So the metaverse eh. We’re all gonna be in that metaverse, y’know, hanging out… Doing metaverse stuff. Except we’re not because, well, who needs a metaverse when you’ve got real life?
Yup, the metaverse has been hyped by Mark Zuckerberg, crypto fanatics and probably marketers or something but let’s be honest here… Do you care about the metaverse? You don’t do you.
That’s because the metaverse is already a flop and it doesn’t matter.
OK, hol’ up….
What the fuck is the metaverse?
A metaverse is a virtual world, often of the hyper immersive sandbox variety. This means you can go anywhere, probably do anything and perhaps even live a second life. Much like the game Second Life, or even games like Minecraft or even to an extent Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto.
If you believe the visionaries and metaverse prophets, we’re gonna all be accessing a metaverse in some capacity in the coming years. From accessing local civic services, or shopping, to dating, or booking holidays, the metaverse is going to dominate.
Want to meet your friends and family, but you’re in a different country… The metaverse.
Oh there’s a gig on, but it’s not down the road, it’s in… The metaverse.
Yeah in some ways it sounds like it could be cool. But honestly, we’ve seen this all before.
Virtual reality, augmented reality, 3D etc etc
Back in the late 80’s and early 90’s, everyone got very excited about virtual reality, or VR. You could even go to the Trocadero in central London and strap on a huge headset and play a fairly shit blocky game for a small fortune to experience virtual reality.
That tech turned into immersive 3D games like Doom, Unreal Tournament and Grand Theft Auto.
Augmented reality was touted as the new iteration of this, with Pokemon Go held up as a revolution in gameplay. And although, yes, there are some AR elements in apps these days, it definitely hasn’t taken over like many thought it would.
Oh and 3D cinema has made a few attempts to dazzle our senses. But let’s be honest, it’s a novelty and we all get bored of it quickly.
Which brings us neatly to the metaverse.
It’s a novelty…
We’ve seen this all before and for now, it’s a novelty for people to jump on. An immersive 3D online world you say? Where you can do whatever you want? Create your own fantasy reality? Have parties, and meetups and go dating and see the world?
Except you won’t be because it’s basically more screen time.
And frankly we all need a lot less screen time, not more…
And even if we have an army of sexy egirls making gaming cool, it probably ain’t gonna make the metaverse cool.
So although yes the metaverse is all cutting edge, very exciting and offers a lot of possibilities. And web 3 is a thing, I agree. I’m just not so sure that the metaverse is it.
Talking of web 3.
The Metaverse and crypto
One of the main driving factors behind this iteration of the metaverse is it’s link to crypto. Now, crypto is a whole other thing, which you may or may not be on board with. But it is the relationship between the metaverse and crypto, or more accurately the blockchain, which has driven the excitement this time around.
Let’s not get technical and start digging into what is the blockchain here. But just know that some of the technology behind crypto has been seen as being given more value and legitimacy by the growth of the metaverse. Games such as Axie Infinity, The Sandbox and Upland are all driven by in game currencies and the opportunity to use their native tokens, or crypto coins. This basically means that people see value in them, driving up their price and then investors jump on the bandwagon. Making money in the metaverse is seen as a possibility, although at the moment it’s mostly a pipe dream to be honest.
Add in the NFT boom – which I’m sure you’ve heard about – and you see how the future looks digital.
But there is one major element missing.
Retail doesn’t care (yet)
With any new technology, it’s all about mass adoption. And if the metaverse is to be anything beyond a niche appeal to most people, it has a way to go yet.
The metaverse games are still, mostly, pretty shit. Yes, Fortnite. Yes, Minecraft. But they’re not yet genuine metaverse games.
And if you want to sit down and play one of the best games of the year, it ain’t gonna be in the metaverse. Plus you’d need to strap on a VR headset to get immersed in the game, which probably isn’t going to go down well with your better half.
Saying that, there has been some adoption in the real world. The South Korean capital city Seoul is launching a metaverse. Facebook have also famously gambled on the metaverse, going so far as to rebrand themselves as Meta. Although this is seen as a way to distract from the companies failings, and even an obsession of it’s uber nerd overlord Mark Zuckerberg, it looks like a failure all around for Facebook so far.
And there are plenty of UK based companies taking the metaverse and blockchain tech seriously.
But for people in the street, there is little reason to care. Yet.