Where did all the metaverse hype go?
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Excellent question and this article was an interesting read.

I would agree that we are in the "trough of disillusionment" in the Gartner Hype Cycle, where interest decreases as implementations fail to deliver, leading to a shakeout among technology providers.

While 2023 is definitely the year of AI, 2022 was the year of the Metaverse. Zuckerberg wanted to own it by changing his company’s name from Facebook to Meta and throwing billions of dollars at it. Roblox went from a kids gaming platform to hosting premium brands like Nike (Nike land) and Gucci (Gucci Garden). Global companies appointed Chief Metaverse Officers so they could establish their metaverse policies. There was a buzz among tech giants and consulting firms without any understanding of what the ROI could be on a concept that was not even defined. This hype led to unrealistic expectations and a rush to invest in the technology, which is still in its early stages. As a result, by the end of 2022, tech companies had cut staff, and  “Metaverse” was a dirty word.

It is so much easier to embrace AI because everyone can try it out with Chat GPT, DalE, Midjourney etc. We still can’t accurately define what the Metaverse is, as it is not fully evolved yet. Mark Zuckerberg's objective with the Metaverse is to create an interconnected and immersive virtual space where people can interact, work, and socialize in a more seamless and integrated way. But the result for me is an extremely simple and limited series of low visual fidelity novelty worlds with like minded people hanging out and communicating as avatars. Whereas Apple’s vision is driven by utility and purpose.

The phrase ‘metaverse’ may never make a comeback, however the features of the metaverse are still very much alive and will continue to evolve as the technology improves.

  • MERGING THE REAL AND VIRTUAL: The concept of merging the real and virtual worlds is central to the metaverse. It is not just about exploring virtual worlds in virtual reality that has little to no impact on the real world. Accessible via VR/AR/Mobile/Desktop/MR headset, the metaverse mixes the digital with the physical to create interactive, immersive, feature-rich environments.

  • CONNECTION: Users play, socialize, work, shop, create and collaborate through sharing and connecting with others (large numbers of people together without compromises in, functionality, performance or security/safety).

  • PERSISTENCE: Unlike games, persistent immersive worlds do not reset, but change and evolve over time - much like our physical world, the people interacting with it have agency to have a long lasting impact.

  • INTEROPERABILITY: Adopting common 3D standards to enable users to move seamlessly from one world/environment to the other with their purchases and achievements. While it is unlikely we will achieve full interoperability to achieve a single ‘metaverse’ ecosystem, given the desire of big tech to try and own the various platforms, we do need some consistent standards to progress.

At Zebrar we are early adopters and creators of this technology and are seeing success across many industries.

Digital Twins are an example of Metaverse technology that provide enormous value - these are digital replications of real world environments that take realtime data and model information to help us decide on outcomes (eg in town planning, disaster planning or in determining operational requirements for airports/factories etc)

In AR, a surgeon can receive realtime information about the patient/surgery/body or a builder can see an AR overlay of plans on an empty site.

In retail and banking we can have a personalised experience in a branded environment with products and services directly relevant to us based on profile/history etc. - with secure and reliable safety protocols using blockchain inherent security.

Once wearable tech comes of age and achieves mass adoption, immersive web will provide purpose, engagement and personalisation for consumers, and utility for enterprise, transforming the way we interact with content and with each other.

While the concept of a fully immersive virtual world raises concerns about privacy, security, and the impact on real-world social interaction - and the risk of creating a dystopian world where people lose touch with reality and become addicted to their virtual personas - it’s more likely to remain the work of science fiction writers.

Overall, the metaverse is a new platform with persistent long-term potential, even though the “coined term hype” has subsided for now.