Whether Meta’s bet on the metaverse will pay off, and whether Mark Zuckerberg’s vision of a VR-led reimagining of how we all interact will materialize and transform the digital connection as we know it, remains to be seen.
But Meta remains committed to the project, investing $13 billion in VR development last year, which it plans to surpass again in 2022, despite concerns from Meta shareholders.
The potential indicators are there when looking at the evolving technologies and how youngsters are already interacting in Metaverse-like spaces via gaming apps (Roblox, Minecraft, etc.). But VR remains an uncertain bet.
So, is the metaverse really going to be a transformative shift—or will it remain a pipe dream that doesn’t connect?
To highlight why Metaversum is so optimistic, Meta today released a series of new reports, conducted by Deloitte, aiming to place a dollar amount on the Metaversum’s potential in various global regions.
As you can see, Deloitte estimates that the Metaverse could have a huge economic impact – but if you dig a little deeper into the reports, it’s questionable how these numbers were determined, as the term “Metaverse” is essential in this context be used as a blanket identifier for labeling in all future digital technologies.
“American companies are already using Metaverse technologies to create new revenue streams and improve existing ones. US brands and retailers have already started selling virtual versions of their products on top of the physical goods already sold. Other American companies use the Metaverse to market their physical goods and allow customers to try them out with virtual overlays before they buy.”
So these are augmented digital use cases, but they aren’t “metaverse” items as such, as they don’t need VR connectivity to use AR fitting tools and such. Utilization of these technologies will certainly expand, but the metaverse as communicated so far is essentially a VR world in which we will be able to interact in more immersive, connecting ways.
That could technically extend to AR and digital items, but I’m not sure most people would associate all of these advancements with the metaverse as such.
Which lessens the impact of insight here, as Deloitte has extrapolated many technical advances and put them all in the “Metaverse” box.
But on the other hand, it makes sense to continue defining the metaverse used:
“The Metaverse is a massively scaled and interoperable network of real-time rendered 3D virtual worlds synchronously and persistently shared by a virtually unlimited number of users with an individual sense of presence and with continuity of data such as identity, history, permissions, objects, communications and payments. “
That would cover all VR and AR advancements, and even more basic 3D online experiences – but again, I’m not sure the general public has such a broad definition of the metaverse in mind when contemplating what’s next comes in the room.
The advantage for Meta in this regard is that it can consolidate all of these advances into a single economic impact, making the Metaverse seem like a huge boon to business. But again, when you look at the metaverse itself, at least at this stage, most people think of the following:
AR glasses and the expansion of online worlds into new realms are not taken into account.
But that’s pretty much what this report is about, with a bunch of pics of people in cool futuristic looking glasses and 3D graphics.
Look, I’m not saying the metaverse won’t work — again, usage trends in younger demographics suggest that digital avatars and online connections are becoming a much bigger business over time. But I’m not sure that merging all potential advances under a single “Metaverse” umbrella really represents the possibilities in an accurate way, which might lead some to become more skeptical, rather than reaffirming Meta’s decision to move further into its projects to invest.
Really, this reads like a pitch deck for consulting firms to get large companies to update their processes and hardware to prepare for the next shift. Which it probably is – and while there are some interesting notes, I couldn’t come out of the report more confident that the metaverse is a definite winner when it comes to immersive VR interactions.
But you can read for yourself and see what you think – you can use the ‘Quantifying the potential economic impact of the Metaverse regional reports here.