🌌 The Metaverse, Part 2
The last issue introduced the term Metaverse. I finished by stating that today, we will take a deeper look at a single category. Sorry to say that I was wrong.
This past week, there has been an unusual amount of articles covering the Metaverse coming through my usual channels. Most of these articles are (still) related to recent announcements from both Microsoft and Facebook to "enter" the Metaverse. After reading all of it, I found it interesting to share them with you to get a glimpse into the reactions to and the reception of the topic.
In chronological order, here is what caught my eye this week.
- Introduction to the Metaverse 2021 trend report from Newzoo. As Newzoo specializes in the video game industry, this report leans heavily towards the 3D virtual space and gaming side. Still, it is a great overview and a highly recommended read.
- The Metaverse Has Always Been a Dystopian Idea from Vice. By looking at the origin of the term "Metaverse", the novel "Snow Crash", and its brother in spirit, "Ready Player One" and the Oasis, this article focuses on the dystopian futures these books describe. And my first impression was that the author goes full Luddite from there.
- Mark Zuckerberg’s Metaverse already sucks from Wired UK. Though never using the word "dystopia", this article focuses on the Metaverse as an escape from the real world. Therefore, a virtual space to escape to.
- Metaverses by Ben Thompson. Stratechery is always a good read, yet unfortunately, this one brings not much new stuff to the table. Big Tech, walled gardens, dystopia.
- Roblox: Gaming, the Creator Economy, and the Metaverse by Peter Yang. Well, mostly about Roblox with only a short conclusion about Roblox's vision of the Metaverse and some ideas that go beyond gaming.
- Move over, space. Tech billionaires have a new utopian boondoggle: the ‘metaverse’ from The Guardian. From the title, you get a pretty good guess what this one focuses on. Yet, it finishes with a silver lining: "The idea of transcending one’s physical limitations to engage with new ideas and populations and exchange information and resources is appealing."
I feel there is one trend in most of the articles above. And that is "yes, but." Don't get me wrong, a critical view of technology is important. There are consequences to any decision, to any new product, to any new technology. And make no mistake, we will "lose" people if there is an affordable, easy-to-access, virtual space/ escapist version of the Metaverse.
"Yes, but" is an easy reaction. It's in our nature to see risks and to criticize. Yet anyone reading this right now is more in the "yes, and" group of people. There are opportunities. If not directly "Metaverse", then inspired by it. And as it still feels like some kind of wild west and a new frontier, there is cake for everyone beyond Big Tech.
More on this in the next issue. For real this time.