The Metaverse Hype is Real But Its Reality is a Myth
What is hype and what is a Myth in 2022?
Water cooler moment on Zoom in 2022, what is the Metaverse? Nobody can give a good answer. Check out my Poll if the “Metaverse” is a myth here.
Facebook tried to corner the VR market for years, but nothing came of consumer VR worlds. Apple’s AR glasses might be as much as $2,000 and come out delayed in 2023. China’s Baidu says its Metaverse is about 6 years away, or in 2028.
As technology enthusiasts we’ve already suffered a lot with BigTech hype myths. There was blockchain, VR, crypto and now some of those things are called Web 3.0 and the Metaverse. Different names, same myths.
When Facebook acquired VR leader Occulus Rift in 2014, they made us think VR worlds were just a few years away. Nearly 10 years later the Metaverse appears to be a narrative BigTech has orchestrated for profit and further centralization of consumer data.
It wouldn't just collect your clicks and online behavior, but track your eyes, your body and your facial expressions of experiences you have online, whether at work or at play. The Metaverse is also a place where BigTech will consolidate their dominance in Surveillance Capitalism creating a virtual online dystopia.
Metaverse Hype is Through the Roof in Early 2022
Technology and business News must have been bought to create so many articles on the Metaverse.
In a reveres psychology hack, No one knows what the metaverse is and that’s perhaps also what’s driving all the hype. We like to predict the future, and if BigTech tells us that’s our future, companies like Facebook, Microsoft, Google and even Web 3.0 enthusiasts and people who are able to hold a lot of Bitcoin, that’s what we the public believe.
BigTech Will Centralize the Metaverse
BigTech is disrupting more and more industries with profitability and cash piles that are leading to more consolidation in American Capitalism. By the time the supposed Metaverse finally arrives, it will be too late, they will have already created a winner-takes-all ecosystem of just a few company factions.
Look at these acquisition and trends, and extrapolate into the future.
BigTech already posses the financial resources to attract the best talent in the world, have moats in nearly every domain they are diversified in and work actively together to strengthen their duopolies and monopolies.
If the Metaverse turns out to be real, and not a myth, it will be a story of incredible centralization of power in technology. It could mean the end of Capitalism as we know it.
Microsoft, Alphabet and Amazon all announced more acquisitions in 2021 than any other year in the past decade, according to Dealogic. As Microsoft is buying out the gaming industry, Apple and Google can afford to also buy nearly anyone and anything they want. Their revenue growth and free-cash is growing at incredible rates.
The Metaverse Gimmick of Facebook and Microsoft
Everyone is talking about the Metaverse, and 95% of these articles are positive and buy into the hype and myth. Phil Libin, the founder and former CEO of Evernote, says the metaverse is nothing more than a gimmick and most of the technology credited with being part of the metaverse has been around for years.
The companies that have the most to gain from the Metaverse narrative are Facebook and Microsoft. Ads and WFM software are the keys here. Facebook even calls itself Meta, as if to make the myth more believable.
The metaverse has become one of the buzziest words in corporate America, with companies from Google to Nike to Ralph Lauren to Walmart all looking to plant a flag. Facebook and YouTube and even the Chinese Government want to get into NFTs, in a big way. NFTs make for a fun story, but they won’t build the Metaverse.
The Metaverse is a cool gimmick, it’s impressive in its false promises. Silicon Valley has a track record of making false and outrageous promises, a bit like Elon Musk. Mark Zuckerberg wants you to believe in his Metaverse, it’s sales and marketing and PR stunts, acts of desperation to maintain dominance.
Bad Products, Poor Innovation and the Search for Long-Term Supremacy
You can call it the metaverse, the mirror world, the AR Cloud, the Magicverse, the Spatial internet, or Live Maps, but one thing is for certain, it’s already been here in many of its supposed forms. It’s been pretty terrible for a long time. NFT platforms doesn’t make it a better experience, neither will companies like Facebook, Microsoft or Google ruling over it.
The Metaverse is also giving BigTech an excuse to illegally leverage its financial power over the rest of society and other industries. Microsoft recently cited the metaverse as one of the reasons for its $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard. When BigTech is able to “buy its way into” or create hype in mainstream society about something it’s already failing in (think Facebook and VR), it’s a bit of a dangerous kind of misinformation.
BigTech also knows that if it doesn’t create a better universal layer of the internet, China and ChinaTech will leap ahead. The Metaverse might be their imaginary “firewall” against China who are becoming more innovative in consumer apps and other aspects of AI that fuels the internet.
Google the term metaverse and you’ll find several definitions. Wikipedia defines it as a collective virtual shared space, created by the convergence of virtually enhanced physical reality and physically persistent virtual space, including the sum of all virtual worlds, augmented reality, and the Internet. The truth is weird, if the Metaverse had been a good idea it would already exist.
A Metaverse based on a BCI (brain computer interface) would make more sense than anything mixed reality, AR or VR related. But as slowly as we are going in the era of BigTech to maintain their dominance, we’ll likely still be using smart phones and surfing the legacy internet even ten or fifteen years from now.
Every week, it seems, another company is planting its flag in the metaverse, scrambling to figure out how to make money in this next digital frontier. Yet Executives and companies have a poor understanding of even how to scale in this hypothetical universe or next-stage of the internet.
When the Metaverse is as vague a construct as Web 3.0, we have a problem. Bitcoin and VR came to us around the same time and it’s hard to argue they have changed the world much since 2009 or 2014. The Metaverse might be an indication that BigTech is aggressively working together trying to keep their moats alive in a changing internet paradigm.
I’ll be writing more Op-Eds about business, technology and the Metaverse on Sublink. Thanks for reading!