There has been a lot written about the Metaverse in the past few weeks.
It was a bit confusing, and I thought one way for me to learn about it would be to write about it.
So this post is more for my own benefit, but if anyone wants to read and watch along with me, you are more than welcome to.
As an overview, I thought I would start with my old friend Wikipedia. Here is a short excerpt that offers an overview of Metaverse:
The metaverse is a hypothesized iteration of the internet, supporting persistent online 3-D virtual environments through conventional personal computing, as well as virtual and augmented reality headsets. Metaverses, in some limited form, are already present on platforms like VRChat or video games like Second Life. Current metaverse ambitions are centered on addressing technological limitations with modern virtual and augmented reality devices, as well as expanding the use of metaverse spaces to business, education, and retail applications. Numerous entertainment and social media companies have invested in metaverse-related research and development. The metaverse has come to be criticized as a method of public relations building using a purely speculative, “over-hyped” concept based on existing technology. Information privacy and user addiction are concerns within the metaverse, stemming from current challenges facing the social media and video game industries as a whole.
I am sure most people are aware that Facebook has renamed its company to Meta, as a way of telling the world that the company is more than just its social media apps; it is planning to invest heavily in the Metaverse.
Here is a video that Mark Zuckerberg has created that offers a very high-level overview and examples of his vision of the Metaverse (three and a half minutes long):
I have to admit, there is nothing in that video that captures my imagination. If that is all the Metaverse has to offer, count me out.
But then I thought well maybe I’m missing something. There are a few more videos from Meta that look at specific applications in the Metaverse, like Fitness, Work, and Commerce. The one I was most interested in was the Education one. I was curious what the future of education may look like, and if I am lucky to be near the end of my teaching career.
Here is the education video (one minute, fifteen seconds long):
It’s cool stuff, no doubt, but once again I don’t see what the hype is all about. I think there are already applications like this, so I’m not sure what Meta plans to do that will be different.
The Wikipedia article mentioned the app Second Life, which I remember using more than 10 years ago, and it seemed to offer the same features. Here is a two-and-a-half-minute video from Second Life from two years ago that shows what they have been doing for a while with virtual worlds and education.
I see little to no difference between this and what Facebook/Meta is planning to do.
So that’s my very brief overview and impression of the Metaverse.
I’d like to be proven wrong, but I don’t get the hype. And at this point, I don’t see anything new about what Zuckerberg’s Meta will be bringing to the metaverse.
If you would like to watch Zuckerberg’s complete overview of Meta, here is the full video (an hour and seventeen minutes).
So if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for me to take some 3-d virtual tours of some houses for sale in Sarasota…
*image from USA Today