Horizons Newsletter – week 3 // 2022
While the general consensus is that gaming and social networking will be the first metaverse applications, recent initiatives from Meta and Microsoft indicate that it might actually be the people working from home who will become the driving force behind the metaverse.
Your virtual office might become the driving force behind the metaverse
The metaverse has meant different things throughout its young history. In 1992, Neal Stephenson coined the term in his science fiction novel Snow Crash. In a dystopian society, a virtual world is built that provides hope to young people; a premise highly similar to the 2018 movie Ready Player One. In recent years, the metaverse has become a popular term, driven by publications of the essayist Matthew Ball. Yet, as Ben Thompson argues on his blog Stratechery, all of Ball’s criteria for the metaverse already apply to the internet, with the major difference between the two being the potential to add a feeling of presence for users. Virtual and augmented reality technologies are key to enable that feeling. While the general consensus is that gaming and social networking will be the first metaverse applications, the recent initiatives from Meta and Microsoft – who are both using VR, AR and MR to create virtual meeting rooms – indicate that it might actually be the people working from home who will become the driving force behind the metaverse.
Broaden Your Horizons
- Rockhealth looked back at its 2021 predictions to see whether they were right and is looking ahead for what they expect to happen in 2022.
- This NYT article discusses how big banks slowly embrace cloud computing, while remaining wary of security and privacy issues.
- Last Christmas, the Oculus VR app was the most popular app in Apple’s App Store. According to CNBC, Meta’s holiday success is a strong indicator that the company is on the right path to build the metaverse.
Solving VR’s chicken-and-egg situation
Virtual and augmented reality technology have been heralded for years, but so far have failed to take off. The technology has suffered from a chicken-and-egg situation, where the interplay between a lack of users and lack of content kept the rollout of the technology at a snail’s pace. With virtual meeting rooms as the first applications, however, several hurdles to adoption could be removed. If employers pay for the hardware setup, costs are less of an issue. Moreover, since virtual meeting rooms require less demanding graphics than immersive gaming worlds, the current technology is “good enough” to give people the feeling that they are in the same room as their colleagues. Similar to PCs in the past, with more people being familiar with the technology, users will be interested to try VR for other activities (including videogames, education and sports). That will make it more attractive for developers to create content. 2022 might be the turning point for virtual reality technology to become a core part of our smart home infrastructure, setting off a wave of fresh innovation.
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