As often with new/future tech, the metaverse opens more questions than it answers. The debate is running hot - also here at our Motius office. This is what we think about the metaverse:
Computer Science as a discipline is a phenomenon that brings innovations. Those innovations play a major role in human’s everyday life as they change and enrich human interaction, communication, and social “transactions”. From the standpoint of end-users, three major technological innovation “waves” so far have been centered around the 1) introduction of personal computers, 2) the Internet and 3) mobile devices, respectively. Currently, the fourth wave of computing innovation is happening around spatial, immersive technologies namely Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR).
Metaverse: The History Behind the Buzzword
The term metaverse has been used as a buzzword to exaggerate the development progress of various related technologies and projects for PR purposes. Furthermore, core components of a so-called “metaverse technology” have already been developed within online video games. Full-stop.
At its core, a metaverse is a network of 3D virtual worlds focused on social connection. Hypothetically speaking, it can be seen as an iteration of the Internet as a single, universal virtual world that is facilitated by the use of virtual and augmented reality headsets. The virtual world platform Second Life, which emerged in 2003, is often described as the first metaverse. At its essence, the game incorporated many aspects of social media into a persistent 3D world with the user represented as an avatar.
Motius & the Metaverse
Motius as an R&D company has worked with numerous of the beforementioned technologies, and some of the projects and ideas we developed could be seen as metaverse projects on their own. A lot of hours spent on Building the Future of Mobility, “Holoactive” Touch, etc. as “metaverse” projects made us aware of the possibilities those technologies can make and how they impact our clients and shape their business decisions. One could argue that Motius’ beforementioned projects and therefore AR/VR technologies are just another way of doing all future UI/UX.
Really the Next Big Thing?
Although the metaverse is a human-centered virtual world, it indeed positively impacts the real world, especially in terms of accessibility, diversity, equality, and humanity.
On the other hand, information privacy, user addiction, and user safety are some of the concerns, retaining from challenges facing the social media and video game industries as a whole. Therefore, for instance, feasibility (1,000-times increase in computational efficiency), privacy(data collection between www vs. metaverse has no comparison), and addictive potential (mental and physicals repercussions) are still topics and dilemmas to be discussed and found solutions for.
Metaverse Is Not Production Ready (Yet)
Over the course of 2021, the word ‘metaverse’ entered common usage, inspiring a lively global debate about what it represents, whether it’s already here, and who will own it. But in 2022 we still don’t have an accepted definition of what it is. Motius R&D projects showed us that the potential final view of a “metaverse” will be shaped by the technology we use nowadays and that can serve the purpose to access it, namely, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and brain-computer interfaces (BCI).
Looks like, technology, ideas, and knowledge are already there. Who will “own” it and have the most success in PR-ing it, we will see. The beforementioned challenges will not be fully solved before “go to market“ and usage of such a metaverse, rather will be taken care of over a period of time, if ever to a full. We think that Metaverse technology is still not “production” ready. But technologies around it are way more capable now than 5 years ago when the first Consumer AR (Google Glass) and VR (HTC Vive) products came to market.
Let’s work together to make this technology ready and think ahead how privacy and psychological challenges can be overcome!