What is the Metaverse? At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, I decided to answer this question. I spoke with some of the world’s largest companies building metaverses, such as Meta – formerly known as Facebook – to better understand what the metaverse will look like, how individuals and businesses will interact with the metaverse, and what will be the unique selling point of the metaverse.
What I learned about the Metaverse
There is no unified agreement on what the Metaverse will look like or how individuals will primarily interact with it. However, many people have agreed on the components and elements needed to enable metaverse experiences, products, and services.
In my conversations with Omniscape, Meta, Sine Wave, and MakeSea, the consensus was that a metaverse is a virtual world that leverages virtual reality and augmented reality to feature spatial components that facilitate social and business interactions.
The Metaverse is believed to be an evolution of social interactions for consumers, giving them a new way to connect and spend time together, and businesses eagerly await the branding, advertising and goods/services offerings that they will have in the metaverses that are created.
Will a blockchain be used?
Not everyone agreed that metaverses needed blockchain. However, everyone recognized that blockchain technology could benefit metaverses, especially when it comes to assigning digital ownership rights and verifying an item’s authenticity and transaction history.
Barriers to adoption
Before metaverses are widely adopted, several hurdles must be overcome; the biggest problems that stand in the way have to do with infrastructure. An immersive metaverse experience requires each participant to have a high-speed internet connection and a device to enter the metaverse.
Unfortunately, not everyone has the bandwidth to enable this, nor the VR/AR headsets required by most metaverses.
When will I use a metaverse?
We have a long way to go before you find yourself using a metaverse. Not only is there an infrastructure problem, but there is a lack of educational materials around metaverses. Consumers are supposed to be the largest group of people using metaverses, but when I spoke with consumers on the Las Vegas Strip, most of them didn’t even know what a metaverse was.
Until there is a clear consumer demand, or better yet, an offer from a company that makes consumers want to to use a metaverse, metaverses are likely to be stagnant but remain a buzzword until change takes place. I think we’ll see a company crack this code in the long run, but for now, Metaverse has a lot of hurdles to overcome.
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