than their parents. Regulators will partly unbundle operating systems, but the companies that own these OSs will still thrive because their unbundled offerings are still market-leading and the emergence of the Metaverse will grow most of these markets. The overall structure of the Metaverse is likely to be similar to those we see today—a handful of horizontally and vertically integrated companies will control a substantial share of the digital economy, with their influence even greater”

 

“ The hype cycle will be caused by at least three factors: the reality that many companies will over-promise what sort of Metaverse experiences will be possible and when; the difficulty of overcoming key technical barriers; and the fact that, even when those barriers are overcome, it will take time to figure out exactly what companies should build “in the Metaverse.”

“Technology is a constraint on the Metaverse, but so is what we imagine and when.”

“The future is hard to predict, even for pioneers. We are now on the cusp of the Metaverse, but consider, one last time, the last two eras of computing and networking. Even the most ardent believers in the internet struggled to imagine a future in which there might be billions of web pages across millions of web servers, 300 billion emails per day, with billions of daily users, and a single network, Facebook, counting over three billion monthly users and two billion per day. When he announced the first iPhone in January 2007, Steve Jobs described it as a revolutionary product. He was right, of course. But this first iPhone lacked both an App Store and there were no plans to allow third-party developers to make them. Why? Jobs told developers that “The full Safari engine is inside of iPhone . . . And so, you can write amazing Web 2.0 and Ajax apps that look exactly and behave exactly like apps on the iPhone.”

 

(All Excerpts From „The Metaverse“ by  Matthew Ball.)

Leave a Comment

Bewerte diesen Review: