Are we going Meta? Intro. 1/5

With the big announcement of Mark Zuckerberg about rebranding Facebook to … something else (of course top confidential), the first name which popped to my mind was: he is going either with Meta or Metaverse. I wasn’t wrong. Facebook is passing slowly and more and more people are drifting to other channels, so Mark needed to change strategy and set a long term vision for the company. And obviously, the path he chooses is Metaverse. Let’s look at this from the perspective and think ahead. We basically have two questions that need to be answered: 1. IF, 2. if IF=true then WHEN?

I was actually happy that Mark took this course and in parallel with the name change I was expecting big news about the next technological leap in hardware or software. But… nothing like that happens. Apart from the announcement, there was nothing behind it for me. No hardware breakthrough, no software revolution.
Just a clear signal for us that Facebook is betting all its money on XR. And suddenly… magic happens. Lots of people start to talk about Metaverse, and how close are we to our meta existence. Etc etc. Nothing really changed but this shows us how big an impact is possible when you own a big brand and billions of value.
And apart from the words, we hear thousands of times (Horizon, further Oculus development) for me that was nothing behind it. I was surprised if not disappointed.

For at least 5 years we hear that XR will eventually kick off and we will all embrace the virtual world. Reality (true reality) verifies this brutally (oh the irony). We are not even near that fact. So why Mark is so eager to bet everything on this horse? I tell you why. When you consider when we are heading as humanity he is right. I think we will eventually go Meta. So for me IF=true (or highly probable it is). The more interesting question of those two is WHEN. And for that question, I will try to find answers in this article series.

Every generation has a different perception of the surrounding world. Different habits and different needs. We can’t understand our children, and I believe this is a natural process. It is natural that we are evolving as a species. Actually, this blog is all about evolution through technology. That is my belief. Technology in our life is so important that for our species this is the next evolution step. Each significant platform and tech breakthrough is changing our behaviours and pushing us to step by step eventually into Metaverse. i could talk days about how our behaviour was altered by social media, mobile devices etc. etc. I won’t since you can find plenty of articles on XRHumanity.

Year by year we are heading inevitably into virtual reality. No, it’s not completly true – we are there already. The only aspect needed to have a full immersion is a user interface which will be comfortable enough and will replace keyboards, mouses and monitors.

Let’s think about it from the helicopter perspective and talk about several aspects which I think are connected to this topic and might eventually lead to our presence in Metaverse. I will cover here in this article very briefly each of those topics, but they are too complex to cover in one go so eventually, I decided to write a separate article on each of them.:

  1. Perception of value
  2. Blockchain, NFT, cryptocurrencies
  3. Gaming industry / E-sport
  4. Technology maturity & Conclusions

1. Perception of value

This is the most prominent of those above and most interesting for me. It’s glueing them all together. The perception of value is a very intriguing topic connected strongly to who we are as human beings. How do we perceive worth? What’s valuable and what’s not? Why do we crave some items and others are obsolete for us?
The perception of value changes with generations. What is valuable for us doesn’t really matter to our kids. We are killing each other for money, gold and other precious metals and minerals. And yet… it might be the case that in the future gold will have almost 0 value. It all depends on the social agreement. Let’s get further and let’s fantasize. What will happen if we make a social agreement that virtual goods have value?… Wait they already have, right? Something which does not exist could have more value than a physical item. We tend to look too far and we don’t see what it’s happening as we speak. I will write much more about it in a separate article but there are millions of proofs telling us that we are tight together with virtual goods and their value. It’s a fact.

The shift
Since the middle of the 20th century, (so basically when the personal computers were introduced) we are shifting more towards virtual goods. Of course, the biggest breakout was January 1st, 1983 which is considered the official birthday of the Internet (debatable but let’s assume that was the day Internet had said to us “hello world”).

So let’s put the check on this topic and talk more about it in a separate article. To sum it up let’s go with the question and answer.

Question: Is the perception of value is changing with time, and do we drift towards virtual goods?

Answer: YES

2. Blockchain, NFT, cryptocurrencies

To make our perception of value more tangible we need a system that will back it up. And here comes blockchain on the white horse. I often hear people are mixing blockchain with cryptocurrencies, NFTs or other things. I’m not surprised since it’s not self-explanatory. What the blockchain is?

It’s essentially a digital ledger of transactions that is duplicated and distributed across the entire network of computer systems. Each block in the chain contains a number of transactions, and every time a new transaction occurs on the blockchain, a record of that transaction is added to every participant‚Äôs ledger/wallet. The database is known as Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT). I will write about it in detail in a separate article. But let’s answer the question:

Question: Do we have a system/tools which can make our perception of value more tied to the market? So we can invest with the hope of return.
Answer: YES

And the answer is Blockchain and NFT described below.

NFT (Non-Fungible Token)

I bet you heard that somewhere. And I bet also that your first reaction to that name was: WHAT? Non-something Token? What does it even mean?
And no matter how many explanations you will read about NFT this is what it is: the proof of ownership. A token that makes each of the digital pieces unique.
What had zero value 50 years ago now in 2022y might be very valuable. Think of it. Would you say that digital images can be worth a couple of millions? Yes, digital, physically non-existing images, like avatars made with pixel art sold for thousands of dollars?
When money comes to play people want to be sure that they have proof of ownership. We are not talking about hundreds of dollars. Not even hundreds of thousands…

The most valuable NFT (non-fungible token) in 2021y was Edward’s Snowden – Stay Free. I bet you can’t explain it to your parents – how is it that a couple of pixels can be worth so much money. On the other hand, how different this is from the virtual money in our bank accounts? It’s also a myth that we all believe and till everyone is believing in it it will prevail. If you are interested in other most valuable NFTs you can dive here: https://www.widewalls.ch/magazine/most-expensive-nfts-2021/edward-snowden-stay-free

Ross Ulbricht, Death
Stay Free by Edward Snowden.

3. Gaming industry & eSport

It seems that this element is a bit aside from the rest of them. But in my opinion, is a key element connecting each other. You can look at the numbers – year by year we have more players in the world. New generations crave interaction. Look where the money goes. Production of the high-budget movie is around 200-300 mln dollars. Do you know how much money producers of Red Dead Redemption 2 (a highly acclaimed game set in western fantasy) spend on production and marketing? If you want to find out read my next article about the state of the gaming industry and eSport.

E-sport also it’s booming and if you want to invest in something which future is definitely pointed by the advisors as a good direction. Why? Because the new generations want to play together and they want to show their skills in what they are good at. Why is it tied to Metaverse? I believe games will drive strong our purpose to be there.

Question: Do I think that the gaming industry is setting new trends and giving us the purpose to try different platforms?
Answer: Absolutely YES

4. Technology maturity. Conclusions.

And here we are. I won’t write too much in this section as it will be explained in detail in the article about technology adoption and maturity. So I will go only with the question:

Question: Are we ready to be in a virtual world like Meta and is technology mature enough?
Do I believe it will be mature enough in the next 5 years? Not at all), 10-15 years? Maybe.
Answer: NO

Conclusions

If you look at the questions and answers we have 4x YES vs 1x NO. But.. this one “NO” is so important that it’s holding us back right now. So if you ask you: If we are going META? I would say: YES, I believe we are heading there.

If you ask me: WHEN? Well.. before I answer – let’s go with the details first and I will end the series of articles with I hope interesting conclusion.

So stay tuned. Comprehensive article on point one – Perception of Value coming soon.

All articles on this topic:

  1. Are we going meta? (1/5)
  2. Perception of value (2/5)
  3. Gaming and eSport (3/5)
  4. Blockchain, NFT, crypto (4/5)
  5. Technology maturity (5/5)
Written by
Bartek Rozbicki
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