Do you think the Metaverse already exists?

Exactly 20 years ago, I was preparing, without knowing it, to contribute moderately to 2 of the 6 bricks of the Metaverse: I finished my studies as a telecom engineer and on March 6, 2001, I started my internship at the Australian National University where I would explore the boundaries of Virtual Reality which was already intriguing to me at the time. Since then, my common thread has never stopped being closely associated with digital.

A few months ago, I published on Harvard UK Business Review an article detailing the aggregation of the three components of the Metaverse heart.

Since the Facebook announcements, a lot of ink has flowed on the subject. Most of the published articles and reports promote many fantasies. Through a series of articles based on an in -depth study we conducted at Metaverse, Arthur D. Little offers you to transcend fantasies, to help you see better through this fog technology, and etc. help you make the right business decisions!

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This article aims to provide an answer to the question “Does the Metaverse Already Exist?” To answer this, it is important to know what we are talking about. So we offer you a definition and we will be happy to know your definition or how you would like to ask us.

In the 90s, Internet users were prisoners of their access provider

If I think of the Internet in the mid-90s, I think of the mythical voice of the 56k modem. I’m also thinking of AOL and the famous “you’ve got mail” (and I’m sure some of you are thinking of the original English version 🙂). If connected to the internet through AOL, it is possible to access a whole host of mysterious things. I especially remember “cats” – which I pronounce in French (meow!). Unfortunately this Internet door is really just a door to a proto-Internet surrounded by impassable walls. A Walled Garden, with no paths to other gardens. An Internet bubble, not connected to other bubbles. Unable to exchange information or communicate with other fenced gardens such as Compuserve, Prodigy etc.

By the end of the 90s, it became clear that the web browser should allow communication and exchange of information with any user, regardless of their Internet Service Provider (ISP), or Internet Service Provider ISP. in English. Appliances have become better in fenced gardens and the internet has become interoperable (to some extent).

Metaverse (tomorrow) is at the convergence of a set of proto-metaverses (current) or not

Metaverse was in the same state as the internet in the mid -90s. Today there is not one Metaverse, but a whole set of proto-metaverses. Metaverse embryos with wall. Most companies, such as Roblox, Epic, Nvidia, Microsoft, Decentraland and Meta, that seek to improve Metaverse are actually developing non -interoperable proprietary platforms. This means that it is now not possible to exchange virtual assets or simply communicate from one platform to another. As long as there is interoperability, there is no Metaverse – and we won’t discuss this critical uncertainty in depth in a future article.

However, despite this embryonic state of the Metaverse, it will be interesting to look at the meanings and long-term vision that exist in these companies. Despite the diversity of what they sell today (and even the diversity of the industries in which they come from) there is a strong commonality:

So how do you define Metaverse?

First of all you will notice that I use the term “the Metaverse”; and it means 2 things. First of all, we use the definite “the” to underline the fact that in speaking of the Metaverse, a great deal of interoperability is required to leave the time-walled garden / proto-metaverses. Then, just as we use the term Web or Internet in French like English, we use the English term Metaverse to emphasize the fact that it is the proper name given to this thing.

Here is the definition we submitted to you for Metaverse:

Metaverse is the future version of the Internet that further blurs the boundaries between reality and virtuality, the aggregation of immersive spaces, social and collaborative experiences, and the economy of the creator.

“The future version of the Internet” emphasizes the fact that this is a new evolution of the Internet and not a paradigm shift or a particular private platform. “Who is more proud of the lines between reality and virtuality” aims to emphasize what we call reality and is increasingly augmented by layers of digital information. In addition, our definition seeks to emphasize the fact that the Metaverse is at the heart of a large gathering. Therefore, the future version of the Internet:

  1. Be spatialized and more immersive, and take advantage of the 3D environment from the game and simulation and digital models from the industry (digital twins and so on).
  2. Create more and more social experiences and facilitate long -distance collaborative work.
  3. Add benefits to producer economy[1] (user -generated content) and market platforms that primarily sell physical and digital assets.

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What do you think of this definition? Is this consistent with what we have observed around you? Does this apply to your industry context?

In subsequent articles, we will expand on the three columns above and we will present the bricks that make up The Metaverse to identify the obstacles that can be overcome to allow the Metaverse to arrive. Finally, we offer you the concrete axes to capture the real business opportunities today.

[1] The Creator Economy is an economy accelerated by applications and platforms that allow creators to get us out of their creations (virtual and real).

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