Metaverse, as Zuckerberg thought, has pretty much failed. Most experts and visionaries think that the story of the metaverse is much brighter than the Facebook founder now thinks. Of course, this immediately raises the question of whether the idea and future of the metaverse, in general, is doomed.
In 2021, all of us dreamed of the metaverse. Zuckerberg has rebranded his entire empire and set out with serious resources to make a big dream come true. Very few of these dreams have come true, and even those currently need to attract significant numbers of visitors. It is worth reflecting on what has happened recently and why. What has reversed the trend that attracted so many? Let’s look at the circumstances. There was an epidemic, people were quarantined, and everyone was on a computer trying to communicate in some way with others held hostage by the pandemic in their own country. Who, in this situation, would not have looked for a happier and more colourful world to spend their free time? The formula is simple: man is a social creature, and in this situation, he could reach the world through the computer; the metaverse seemed a good solution.
The technology, which was not yet advanced enough
In the last 30 years, ever since computers became commonplace in our workrooms and children-rooms, we have always sought opportunities to play with others. In the 2000s, thanks to the bandwidth of the internet, massive multiplayer games showed that the concept of playing together works very well. The revolution in the development of AR and VR also made virtual worlds interesting for many. After multiplayer games, the idea of virtual communities was born. In 2003, Second Life, the first virtual world developed by Linden Lab, was launched, which was not about the game but the virtual community itself.
Second Life didn’t require 3D glasses; it created a small virtual island in the world of Web 2, made alive and profitable by 1 million users. By comparison, World of Warcraft was in its golden age at the time, with 12–14 million users.
Despite this, many experts and fans proclaimed that Second Life had brought the future of work to the world. A new online community where you can shop, learn and work. In the virtual world, some have opened universities, others banks, and the trendiest companies have started selling their branded fashion and sports products to avatars of registered users. If you asked meta and multiverse fans today, no one would know that Second Life still exists.
A technology that still can’t break through its limits
Virtual worlds and related technology have long since been completely out of the spotlight. The enormous online communities continued to be defined by the current blockbusters. For example, Fortnite, which regularly organizes major concerts and virtual events for its users. The developer’s addictive game is, according to many experts, the only virtual world that works well these days, primarily for younger generations.
Meanwhile, Hollywood’s glittering multiverse visions are becoming increasingly popular. The Ready player 0ne has successfully communicated the multiverse vision to the masses. Even though most users had no idea that neither the technology nor the software development would come close to the possibilities and glamour suggested in the movies.
Strictly metaverse and web3 multiverses want more than that. But even though the meta and Web3 worlds have stepped in and blown up the balloons, they still seem to have failed to find the right user base. The technology still has several limitations, one of which is that virtual glasses remain uncomfortable and unwearable devices in the long term. Although relatively affordable products are already on the market, high-quality solutions are very expensive.
The other problem is that people still do not like to be wholly excluded from the outside world, and VR devices have not become a favourite among the average user. Therefore, the technology is still incapable of serving virtual worlds at a quality that could lead to a breakthrough in metaverse attendance.
Less shiny, less usable
While meta and multiverses show promise as the great opportunities of the future, only some of them offer users a truly innovative experience. The prominent players in the Web3 world have yet to hire the best game developers to develop their metaverse games, so most of the games are not even up to the quality of a mid-range video game.
And users want much more than that. They are used to playing games of high quality, even on their desktops, with a visual world or atmosphere that is immersive. In contrast, it’s not cool at all to party in a middle-quality world with lame avatars. That’s not really what gamers or the general internet user are looking for.
Despite the promises, there is not much of a boom in virtual lands bought for expensive money, and most play-to-earn games need to pay more to make them worth spending time on. Most games have not been able to achieve much success as the long crypto winter has put a damper on a lot of development. And the abandoned projects and never finished meta-versions don’t inspire much confidence in young people looking for new, shiny fun.
A new wave and a bright future
The next generation of game makers is likely to be the late-arriving professionals. As Web3 enthusiasts continue to hope that the time will come when they can spend their time playing challenging and entertaining games, the second wave of gold diggers could be the frontrunners.
After many forgettable NFT projects, there will likely be some nice and usable projects. Of course, success will have to be worked for now because the time for NFT collections for the moon looks very much over. But with a good idea, a sophisticated visual world and the right value proposition, competing is still possible.
Some of the old recipes still look to work, and over the past 30 years, the magical world of games has provided a steady stream of revenue for those who have been able to offer something unique to gamers. Therefore, a winner in the metaverse competition could be a project that builds its community correctly, organizes its players into cohesive guilds, and serves them with engaging content and opportunities.
By offering a hands-on experience and real value, rather than virtual glasses and 3D, Web3 will create valuable spaces where people enjoy living, shopping and adventuring. This experience will be created by people who have been part of the great adventure of the last 30 years. They have followed the evolution of games and want to make their dreams come true.
Zuckerberg is no longer in the game because he never really was a player; he’s much more interested in the new hype of artificial intelligence now; the metaverse was just an adventure in his life.
Written by Tamas Peter Turcsan
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