Comment The Metaverse, as the company formerly known as Facebook defines the term in its financial filings, is “an embodied Internet where people have immersive experiences beyond two-dimensional screens.”
It’s more or less another blow to the Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML), a standard file format for 3D graphics that dates back to the mid-1990s, and the naive view of federated spaces operated by competing companies.
The Web3D Consortium, which was formed to advance VRML and currently promotes X3D, a royalty-free open standards file format, recently weighed in on the Metaverse to come up with its own definition. [PDF].
“In our view, the ‘metaverse’ will emerge as a property of today’s essentially two-dimensional World Wide Web (WWW), with interconnection and interoperability between networked microcosmic ‘microverses’ created, like the Web, by individuals, companies and institutions. The interconnection between the microverses will be provided by the Web itself.”
The definition of Meta is broader – the Web is a subset of the Internet – but suffice it to say that the Metaverse has been with us for decades and experimenting with it with VR glasses and 3D graphics doesn’t help. is not necessarily more convincing than seeing it on a flat screen.
The metaverse of connected environments could be realized at any time. It’s the web and the internet, after all. We know how to make connections. Minecraft users could click on an object and be transferred to another game with a VR interface like Eve: Valkyrie. If crypto assets can be transferred through buggy blockchain bridges, there’s no reason why two or more games can’t interact.
The fact that this is not happening is not due to technical obstacles; it’s that companies aren’t trying to make that happen. It’s just not in their interest to do so.
But if fees may be charged to move VR outfits and other digital dross from place to place, Meta can try to get in on the action. Its Diem debacle at least showed the company’s interest in digital currency transactions.
Meta’s contribution to the Metaverse to date has been evangelism, billions of dollars of investment, which has produced VR headsets, software, an application distribution platform which accounts for up to 47.5 % of revenue, and now legs – something that Horizon Worlds avatars lack.
Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg, who brought us Facebook, continues to talk about creating an open ecosystem for businesses focused on Metaverse, contrary to the presumed totalitarian vision that Apple should be rolling out once it enters the computer hardware sector.
It’s a vision born out of the need to sell growth to investors – between Facebook, Instagram and WhatApp, and competition like TikTok, growth opportunities seem rare – and Meta’s lack of operating system (still obviously an aspiration).
Apple, Google and Microsoft have access control and distribution power through the products that depend on their software to function.
Meta, a platform seeker, instead has a massive following, through those who use its social apps. But the advertising industry has seen how Apple’s App Tracking Transparency technology on iOS devices has denied it access to ad targeting data and reduced the value of its business.
Until it can get a working Metaverse tollbooth in place, the company is focused on partnerships to bring its Internet incarnate to life. Partnerships are what tech companies do when they run out of assets themselves, the assets in this case being apps that people will pay to use.
The main news to come out of Meta Connect 2022, the company’s developer event this week, was an agreement with Microsoft to make Windows 365 – a streaming version of Windows – available on Meta Quest devices, as well as on Microsoft 365 and Mesh apps for Teams.
It’s baffling that anyone wants to experience any Microsoft software through a Meta Quest headset. Consider that Metaverse’s Vice President of Meta, Vishal Shah, recently chastised employees for their disinterest in the company’s Horizon Worlds environment. The managers were apparently told that they would be held accountable if their teams didn’t use Horizon Worlds.
When your marketing is force-feeding, things don’t go well. ®