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Don’t Get Into The Metaverse Yet — A Cynic’s Version
Touted to come equipped with immense potential, metaverse platforms are yet to demonstrate their real-world applications and benefits for the corporate world.
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Metaverse has become a buzzword ever since Facebook rebranded itself as Meta. Today the market is flooded with metaverse proponents selling hard the idea of these new-age, cutting-edge virtual worlds though in the absence of some real-world, hardcore application of these platforms are keeping the majority of companies from taking a plunge here.
Metaverse is an umbrella term used to describe combinatorial innovation consisting of a web of technologies that offer interactive and immersive virtual world experiences to users. Some of the new-age technologies that are linked to the metaverse world include AR, VR, AI, and Blockchain among others. While these technologies have individual use cases in the industry, their combination that power the virtual worlds is yet to find credible business applications.
This perhaps explains why despite all the fanfare and frenzy around the metaverse, tech experts caution investors not to go full throttle while betting money on the future of these virtual worlds. And they’re quite sane in their advice - after all, making business sense out of the investment is absolutely essential. Today funding the metaverse project is like putting money into some far-fetched dream of a tech company which might not materialize at all in the future.
Metaverse: Does it make Business Sense?
Shorthand for the world of virtually connected universes, the basic premise behind the metaverse is to replicate our physical reality in the virtual world with the help of technology and AV equipment. Just like the internet, metaverse spaces can't be owned and rather people can only contribute and participate in the virtual worlds.
The big question mark on the metaverse is related to its real-world application. As much as proponents of metaverse like the idea of digitally connected universes, the real-world applications of these platforms are few and far between. Except for some concepts in the retail and gaming world, the metaverse is yet to manifest its utility in the true business sense. Even in the case of the gaming industry where access to the metaverse is through VR headsets and haptic suits, the environment is largely controlled by the corporations, something that is at variance with the very basic premise of the metaverse, decentralization, and web 3.0 projects. In fact, experts opine that the real potential of the metaverse can be realised only when these virtual worlds become completely open, interoperable, and traversable. Sadly, what we have seen so far is totally opposite and hindering these virtual worlds from progressing beyond the theory and finding their real-world applications.
Just like blockchains are constricted owing to their lack of interoperability, metaverses too are suffering from their inability to interact with each other and offer seamless access to users across platforms. To pave the way for seamless interconnectivity, the metaverse segment has to define operating standards, communication protocols, and common interfaces. Tech pundits note that although the work in this direction has started, it'll take a long time before the industry can come up with some sort of consensus mechanism to allow these virtual worlds to interact with each other. Estimates vary as some analysts think that these standards won't be ready until 2030, others have even put a timeline of a decade and a half before anything concrete materializes on this front. Clearly, a lot of work needs to be done and the segment is in for a long haul.
Metaverse today has become a catch-all phrase with companies trying to sell it as an idea having a transformative potential to generate new avenues of growth and opportunities. While the concept holds promising potential, the realization of its benefits heavily depends on the ability of the industry to offer truly decentralized and interoperable interfaces to prospective users. To that end, each and every stakeholder in the ecosystem of metaverse platforms need to come together and put in concerted efforts to design, develop, and implement one universal interface for accessing all metaverse platforms. Besides industry, policymakers also need to support the segment with an open and constructive framework that should also address the concerns related to the safety and security of users in the virtual world.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.
Santhosh Sagar Reddy
The author is Founder and CEO at CoffeeBeansMore From The Author >>