Misconceptions about the metaverse
There’s a lot of buzz about metaverse. It’s tipped to be the next big thing in technology. It’s been called the ‘new internet’ - the internet 3.0. Its impact has been compared to the invention of the telephone. But there’s also still debate about what the metaverse really is and how it’ll operate...
What is the metaverse?
Here’s our take. The metaverse is an augmented reality ‘layer’ over the real world that interacts with and adds to the real world. It’s a virtual environment where users can play, work, socialize, and shop. It has the potential to transform how we connect, collaborate and communicate forever. However, understandably, any technological gear shift of this scale comes with a lot of questions.
How does it work? Is it just for the gaming community? Can I opt out? Is it the workings of a science fiction nightmare where our every movement is tracked and watched by... the machines?
In our latest blog, we separate facts from fiction when it comes to the metaverse.
7 myths about the metaverse
1. The metaverse is just for gamers
When we think about metaverse success stories, a lot of them come straight out of the gaming world. Gaming platform Roblox has a reported 50 million daily users, and while it doesn’t use virtual reality or augmented reality - so arguably isn’t a fully-fledged metaverse - the numbers speak for themselves.
Another gaming success story is, of course, Fortnite. A historic virtual concert by Travis Scott was hosted in Fortnite back in 2020 and it was attended by over 20 million people. So while gaming platforms such as Roblox and Epic games are paving the way when it comes to the metaverse, multiple business sectors are investing in it, including finance, travel, and education sectors.
2. Facebook own the metaverse
The metaverse? Isn’t that something to do with Facebook? You’d be forgiven for thinking that Facebook is in some way associated with the metaverse, especially as they changed their name to Meta last year. However, Facebook doesn’t own the metaverse. What they have done is indicated the level of investment they will be pouring into the metaverse over the coming years.
A good way to look at the question ‘who owns the metaverse’ is to compare it to the internet. No single entity owns the internet. However, some big players directly influence it. The same goes for the metaverse – multiple brands, businesses, and communities can all engage in it.
3. It’s in the future
The metaverse is predicted to become integral to our lives in around 10 years. However, businesses are investing huge sums in it right now. And not just any old businesses either. Tech giants such as Microsoft, Google, and Meta (formerly Facebook) see huge potential in the power of the metaverse.
Specific cities are already planning how they engage with the metaverse. The Dubai Metaverse strategy is an initiative launched by Dubai’s Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan. Dubai is aiming to break into the top 40 metaverse economies in the world through its plan to create 40,000 virtual jobs over the next five years. According to reports in Bloomberg, it aims to add $4 billion to Dubai’s economy.
4. Only Gen Z cares about it
You’d probably guess that Gen Z, those born after 1997, are the most interested in the metaverse, right? It’s actually millennials. This is attributed to the fact that they have more spending power than Gen Z, with 61% expressing interest in attending live music events in the metaverse, and 56% saying they’d attend live sporting events. For Gen Z, it was 56% and 47% respectively.
In fact, buy-in to the metaverse from Gen Z is certainly not a sure thing. It’s been reported that only 38% of Gen Z believe that the metaverse is the next big thing and will become part of our daily lives over the next decade. The verdict for millennials is 48%. Food for thought, certainly.
5. It's a bit scary
There is an element of uncertainty about what the metaverse will mean for us. Some of those discussions may lead to us think that the metaverse is scary or even dangerous. However, Deloitte recently discussed how the metaverse can be a real force for good. Ed Grieg, Chief Disruptor at Deloitte, writes, “The metaverse is a tool to connect us as humans and with our planet.”
Not only can it help us to reconnect with ourselves and others, it also helps us open our eyes to issues about our planet, such as climate change or deforestation. They put it like this: “Using digital experiences and stories, we level the global playing field.” The metaverse can also play a key role in bringing to life Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) policies in businesses.
6. You need a VR headset
One of the barriers to entry when it comes to virtual reality and the metaverse is the perception that you need expensive hardware to be able to participate in it. However, this isn’t the case. While having a VR headset is the best way to fully immerse yourself in a virtual reality environment, there are other more accessible workarounds. We touched on this recently when we discussed VR-by-Proxy.
VR-by-Proxy, aka VR over Zoom, is a more accessible version of virtual reality. It enables virtual reality experiences to be broadcast over easy-to-access platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams, which the audience can engage with over a desktop computer or mobile device. What that does is open up the virtual world to a much wider audience and democratize those experiences. Pretty cool, right?
7. The metaverse is a gimmick
At Edify, we already know about the power of immersive technology. It can be used across multiple sectors to make experiences more widely available and accessible. It can enable universities to level up learning experiences across campuses or countries. In enterprise, it can improve soft and hard skills training – or drive engagement and stakeholder buy-in of organisational ESG strategies.
For all of those reasons, we don’t believe that the metaverse is a gimmick. It isn’t going anywhere and, as more buzz about it builds and more people catch on to the unlimited possibilities of the metaverse, we’re confident that momentum will only accelerate further. Are you ready?
What other misconceptions have you heard about the metaverse?