‘We are in a winter for the metaverse and how long this cold lasts remains to be seen. — JP Gownder, vice president and principal analyst on Forrester’s Future of Work
The Metaverse has been a popular buzzword in the tech industry for quite some time now. Big players in the tech scene, such as Meta founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, have promised this is the future of the internet and social media.
If you’re an avid reader, you probably remember that we explained the meaning of the metaverse in a separate article: ‘What is a metaverse?’. We suggest you read it if you want to learn more about the idea of an immersive virtual oasis.
Metaverse stands for a future world where we could seamlessly interact in virtual worlds through avataraccompanied by artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AG) and other revolutionary technologies.
The great promise is currently on its knees. Despite the initial hype, there is little evidence to show that the Metaverse is anything more than a pipe dream.
Interest in the Metaverse has declined at a steady pace. The initial hype about the next phase of Internet technology exceeded the reality of the capabilities of current Metaverse technologies, customer interests, and overall market expectations.
While Meta (ex-Facebook) invests around $10-15 billion a year in the Metaverse, Zuckerberg’s project only has 200,000 monthly active users and Meta’s stock is down almost 70% in one year. . Meta Platforms reported losses of around $10 billion in its Reality Labs division, which is developing the company’s Metaverse project.
Other tech companies such as Microsoft and Nvidia have also invested heavily in Metaverse technologies and projects. Competition has intensified within the tech industry following renowned articles such as the Wall Street Journal declaring that the Metaverse vision will forever change the way we work, and predictions from global consulting firm McKinsey declaring that the project could generate up to $5 trillion in value.
Now the narrative has changed; from a revolutionary virtual space on its way to mainstream adoption, we can mostly read about the death of the metaverse and how investors are urging big tech companies to stop investing in tech.
The Metaverse should not yet be considered a failure. The great promises of the beginning amounted to exorbitant expectations of the new virtual reality. The current state of technology has not delivered on these great promises in a short time.
Metaverse was expected to become everything in a short time. Of a new reality of social interactions brands and a virtual real estate market to an immersive gaming experience, Metaverse ultimately suffered from an identity crisis.
Any business idea that aims to thrive must have a target audience, clearly defined use cases, and the willingness of users to adopt the idea or product. It may take years of work to see the potential for investment in companies developing such technology.
The internet was already moving in the direction of upgrading, and it was still clear that Metaverse wasn’t that far off. Technologies haven’t hurt the concept – high expectations and unrealistic claims have. It’s not over yet for the metaverse because it can still become our reality.
The metaverse, recently derided as Meh-taverse, is an intriguing concept but it’s still in its nascent phase. The hype contributed to its downfall, but several other factors must be considered.
The first is related to the state of technology. Bringing technology to a place where it has the ability to bridge the gap between the real world and the virtual world is a difficult task. All Metaverse technologies must operate at their highest level to achieve the levels of adoption desired by consumers.
Second, Metaverse needed a broader business model that would drive consumer demand relative to the state of technology. Even though big companies and brands entered the Metaverse as early as possible, the business model should have been more developed on the consumer side. Every market is built on supply and demand, and in this case supply seemed more important than demand.
Finally, the current climate in the technology industry also contributed to the fall. The industry is too preoccupied with the “next big thing” in technology and we as users often see it. Right now, the tech industry has moved rapidly from metaverse to AI without reminding us that these two are not mutually exclusive.
No need to ask for a moment of silence and cancel the vision of the metaverse. Once the market sentiment has settled, the Metaverse still has a chance to go up. However, learning from his past experiences, he would have to implement a few things and adapt to ensure his survival.
Contemporary networks focus on download speed and bandwidth, but immersive metaverse experiences would require a higher degree of performance. For a decent user experience, latency, the time between user input and network response, should be low.
Therefore, bandwidth refers to the amount of data transmitted over time. This is an important requirement for Metaverse’s scalability and traditional bandwidth just won’t cut it.
When it comes to interactive features, more than 50 milliseconds of delay can hurt user experience. Bandwidth must be significantly increased to support data transfer in Metaverse virtual worlds.
Although there have been particular advancements in motion capture and animation technology, it is still difficult to create avatars that look, move and interact like real people in real time. During the hype, most people expected to wear VR headsets and pilot avatars through virtual worlds of dragons, robots, and spaceships.
The metaverse should be accessible to everyone, regardless of their technical expertise or financial situation. Many factors within the metaverse account for the complexity of accessibility and inclusivity issues. Many believe that the Metaverse should be built from the ground up with accessibility and usability in mind.
For example, one of the questions is whether the metaverse will be an accessible place for people with disabilities. However, the current state of technology recognizes that accessibility must be a priority to produce more adaptable and flexible products.
When it comes to Metaverse projects, accessibility features like eye-tracking controls in VR headsets shouldn’t be seen as add-on options designed for a niche user group.
A Metaverse project as a whole should provide a flexible and user-friendly experience for every user, regardless of their specific needs, to ensure a wider degree of adoption on the consumer side.
Despite the technological lag of regulations, non-compliance can slow growth and mass adoption. For example, a possible limitation to the metaverse may present copyrights. According to international treaties governing the subject matter and national laws, copyright generally lasts for the life of the author plus an additional 70 years.
Within the metaverse, a number of consumers modify products to suit their specific needs. They are also known as prosumers. Content in the metaverse has an increasingly short lifespan, from minutes to almost two years, and such an environment would require shorter copyright terms that evolve at the speed of technological innovation.
Second, another area where companies are investing in metaverse-related technologies is digital twins and the industrial metaverse. Digital twins are virtual recreations of physical objects and systems, ranging from an airport to a factory.
When it comes to such large projects that reflect industry in the real world, it’s obvious that the industrial metaverse will need standards. The good thing is that business leaders have recognized this need and recently the IEEE, in partnership with the Spatial Web Foundation, announced its support for comprehensive standards to enable a 21st century “cyber-physical” web based on ethics.
As has already been established, creating hype and promising extraordinary effects is not enough. In fact, it contributed to the great fall. A PwC survey of more than 5,000 consumers and 1,000 business leaders in the United States determined that three main concerns stand out: privacy and technology constraints, cost, and cybersecurity.
The Metaverse project is expected to unfold over several years with divergent technology components maturing on different timelines. This is why the hype has died down – a strategy without a concise long-term vision and clear explanations has failed to deliver good trading results.
Consumers are likely to trust a particular company if it can implement a concise corporate purpose that reflects their needs and values in metaverse-related products and services.
In the early 2000s, many people thought they would never need to use social media. Something that was initially reserved only for corporate digital marketing accounts has led to widespread adoption and people connecting all over the world.
It’s too early to recognize that the Metaverse concept is dead. The only thing that seems to be dead at the moment is the Metaverse vision of Meta and a business idea created on the hype.
The Metaverse is a logical evolution of the Internet that offers a more immersive experience. For the concept to survive, it is important to create a strategy on how to transfer business and social activities to the virtual world in a timely manner.