Mark Zuckerberg announced last year that he was changing the name of Facebook’s parent company to Meta. It bought Oculus VR back in 2014 and this year has put aside $10bn to develop VR/augmented headsets. He is clearly betting big on the rise of the metaverse.
Who else is sharing his vision?
Tencent (the Chinese tech giant), Epic Games (owner of “Fortnite”), Nvidia (the maker of graphics processors) and Microsoft are all planning to play a role in building the metaverse.
Nvidia is focused on the omniverse, a technology that brings engineers and designers together virtually to make things in industrial settings.
Tencent’s popular WeChat app could transition to offer all its platform features in virtual reality.
Epic could use its 3d creation tool, Unreal Engine, which gives developers the ability to make visuals and immersive experiences for films and games.
Tim Sweeney, Epic’s founder, told Bloomberg that the metaverse was a multitrillion-dollar opportunity, and that companies like his were in a race to get to a billion users in order to set the metaverse’s standards for the future.
But what the metaverse will look like?
Avatars enjoying the ‘perfect’ alternative reality, full of the things you can’t afford to have in real life?
Or simply a copy of the version that exists today? For example a virtual boardroom you can interact in a much more engaging way than through Zoom? Or an immersive experience in your favourite shop?
I guess we’ll have to wait and see.