It was October 28 when Mark Zuckerberg announced to the world that Facebook would now effectively be a subsidiary of a company called Meta – as in “Metaverse” – followed by a series of superlatives on what Meta will create as we go. that the metaverse will replace mobile internet. .
In the weeks that followed, it looks like every other tech company on the planet has already formulated their own metaverse plan. The metaverse is known to be activated by virtual reality (AR) and augmented reality (AR), and many experts and futurists compare it to walking around in an alternate reality similar to a video game – but others have visions. more ambitious.
Noting that the first microtransaction took place 20 years ago in one of the first online games, Seth Gerson, CEO of interactive content company Survios, told PYMNTS’s Karen Webster that a fully realized metaverse will not require glasses, but it will probably give superpowers glasses.
“There’s been kind of this great convergence of what I would say are enabling technologies that have now made the cost of compute and heat dissipation unbelievable, and what that results in is a different way of interacting with the Internet.” , Gerson said.
Asked about the usefulness of the metaverse outside of the gaming environments it started out in, Gerson said, “We build to enable presence, whether it’s physics or locomotion, phoneme detection, it all just improves our condition. . “
He said this “improved state” could just as easily transfer to “an iPhone or wear a head-mounted display, [or a] a virtual reality screen that cuts you off from the world, or it could be a pair of glasses [where] you walk in the street and there is [a visual] cover.”
Using exotic imaging technologies like foveal rendering, for example, Gerson said Metaverse-era glasses could zoom into details of a person or object and then display relevant information.
“If I walk in the street [and] I see you, [metaverse eyeglasses could] view our last five conversations… so I can remember what we were talking about, your wedding, your children’s birthdays, what is your favorite pastime, ”said Gerson. “I can log in automatically faster. “
Staying with the concept of glasses, Gerson said that the right metaverse content, software and hardware will allow the glasses to look at a building, for example, and see its history. It’s an ever-active, instant and ubiquitous version of the Internet, with futuristic extras.
“There will be intermediate steps to get there,” he said. “The cell phone will not go away overnight. But there are a lot of companies that are determined to own this next generation of compute and be able to own this next generation of devices because they lost the first generation of smartphones.
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Game Concepts Eat the World
While engineers and developers imagine the smart glasses and matching wearable devices of the near future, right now the metaverse is mostly about gaming – and that’s a big deal.
Noting that gambling is a $ 200 billion business, Gerson said, “Gaming is eating up the rest of the entertainment industry. When people go to concerts, they go to Fortnight, or they go to another game. Look at music companies, how fast they invest in video game companies. It is your fastest conduit to the eyeballs.
“It doesn’t matter if you are a games company, a music company or a sports team. Whatever content you pack and sell, you need to be able to sell it to as many eyeballs as possible.
For example, in calling the Roblox gaming platform “the greatest communication platform for children of all time,” Gerson looked at a range of use cases such as children too young to own a computer. cell phone that can communicate with their parents through metaverse game systems.
“When you look at Roblox, it’s the basis of a communications platform,” he said. “That’s kind of how I see the metaverse. Each of these [immersive gaming systems] is a step in that direction to bring you to that UI where it’s always enabled.
Referring to Facebook / Meta’s 2014 purchase of Oculus for $ 2 billion, Gerson said, “Other big tech companies are kind of making tangential investments, and they’re all about gaming. Amazon has bought Twitch, and you get more viewership on that than on traditional sports.
He said this level of investment will continue and increase, so that within seven to ten years the devices and experiences of the metaverse “will be as deep as the cell phone” in terms of societal impact.
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When content (and crypto) are king
Citing the old adage that distribution or content is king, Gerson said that during the heyday of cable TV, distribution had the power. In the Metaverse, the content is in the driver’s seat.
“When you look at technology over time, you get a bunch of… enabling technologies that come together and create some magical products, and then you kind of get that change of function in stages. With games you’re going to find a lot of them, ”he said, adding,“ I think there has been a big change just in the content. If you look at the content, it’s really different than it was, say, 30 years ago.
In addition, connected voice and artificial intelligence (AI) will allow fans of contactless payments to interact with content in the contactless metaverse hands-free. Gerson considers cryptocurrencies to play a crucial role in metaverse payments, once they are incorporated into these type of metaverse experiences.
“For example, if you and I have a neighborhood in a metaverse, we should be able to have a token that allows us to say, ‘we want the aesthetic of this neighborhood to be … an old Viking village’, and we should everyone can vote on it, ”Gerson said.
“At the same time, we should be able to have NFTs [non-fungible tokens] that are usable and transferable, so I can make money creating these NFTs, but they have a use, and I can transform them.
The prospect of fraud in virtual worlds populated by avatars as anonymous as any on the internet today casts a shadow over spending money inside a metaverse, but Gerson said that it was all the more reason to make cryptos the de facto currency of the metaverse.
“If crypto or NFTs or tokens are used for what they were created for in terms of utility, that’s a way to really get things done faster. [in metaverse payments], because what you are doing is you are not just creating a game or an experience, you are creating entire savings. “
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