While the term metaverse burst into the news last year and promises to be one of the key trends of 2022, the reality behind this concept presented as a revolution is still far from clear. like rock water. ” It’s not just about VR and AR headsets “, explains our colleague from CNET.com Scott Stein. The metaverse will be much more nuanced than the technical platforms it is superficially associated with.
Even the expression “the metaverse” is too simplistic. Indeed, a number of metaverses will emerge modeled after social networks, with a handful becoming dominant and largely incompatible. ” Everyone promises interoperability, but history suggests it will be cross-platform and semi-compatible “, predicts Scott Stein, who says he is still intrigued by the” cross-border portability envisioned by Meta, formerly Facebook. In any case, the term “metaverse” should not be preceded by a “the” because there will not be only one.
And what about all those stilted, childish avatars that are likely only transient, waiting for real-time face and gaze detection and haptic touch effects to bring the realism that will make the experience truly immersive and believable.
Screenshot by Sarah Tew/CNET
The lure of profit is already there
Beyond semantics and UI, there are the core motivations of metaverses. Both cryptocurrency and NFTs are two important drivers. ” You can feel the landscape changing…because the money is there “says Scott Stein. Already, astronomical sums are being spent on crypto and NFT to acquire virtual land in prized locations of certain metaverses.
In addition to video games, work is perhaps the essential starting point for metaverse, especially because of the pandemic and its influence on professional life. Meta’s Horizon Workrooms launched in public beta last year, providing an all-virtual place where colleagues can meet as avatars and use productivity tools. Whether encountering avatars in a synthetic world can replace the supposed magic of physical offices is up to employers and their corporate culture specialists.
Lenovo’s vision of using augmented reality to create virtual workspaces in the real world is a good indicator of where metaverses can go.
The blending of real and virtual worlds in Meta’s Horizon workrooms extends to common work interfaces such as keyboards and whiteboards
An advent still unpredictable but inevitable
At present, metaverses show all the classic signs of overmediatization: a first successful experience that did not last (Second Life), an association with equipment that very few people have an interest in adopting (helmets virtual and augmented reality), the feeling that the promoters of metaverses are ready to say anything to make a lot of money with the concept, and significant technical challenges which we do not yet know when they will be able to be overcome.
At Microsoft, the metaverse approach goes through augmented reality. Merging real-world work with virtual human co-presence is an interesting idea
However, the advent of metaverses seems inevitable. Phones, laptops and tablets cannot be our only technological horizon, cryptocurrencies seem to silence skeptics, as Tesla did about three years ago, and our insatiable appetite for the current web is ample proof that we will tolerate the jolts on the road to his successor.
CNET.com article adapted by CNETFrance
Image : Sarah Tew/CNET