The Metaverse: Is It the Next Big Thing?
It seems that the Metaverse is the most discussed topic nowadays. But what exactly is it? Is it a technology? Is it a social media platform? Is it a parallel universe? And most importantly, where is it and how do I get in?
Within days after Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement, the world has been divided into two groups. One group is loving the idea of a digitally inspired universe where we can live, full-time, and the other one is hating it. In which group do you find yourself?
For gamers, the early adopters of technologies such as virtual reality, and for all those who have spent quite a bit of time on social media platforms, virtual worlds are quite familiar. These groups of people enjoy spending their time in front of the screen. They meet new people, they enjoy virtual experiences, and the thrill of living as someone or something else out there, in a different universe; online.
Over the course of the last two years, and especially during those gruelling lockdown days, we all received a taste of an isolated virtual world. We talked to our loved ones over screens, we travelled the world and visited museums online, we ordered (almost) everything we needed online, and it got delivered to our doorstep. Schoolchildren were tied to their screens receiving their education and socialisation with one another. This was a temporary but quite realistic simulation of what the metaverse is already all about.
For the sake of your business, you must consider all options. What are the benefits the metaverse may provide? What are the dangers or threats the metaverse might cause? Depending on your risk appetite, you should decide how to pursue your business’s metaverse roadmap.
Will the metaverse be a new channel to reach your customers and provide them with new experiences? In the early days of the internet, a similar feeling was generated around that new, strange, and difficult medium as well. Until we got used to it. Now, the internet is indispensable. The same can be said about our mobile devices and all those apps we love. Voice is another channel which entered our daily lives and is adding value, fun, and novelties. And now the metaverse, on the screen, in augmented reality (AR), or even virtual reality (VR).
Is this all just a fad? Or is the metaverse here to stay? This is not our first time mentioning the metaverse. Will it disappear as quickly as it was announced? Is it just a thing to be put out, to draw the public away from all the negative attention Facebook has been receiving in recent years? How many of us will really want to wear those headsets, anyway?
Or is it truly the metaverse truly “next big thing”? What if the Facebook/ Instagram/ WhatsApp conglomerate just decided out-of-the-blue that the new versions of their social media is a “The Metaverse App?” Nearly every person on Earth has some sort of social media connection related to the Facebook/Instagram/Whatsapp conglomerate. What if we all just get an automatically generated avatar? They know our behaviour and our preferences very intimately, anyway. The metaverse could become mainstream overnight, at the snap of a finger. And, just like we did with the internet, we would get used it to it, just like that…
Some technologies follow a certain pattern of hype, disillusionment, then steady maturity and progression. This is beautifully illustrated by the famous Gartner Hype Cycle. Sometimes, there are technologies which do not follow that trajectory. They have their own paths and some of them are extraordinary. Just think of artificial intelligence. It has the potential to become the operating system of our civilisation. Think of blockchain. It may change the whole monetary and financial system at large, over time. And now the metaverse may become the new internet…
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