12 October 2022
The Metaverse – Are we looking at it all wrong?
If you have been anywhere near the internet in the last few years you must have heard about the Metaverse, the new, endless virtual world that is being touted as, amongst other things; the Networking & Event space of the future! The promise of expandable event spaces, a tactile experience closer to the live experience than ever before with all the perks of a virtual event does sound tempting.
But what really is the Metaverse and should we be worrying about it? Well firstly the Metaverse should not be confused with Meta, Meta is the new name for the umbrella company that owns Facebook, Instagram, whatsapp and a number of other applications that all serve a purpose of networking and communication tools.
The Metaverse is, according to google :
Metaverse – a virtual-reality space in which users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users.
Now the reason Meta or Facebook are often confused with being the soul owner and provider of the Metaverse is because they also own Oculus, a Virtual reality headset company with lots of applications and games that “transport” you to a Virtual world or space, take on the role of an Avatar and exist in a life like expandable world where you can network with other users, experience; games, Art, Music, other people and Events. Oculus, also, according to a 2021 Q1 survey, Owns about 75% of the market!
So if you want to join the “Metaverse” you’d probably have to buy an Oculus Quest headset which would set you back about £399 (at the time on writing). Which seems a little steep to join in with a “Metaverse” event or networking session. Then if your an organiser you also have the additional cost of the highly priced design and IT services needed to build a metaverse event, then the additional support for the new and unusual user experience the shopping list starts to add up.
That’s not even mentioning the motion sickness that 40-70% of users report after only 15 minutes of use
So why are so many people writing about the Metaverse and suggesting it has some sort of future with the world of meetings and events!? Well I’d like to propose we look at it differently. Yes, those who are comfortable with the price and motion sickness will be able to enjoy a myriad of Metaverse events in the near future, but the likely-ness of a large scale take up especially with the more “tech sceptical” of our industry is very small, even with proposed price drops and R&D on minimising motion sickness.
A different approach
The way the Metaverse will take off and really thrive is if we stop thinking of a “virtual reality space in which users interact with computer generated environments and each other” as something that needs a virtual reality headset and think of it more as a “chosen device”. What I mean when I say chosen device is – Computer, Phone, TV etc the sort of devices which in 2022 are almost completely accessible user friendly and side effect free. Then you start to find that the metaverse is already a very present concept, in fact for those of you who have played the game “Minecraft” online with other users you have already experienced it.
How is the Minecraft a Metaverse?
Many different criteria constitute a metaverse, in fact there is definitely a “virtual elite” that have set pretty strict rules as to what makes a Metaverse a metaverse, but i’d put my neck out and say that Minecraft fulfils the most important:
The first being that one must be able to exist within the virtual universe and experience an existence digitally much as they can in reality.
the user will have a role within the metaverse depending on the server or virtual world they assign themselves to.
And finally, Minecraft has the scope to allow anyone to create their own world or Metaverse that is fully customisable and fully scalable.
Meaning that anyone could plan, build and hold an event in a Minecraft server that fulfils all of the criteria of a metaverse event but you don’t need a Headset to play it. In fact Minecraft is compatible with nearly every smart device you could think of, including Virtual headsets, so it’s accessible to nearly everyone.
My Final Thoughts
Now I still don’t think we will see a world more fond of a virtual experience than a live one, unless we have another global pandemic the pull of a live event is irreplaceable. However despite seeing a slight decline in the virtual events industry it’s still looking an area that’s here to say, especially for particular types of events. I see that same for the future for the Metaverse in events, just perhaps a Metaverse where it can be accessible away from the headsets!
Until then, if anyone is planning an event in Minecraft, send me an invite!