Searching the Metaverse

In today’s world, you can see why people are looking for a different way – a way to start the system over and start over. That is the challenge of virtual governments: They are places where power can be shifted, degradation escaped, and the inequities of capitalism left for an interesting, malleable, and meaningful. .

So it’s no surprise that web universes like Fortnite and Roblox currently attract around 400 million users, and others like Decentraland and Sandbox are growing rapidly. The market value for them is more than $ 1 trillion, estimates show. Facebook changed its name to Meta to signify its belief in the future. Microsoft is preparing for workspaces that will be occupied by digital avatars. Clothing manufacturers from Nike and Gucci are designing clothing and accessories for the metaverse. JP Morgan and Samsung have set up a store in Decentraland. At Roblox players can create their own Forever 21 stores and sell their designs in them. Many companies are creating big walls in the metaverse (even if most people aren’t sure what it is).

Three new books will help explain the reason. Navigating the Metaverse, by Cathy Hackl, Dirk Lueth, and Tommaso Di Bartolo; The Metaverse Handbook, by QuHarrison Terry and Scott Keeney; a Enter the Metaverse, by Mark van Rijmenam, they have all set themselves up to lead Lonely Planet to the digital frontier.

Although the definition is different, here are a few reasons why the metaverse is: There are actually many metaverses, or digital footers, which are separated, augmented combination and real , store information on a blockchain, and allow users to access digital assets. So just like “the network,” the term “the metaverse” describes a sprawling network of systems and spaces.

In practice, the metaverse provides a new path to the web, with new markets and products. In their book, Hackl, Lueth, and Di Bartolo outline three paradigm shifts:

1. See: People don’t just want to eat. It would be better to have relevant information.

2. Data: People think of their persona data and want to take it with them through the metaverse to the real world.

3. Authority: Everywhere people choose to spend their time, they want the skin in the game.

In other words, the endgame is the acquisition of digital information integrated across a blockchain – information such as signing up to your work computer or playing at night. It contains your crypto keys, the NFTs you purchased for your digital home in Decentraland, and your other important data. In the metaverse you are no longer a user than your member.

This opens up a whole new world of possibilities. Terry and Keeney point to Roblox as a model of what is to come. On top of that, players organize games and venues, and people gather for events in ways they can’t on social media. Keeney (also known as “DJ Skee”) worked with Paris Hilton to build Paris World at Roblox, where he threw a New Year’s Eve party that attracted more people. front of is Times Square. “This is the future of the party,” he told reporters.

The most amazing thing about the metaverse (and its cousin, Web3) is that it has a strong sense of responsibility. Users can be responsible for everything; they can make decisions about the communities they belong to and the programs they use, make and sell NFTs, and get paid for playing games on decentralized applications (dApps) that run on peer-to-peer systems rather than servers. It’s a real change in user experience because it’s creating a new economic environment. The best power of the metaverse, says van Rijmenam, is to free up users, allow them to easily move communities and digital assets from site to site — in, say, take to a Facebook group to Roblox, and then exchange a portion of the image created there. and Fortnite. With this knowledge, users can monetize their digital assets, sell, rent, or lend them.

The note, it seems, is that while users experienced the short -term effect of the drug on the old website, where they sold their data to free search engines and media platforms, they (or, the developers of this new site) renegotiate that agreement. “The game will be a tool to generate assets within that dApp (or in the wider metaverse),” Hackl, Lueth, and Di Bartolo write. It might be about creating monsters in the Axie Infinity game and selling them to other players or getting awards with them, freelancing as a brand agent in Decentraland, or Or hawking cartoon characters or avatars. Instead of the dopamine suppression of desires, the costs of cell life come in a cold, crypto complex.

It’s an interesting sound — because the old website is so popular. The purpose of advertising is to make users aware of the product; some large corporations have great power and are almost unmanageable; and the never -ending controversy over the spread of misinformation, conspiracy theories, and trolling. All of that wasting time on social media seems like a simple mistake: For one thing I talk about Twitter as if it’s a smoking activity I can’t quit. Anything else that could break some of the stagnant power and rejuvenate the system should be well -received.

I can’t see the dystopian side of the future. Work does not become a game; the game is going to be an activity. It seems that instead of offering exemption and intoxication, the metaverse offers more rights without advertising. Do I want to take everything I do in my free time to work with my avatar, drawing my interests and relationships with me? Do I want to turn my hobby into a small business? Or maybe I want to spend more of my life online? Or will my online life replace my inferiority in the physical world?

It’s the kind of quandaries that make artists escape books, TV shows, and movies about virtual reality, from Neal Stephenson’s 1992 sci-fi classic. Hau Hau (which coined the term “metaverse”) to the Netflix series Black Wind.

Is the metaverse our future? Businesses like Meta and Microsoft think, though, that their worldview is more secure than public opinion. There is no doubt that happiness, money, and time will turn us into a new kind of digital reality. Either way, it reflects the preferences of its user base, be it professional, safe, or comfortable. Dystopia is another problem. Another downside: we sleep in the metaverse but end up in a mall.

This article appeared in the July – August 2022 issue of The Harvard Business Review.

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