The opinions expressed by Entrepreneur members are their own.
Metaverse: an immersive virtual world in which we can interact with each other using smartphones, PCs, special glasses or virtual reality headsets. A digital world that, until recently, generated a lot of buzz around the opportunities it could provide for businesses and consumers alike.
The Metaverse emerged with many investment and earning opportunities where users could purchase a wide range of digital goods and services for their avatars and their own virtual experience. Starting from branded accessories and ending with cars in virtual stores and even the opportunity to buy virtual land. The Brooklyn Nets of the NBA made sports history as the first professional sports team to broadcast a game in the metaverse they created.Netaverse.”
Big early bets were also placed on the Metaverse. Meta has spent mind-boggling amounts of money on their game of the metaverse. Reality Labs, the division of Meta that handles Metaverse projects, recorded a cumulative loss of nearly $24 billion for 2021 and 2022.
On the subject: What is the metaverse and why is it important for entrepreneurs?
Not as popular as expected
But as the hype for the Metaverse rose (around the same time that Mark Zuckerberg was making big announcements that in the future Facebook would be connected to an exciting 3D world and rebrand the company as The Meta), interest waned equally. Evidence of this can be seen by looking at Google’s search traffic for Metaverse, which has declined significantly in recent months, returning to pre-announcement levels.
For several years, tech and entertainment giants have invested heavily in creating this virtual world, only to find that most of us don’t have much of an appetite for the Metaverse. It looks like we’re much more grounded in reality than the tech leaders thought. Retail and air travel statistics confirm that we are returning to the real world after the Covid-19 lockdown. Most people still don’t understand what the Metaverse is, how it works, and what it means to them, which can be described as a pretty significant failure given the massive investment and media coverage that the space has received.
Meta is actively reducing its operations in the virtual world. Disney And Microsoft both are closing their divisions of the Metaverse. Apple appears to have almost given up on its VR headset, while Tinder has announced that it will be dropping its plans for dating in the virtual world.
What was once a potentially exciting business and investment opportunity has turned into a terribly expensive gamble that so far seems to have nearly failed. The Metaverse is expected to turn into a great corporate crash, at least in the short term, with billions of dollars of investment at risk and reputations affected.
Tech innovators and leaders tend to think in terms of the hype cycle: a rollercoaster ride from concept to mainstream adoption. At this point, it appears that huge amounts of investor money have been spent on a technology whose potential has yet to be realized—and may never be realized.
More recently, Mark Zuckerberg announced to the market Meta’s renewed focus on AI, which could likely be a sign that he is silently killing the Metaverse project and abandoning the massive investment he has made in the technology. And while Zuckerberg has pointed out that the Metaverse is a long-term investment for the Meta, and vowed to tone down the Metaverse’s rhetoric, the gamble is becoming more and more of corporate hubris.
Related: Why Your Business Needs to Prepare for the Metaverse
The Metaverse is out, and AI has arrived
Generative AI stole the thunder of the Metaverse. Currently, the real OpenAI ChatGPT application is hard to compete with, and rightly so. It has an immediate and very real and meaningful application that can be extremely beneficial to individuals and businesses. It has a significant impact on the bottom line across the world and is not speculative like the Metaverse.
AI also goes way beyond ChatGPT. At the moment it can be divided into four areas:
- Automated intelligence: Automates manual routine and non-routine tasks.
- Auxiliary Intelligence: helps people complete certain tasks faster and sometimes better.
- Extended Intelligence: helps people make better decisions.
- Autonomous Intelligence: automates decision-making processes without human intervention.
Whether it’s machine learning, smart apps and devices, digital assistants or autonomous vehicles, AI has very real applications in the global economy right now and also in the future, helping it avoid being labeled a fad. As a result, it is seen as a safer and less risky investment bet.
What needs to be changed in order for the Metaverse to recover?
For the Metaverse to have any chance of success at some point in the future, consumer education must be at the forefront. Unravel the mystery of the virtual world and its applications for consumers and businesses alike.
The Metaverse is not going to just die in the bud overnight. Over time, we will stop being asked to spend time in virtual worlds using fancy avatars just to chat with friends or hang out on some digital land we bought. Virtual spaces will become much more natural and realistic over time. And that’s the critical ingredient: time.
I think with its development we will see its wider application, perhaps in a narrower and more focused way – probably for short bursts, that is, for really immersive experiences such as product launches, concerts, meetings, education and training, communication and much more. , not the inaccurate or unrealistic notion that we will somehow spend most of our waking days in the virtual world.
RELATED: 5 Metaverse Trends That Will Shape the Next Decade
Is the metaverse dead?
Investments in the Metaverse are only as valuable as the demand for the corresponding technologies. When the hype was at its peak, one could make an argument about the value of investing (however risky) in the virtual world, but when that hype dries up and the players leave, those investments quickly become worthless.
Although Meta has confirmed that it remains in the spotlight for the long term and major corporations such as Siemens, Proctor and Gamble and others use Metaverse technology for various applications related to their business, no one has yet presented this magical application or experience. yet, probably because the hardware needed to achieve this does not yet exist.
So the Metaverse is dead? I don’t think so. Anyway, not yet. It’s too early to call. It’s not that the real world has returned, and the online world has remained in the past, but that they will develop in parallel. It’s not that the online universe will disappear, but that it may have reached its limit – for now. If you have an appetite for significant risk-based investments, a passion for cutting-edge technology, and stakes that are wildly speculative, then you probably have a corner you can explore in the Metaverse, but get advice and tread very carefully.