2022: ‘The Year’ for the next Metaverse and for VR?20.12.2021, 15:50
We all know that metaverses existed long before Facebook or ‘Meta’ announced its recent (evil?) plans to dominate one, or at least, help to enable one. Let’s hope they stick to the latter.
Metaverses have been around in all sorts of addictive forms, from smartphones and computer desktops themselves, to Roblox and Minecraft, to Star Wars, Second Life and Microsoft Office. A metaverse is just something that shares a common language; an alternative, man-made spectrum which overlaps, to complement, our existing reality. Its any realm where you can move identifiable elements (like icons) from one cyber-space and then place them in another, where they can continue their utility or service. A bit like a browser tab moved into another desktop, or like a computer operating system.
In this same vein, they can either be free and open-source or more confined and enterprise-driven. Many of us already live either in a Microsoft, Google or Apple ‘metaverse’. It’s enough. What they provide us, works just fine, and allows us to perform our various roles better, and more efficiently, in reality.
And the good news is that the next-level 3D evolution of this software - via VR and AR - the ‘Next Metaverse’ if you like, won’t swallow up everyone; it won’t be needed for everyone. But, it will take these familiar systems and enhance them further. Instead of wrestling with pens, keyboards, mice, screens etc, we will enter 3D ‘realms’ for work and interaction, where all these elements can be thrown around and customised. They will merge with more direct, expressive communication features to make everything hands-free and easier.
This is all coming, but 2022 is still early, for this promise of an extra level of control and working together. In a world where travel could become more and more tricky and expensive, we need technology to help break down distances, better than today.
There’s no doubt that Meta have the multi-platform, super-massive user-base to promote something of value, but it may not be social media that brings us all flocking to VR. (A lot of 'active' facebook users wished they'd never signed up.) It might just be a question of the state of the tech, or hardware, and the apps. Right now, both are still an issue.
There’s no doubt that the Oculus Quest 2 - sorry the Meta Quest 2 - is a game-changer for VR. This un-tethered device will get a lot more people into VR this Christmas - before it gets put back on a dusty shelf for very sporadic use, or when there’s nothing better to do. They're quite demanding devices to get used to.
Why? This is because, despite Covid-19 pumping the metaverse, and getting people to try things out, the truth is that the hardware just isn’t ‘there’ yet - nor, for many, is the bandwidth required. There will only be so many users actually leveraging VR as an alternative tool for work. But, Covid-19 etc. should accelerate things, so not to worry: we’ll see some pretty cool VR apps crop up in 2022, to answer this need, if people remain locked-down and looking to maintain interesting connections with other people. This won’t be easy. Long-distance relationships are never, and that’s due to thousands of years of evolution.
Meta has timed things pretty well, but it's only one early group involved in kick-starting the scene. If you think there's only going to be one 'visionary' founder of a Ready Player One-style 'Oasis', then think again. Who will run this next global metaverse, this time?
Crypto, Web 3 and NFTs....
On this equally important area, much depends on who really wants to be thrown in - and confined - to yet another Castle Google, Microsoft barred window or Apple shot-to-the-wallet?
Cloud storage technology has been a big driver in reeling us all in and embedding us in their metaverses. For example, if you decide to switch away from a nice, easy Google Chromebook back to a pro Microsoft laptop, to use Office perhaps, it will take you an hour at least to disable all the Microsoft stuff it wants to give you when you start using your laptop. Eventually, you will still be able to access your Google Cloud. But you will lose all your apps, and have to buy new Microsoft versions. It’s all very annoying. Our old metaverses are not interoperable basically because of old business models.
Luckily, Bitcoin, blockchain and web3 have shown (a lot of disgruntled developers) a very different model. Crypto and Web3, and NFT’s: these buzzwords are bringing about something even more interesting, and this relates to the ‘Next Metaverse’ too. Just as a whole lot more people will be buying Meta Quest 2 in 2022, a whole lot will be exploring web3 and crypto too. Why? Because of the power of.... decentralisation and ownership.
Cryptocurrencies are not just about doing away with company models and replacing them with DAOs. They are about decentralised technology, and that also means file storage, and more. It means ‘owning’ your own money and storage directly, via keys. The more people use decentralised apps, (which are more secure), in 2022, the more people will want a metaverse that is not owned by a company, but is genuinely open for all. These users will be using The Sandbox and Decentraland, for starters, and not Horizons.
A Year to Experiment in VR in 2022!
By all means, get an Oculus/Meta Quest 2 for Christmas and put more time to experiment with it. It comes locked into your FB/Meta existence like some social tool, but the truth is: it isn’t this tool (not yet), and it doesn’t have to be. It’s so much more than a Facebook gadget, with some incredible experiences and apps available for it now.
So… use it to explore, experiment, and to find - or build - the real killer apps which will arrive, ready for anyone, on any platform.
The happy news is that FB/Meta has announced it will allow its Quest to be ‘unlocked’ and used with other services, so you don’t have to have an FB/Meta account to use it. Well… this is a good step, and it better happen, because the danger of Meta ‘becoming’ some monster metaverse still exists, and it will be dangerous for us all. Diversity - and biodiversity - in everything, should be the big theme for 2022.
What about beyond? Well… 2023, could be the year of AR. Slightly less-immersive technology, via Microsoft Hololens etc. This looks set to be even bigger than VR, although one day we’ll see these merge and mix together via some incredible visors and headsets! But the future is made in the present. Let’s just hope and pray we won’t need to re-boot the metaverse in another 20 years time…
And by the way, Happy Christmas from this Prizes Drop metaverse! It's been another fine year of free point-collecting by our hardy members, who've managed to swap so much and buy themselves extra Amazon gifts, and more. Why not sign up for your personal dashboard today and start gaining points just be watching ads, and doing simple online tasks. We'll also keep you up to date on various topics including games and passive income opportunities, via this blog.