Posted Oct 29. 2021, 13:21Updated on Oct 29, 2021 at 3:31 PM
Strategic shift at Facebook. Born as a social network, Mark Zuckerberg’s company no longer wants to be just a group of mobile applications. It now plans to become a metaverse company, going so far as to call itself “Meta” to detail its ambitions Thursday night. At an online conference, the billionaire boss revealed his vision for a technology that could transform the internet as we know it. Explanation.
1. What is the metaverse?
Inspired by science fiction, and in particular the novel “Snow Crash” by Neal Stephenson or “Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline, the metaverse is presented as a virtual and immersive online world. Everyone can live part of their life there, in the form of an avatar or a hologram. For Meta, this universe promises more socializing without moving, whether it’s organizing a work meeting, participating in a fitness class, or strolling through a pixel shop. But the competition has other ideas: for Epic Games, the universe of the very popular game Fortnite already organizes virtual mini-concerts with 12 million spectators.
2. How do I access the metaverse?
As Mark Zuckerberg envisioned, the metaverse opens up to those equipped with electronic devices such as virtual reality headsets and augmented reality glasses. The first, like the Oculus Quest, developed by Meta and sold for about $300, completely immerses the user’s gaze in a 3D environment. To move, it is also necessary to equip controllers at the level of the hands. Some envision a treadmill system for moving. Besides Meta, HTC, Sony already have their headsets. According to Bloomberg, Apple’s will be launched in 2022.
By simply superimposing a digital image over the real image, augmented reality is considered by experts to be easier to use by the general public. As a form of ubiquity, it will be possible to follow an event in the metaverse from the corner of your eye and participate in a discussion in the physical world… Meta is also working on augmented reality glasses. He’s not alone. Microsoft already has its device with the Hololens. Apple is also expected in these technologies.
3. Who will build the metavers?
Mark Zuckerberg wants to look good. The metaverse “isn’t limited to a single company, and each of us is needed to make it happen,” he carefully emphasized when presenting Meta. But it is mainly aimed at small developers who will enrich the world of Meta with immersive experiences (commerce, culture, tourism, entertainment, etc.), in the same way that start-ups have multiplied the services available on smartphones. 2000s.
4. Who invests in the metaverse?
To create the framework that these future partners will need – a virtual universe, an online payment system – Meta will invest $10 billion in 2021 alone.
Epic Games announced last spring that it had raised $1 billion to develop its take on the metaverse, in direct competition with Roblox, another video game company. Microsoft plans to create an “enterprise metaverse”. Not to mention the many start-ups that hope to find a place there, such as the English of Improbable.
5. Why are we talking about the metaverse again?
Like many sci-fi dreams, the metaverse has been born dead several times. Some believed it more than reasonable in the 2000s when the “Second Life” game seduced the crowd. At its peak, this virtual universe was home to IBM conference centers, American Apparel stores, election candidate political hotlines, and a million simultaneous connections.
The game is still online, but the enthusiasm quickly faded, while the game’s graphical experience remains a bit grotesque. In addition, if too many Internet users connected to it at the same time, the system would become slow. Today, the experience of virtual and augmented reality is a game-changer. All-online computing (“cloud computing”) would also make it possible to multiply simultaneous visits in this new world.