Did you miss a session from the GamesBeat Summit 2022? All sessions are now available to stream. look now
Stephen King put it best when he wrote, “Sooner or later everything old is new again.” And that’s exactly what happens when it comes to the Metaverse. It’s true; The technologies powering this incredible space are far from old. However, the concept itself goes back almost 30 years.
Love ’em or hate ’em, Facebook deserves a ton of credit for bringing the Metaverse into the mainstream after renaming themselves Meta. But the idea is anything but original. The origins of the metaverse can be traced back to 1992. The same year that Kris Kross made us Jump, dial-up Internet access first became available.
The Creation of the Metaverse
1992 was also the year Neal Stephenson first used the term “Metaverse” within the pages of his dystopian novel Snow Crash. But regardless of who gets credit, the metaverse is as much a part of popular tech culture today as things like blockchain, AR/VR, AI, and quantum computing. Incidentally, all of this is now combining to propel what the Metaverse will ultimately be. And that’s what makes it so exciting.
As KJ Dhaliwal, Dating Group’s Chief Strategy Officer, explains:
The Metaverse is here and now
Sounds too philosophical or futuristic? Then you don’t see what’s in front of your eyes. Many of us already meet in virtual rooms every day. But we’re only scratching the surface of what’s to come. However, there is still a lot to be done for the market to mature.
There is currently no industry standard for what the Metaverse really is. The Metaverse is still an open frontier. And that’s a big reason why people are so confused by it.
What is the Metaverse anyway? Many believe it is simply a 3D model of the Internet. At the same time, others take a more extreme view. They see it as a sort of parallel universe where the physical fully merges with the digital in a singularity known as the “phygital.”
The Market Opportunity
However, going from the simple to the extreme requires a lot of technology. And new technologies and services are the market opportunity for entrepreneurs and investors looking to strike gold in the metaverse. And it seems there’s a lot of gold to be had.
According to Statista, we’re only just scratching the surface of what the market value of the metaverse will one day be. The company puts its 2022 market value at just over $47 billion. However, they expect it to grow to $678.8 billion by 2030. That means there might be a few more billionaires in the next eight years.
This is exciting math, no doubt. But one wonders where the real opportunities lie. Should you create a new AR or VR startup? Will AI bring the magic? Or maybe supercomputing is where you should spend your cycles?
Where to make your claim
To reach a conclusion, one must first understand where the market is at the moment, what are the barriers to progress, and where the market will naturally go. And virtual reality (in its current form) is probably not where you should be spending your time and resources.
A recent report by Piper Sandler found that 50% of Gen Z surveyed have no plans to buy a VR headset any time soon. And not because they already have two or three. Only 26% admitted to owning a single VR device. But it gets worse. Less than 5% of those who have a headset use it on a daily basis.
The key term to remember is “everyday use”. If only 5% of the youngest generation with purchasing power is using something, then run away from it. And run away quickly. But what do they use on a daily basis, you ask?
Think Gen Z
According to the Los Angeles Times, Generation Z spends a lot of time on screens (mainly on their smartphones). According to the newspaper, they watch an average of 7.2 hours of video a day, almost an hour more than the 6.3 hours spent by Generation X. And as the saying goes: Old habits are hard to break.
With the widespread adoption of mobile devices and the incredible number of hours that generations old and new are spending on their screens, smartphones stand a good chance of reigning supreme when it comes to the metaverse. But they cannot do it in their current state. There has to be new technology that connects our smartphones to our reality in a way that doesn’t tie us down to a headset or similar devices.
And the next big thing is already in the works. The flourishing of 5G, the evolution of computing, and smarter AI have opened the door to the next big thing. Brain Computer Interface Technology (BCI) is what will complete the connection between the physical and the digital. But the fledgling field needs more experts and investors to fuel its progress.
The future is BCI
However, there is momentum. NextMind, which was covered by VentureBeat in late 2020, was recently acquired by Snap for an undisclosed sum. And in a company statement, Snap wrote: “NextMind has joined Snap to advance the long-term research effort in augmented reality within Snap Lab. Spectacles is an evolving, iterative research and development project, and the latest generation aims to help developers explore the technical frontiers of augmented reality.”
Unlike its pesky VR headset cousin, AR – or better yet, MR (Mixed Reality) – done well, can be a discrete technology that blends our physical and digital worlds in real-time. And this is deepened by advances in BCI technology. But don’t get me wrong. There are still many pickaxes and shovels to be sold before finding the Motherload with BCI.
Veljko Ristic is Chief Growth Officer at SDV Lab.
data decision maker
Welcome to the VentureBeat community!
DataDecisionMakers is the place where experts, including technical staff, working with data can share data-related insights and innovations.
If you want to read about innovative ideas and up-to-date information, best practices and the future of data and data technology, visit us at DataDecisionMakers.
You might even consider contributing an article of your own!
Read more from DataDecisionMakers