Roblox Game – Microsoft, Facebook, and everyone else are building the metaverse. Do you want to live there? | Zoom Fintech

Roblox Game – Microsoft, Facebook, and everyone else are building the metaverse. Do you want to live there?

Neal Stephenson’s 1992 novel Snow Crash is about a pizza delivery guy by day, VR superhero by night, who lives in an online universe called The Metaverse. “So Hiro isn’t here at all. He’s in a computer-generated universe that his computer draws on his glasses and pumps into his headphones. In the jargon, this imaginary place is known as the Metaverse. Hiro spends a lot of time in the metaverse,the novel is about the city on the scale of the globe that everyone enters in VR. The idea resonates, again, among many other places, in Ready Player One’s Oasis.

In 1992, I saw the “metaverse” as a counterfeit of William Gibson’s concept of cyberspace. Of course, cyberspace has reappropriated, invented to designate the entire Internet. The same goes for the metaverse.

And the term “metaverse” has been around for some time. long time. How long? CNET wrote on the trend back in 2007.

In recent years, the term metaverse has reappeared, applied to Fortnite, Roblox, Minecraft, VR, AR, and even Animal Crossing. Facebook has just created a whole group of metaverse in its Reality Labs division focused on augmented reality and virtual reality. Microsoft is looking for the “corporate metaverse. “

The definition of the metaverse, now, is a kind of futuristic social hub, a space where avatars can meet, an ecosystem for connected applications. A VR and AR-ready dream of bringing people into a kind of virtual universe as user-friendly as Minecraft, as popular as Fortnite, and as useful as Zoom, Slack, and Google Docs. The Metaverse is perhaps the clearest admission to date that the future of technology is not just virtual reality or augmented reality, but a mix of many devices accessing a shared online world, which can be more immersive and 3D than the internet you are currently using. to read this story.

Science fiction ideas always take over technology, and it happened with the metaverse as well. To be clear, it’s not just about replacing the immersive worlds of AR and VR, although it’s often used that way. Rather, the way of reading “the metaverse” is to merge VR, AR and all the other technologies that are not and never will be a headset that you glow in your face. It is also for companies to find out how to attract more people to these future advanced virtual communities than the few million RVs currently.

Yes, Fortnite is a metaverse.


Sarah Tew / CNET

The world is already living virtually

We’ve already redefined the idea of ​​“virtual” in 2020, and for most people that didn’t involve a VR headset. Zoom, Online Games, Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces and all the other social apps on your phone – everyone has carved out a virtual existence of their own. I wrote about it Last year. The holodeck is a concept that lives beyond virtual reality or augmented reality.

The concept of metaverse has become an umbrella term that floats across large connected multiplayer worlds, including Fortnite, or Minecraft, or Roblox, or VR apps like Microsoft’s Rec Room, VRChat, and AltspaceVR. But it aspires to be a replacement for all your virtual tools, headset or not.

Shifting to the idea of ​​metaverse is basically a way to include multiple devices and platforms, and not insist that people use a particular gadget. Again, think about Fortnite. Or, again, Roblox. Or Minecraft. Or, in a sense, most of the apps we use now. But in this case, we are talking about those who have their own deep social world.

My children are already immersed in their own metaverse. They simply call them by the name of the app they use to access it, and these companies are already well aware of that.

The metaverse is about massively social future things

Most of the metavers discussed are massively multiplayer spaces with avatars and worlds and persistent players or creative tools. Facebook’s next social platform, Horizon, is an example: the avatar-based app will work in virtual reality, but Facebook intends that it will also work in augmented reality, as well as on laptops and regular phones. Microsoft’s AltSpaceVR is already like this.

VR is a lot of stuff right now, but it’s not very social because most people don’t have VR headsets. Businesses are struggling to find tools that loop all other phone and computing experiences with VR and AR ecosystems. Microsoft has been working on it for years, but still hasn’t fixed it.

Tech realizes not everyone will be in VR (or AR)

Microsoft’s recent push is for AR it also works on phones in addition to Hololens; Apple focuses on AR on iPhone and iPad; Facebook integrates Oculus with the rest of its non-VR social apps. It’s easy to see a common thread here. You will never be able to fit everyone into VR headsets. Or, AR smart glasses. Just like not everyone will be wearing a smartwatch, AirPods, or Nintendo Switch.

Much of what appears to be the goal of the Metaverse is the cross-platform of virtual objects. I think VR headsets and AR glasses will eventually become headphones for our eyes, a more immersive and portable alternative to a monitor. Put it on, take it out, choose the tool that works. Most Metaverse initiatives aim to exist no matter what type of computer you choose.

microsoft-mesh-hololens-1.png

I watched virtual jellyfish with Alex Kipman earlier this year; we both wore HoloLens 2 and were in different locations. We all appeared as cartoon avatars to each other.


Microsoft / Screenshot by Scott Stein / CNET

Everyone is trying to solve remote working and the idea of ​​telepresence

I met Microsoft’s Alex Kipman practically earlier this year while demonstrating Microsoft Mesh. I was wearing a Hololens 2 and I saw his avatar floating in my house. We talked a bit and we met around a virtual table. Then we hopped into VR on a separate headset nearby and continued our conversation.

This kind of transition isn’t very smooth, but no one has figured out how to take Zoom to the next level. Virtual reality and augmented reality provide some possibilities for teleporting people together, but it loses some of the natural feeling of connection to the camera that Zoom, FaceTime, and other video calls already have.

Mark Zuckerberg told me earlier this year that the purpose of his metaverse is to bring people together to work. Microsoft has the same idea. Other software developers, like Spatial, have similar goals.

No one has really found a solution that really works for everyone, but then again, when you hear companies pushing for a “workplace metaverse”, this is what happens. They are also trying to understand.

The idea of ​​the metaverse is also to digitize your home away from home.

Second life. The Sims. This strange attempt to Playstation home. Technology has long been trying to solve the idea of ​​an online home port. Social media has reinvented the idea as profile pages, a handle, text streams, and photo libraries.

All streams focus on the metaverse and focus on worlds where personal spaces can be built and personalized. In VR, right now – for example the Oculus Quest – there are plenty of apps to try out, but no place to make your home. Which could be great, but so many tech companies are still trying to have a more ambitious online experience.

It starts to matter a lot more if there really is some sort of virtualized office or meeting space, where people can come together and share common things together. Right now, meetings are quick and efficient Zooms, or we just share documents with each other and collaborate a bit. Spatial-like applications try to be a place to meet and work, but no one yet agrees on common conditions or applications.

Welcome to the turf war

Metaverse is not the answer. It’s more of a question. I was expecting all of these VR headsets, smartwatches, phones, tablets, AR devices to work better together, seamlessly, as if they were interconnected.

But the players involved in these dreams include Microsoft, Facebook, Apple, Epic, Google, and a ton of others. They all want to be The Place. The destination. Softwares. They can’t all be. Or can they?

We’ve already seen a lot of battles over the limits of immersive ecosystems. the Apple-Epic court battle was really about where one paywall ends and another begins. Sometimes that wall is in an app, and sometimes that dividing line is a lot more blurry. A more immersive future of virtual reality and augmented reality, and social spaces that jump between and onto normal devices, relying on content that can also be siled, won’t make these lines any easier to see.

Roblox Game – Microsoft, Facebook, and everyone else are building the metaverse. Do you want to live there?

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