“A construction of virtual reality intended to replace the internet, integrate virtual life with real life, and create endless new toys for everyone-you can do almost anything you can think of. » Mark Zuckerberg, the boss of Meta (Facebook) knows how to make us dream of his future metaverse. But, concretely, how can this happen?
Try the metaverse. OK but how? With the exception of the United States and Canada, it is not yet possible to access Horizon Worlds from Meta. But I have at least the basics: a virtual reality (VR) headset. There are different models made by many brands: Oculus (Meta), HTC, Sony, Valve… In this case, I got an Oculus Quest 2, that is the most popular model at the moment. It sold for € 349.99 and was manufactured by… Meta, which bought the company in 2014. Mark Zuckerberg’s group is trying to mark the entire route on Web3, which is announced as the new Internet. A world where today’s Internet behemoths (Meta, Google, etc.) should no longer reign supreme. But, so far, they are the most invested in this imaginary Web3.
Oculus Quest 2: total immersion
I have a virtual reality headset, so it remains to be seen what it will do. After watching some VR videos, I understood the principle. Experience roller coasters, Everest expeditions, space exploration aboard the ISS… There are many possibilities to experience immersion in virtual worlds.
Used to climb game The Ascension 2, now I am learning to use the controllers supplied with the helmet… and I understand how easy it is to lie down while sitting without moving under your couch. The sensations are very real when I miss holding on and falling a few meters off an alpine wall. Worse: my arms hurt from the climb, because I paralyzed my muscles with imaginary grips. Dipping into the question, no doubt, it worked perfectly. But what about this virtual world that is the metaverse?
Alone on the beach, abandoned
In the virtual interface of the headset, I saw an app called Villa: Metaverse Creation & NFT Collaboration Platform. I downloaded, I installed. First surprise: to access it, I had to pay $ 9.99 for a month. The promise? A luxurious metaverse with a personal villa by the sea, to decorate with NFT paintings and where to receive friends by the pool. The (virtual) reality? A kind of Second lifebut not at the height of its popularity, in 2006. No, rather a Second life for now, that is … empty.
First of all, it’s very nice. The problem is when do you start getting closer. The villa sits on a sort of flying carpet over a fine sandy beach. The rooms were nicely decorated or completely empty, with no activity or almost… We walked around quickly. Only the giant aquarium in the center of the house is fun for two seconds. But this metaverse has a choice: to fly over the elements and act like Superman in the air. Once again, after two minutes of fun, we remained unsatisfied. It’s nice and comfortable to move around in a virtual universe, but if you wander aimlessly, interest is limited.
Especially since the decorations around are made of cardboard. Walking along the water or approaching the surrounding hill is not a good idea. The closer you get, the more pixelated the image is. And if we “enter” the decoration, then there is complete darkness. As for the “friends” to be invited, not an avatar in the universe of my many connections. So no one would at least get to know each other, even the less inviting near my brazier by the pool. Not really a “dolce villa” like I thought, like a cartoon movie set. And I, alone on the beach, was left. In short, this is probably the worst $ 9.99 spend in my life. I did well to create an alert on my phone to remember to unsubscribe in less than 30 days.
To attack Roblox
New strategy: I launched a Google search – Web 2.0 is very useful for that. On request “How to test the metaverse”, never a French answer. On the other hand, I saw more tracks in English. This is what I advise to come and look at the side of the online game Roblox. Join us on this popular platform with infinite variety of immersive 3D worlds created directly by the community. Roblox has grown significantly in recent months, from 32.6 million daily active users in 2020 to almost 50 million in 180 countries by 2021. Today it has 230 million and its value is almost 20 billion dollars.
Originally dedicated to children, Roblox gradually turned to a mature audience and attracted more brands: Gucci, Ralph Lauren, Nike, Chipotle, Kellogg’s, Samsung … The list of communications operations and other marketing activities continues to grow. The Nikeland space thus attracted about 6.7 million people from 224 different countries between its launch in November 2021 and March 2022.
For connection, there is no direct connection to the helmet. You will need to go through a computer and the Oculus Link software to display it on the headset. I have to create my avatar or choose one that is ready. If, from the point of view of immersion, I remain unsatisfied – the design of the Roblox universe is too small to say the least – at least there will be people to talk to. Roblox encourages interactions and discussion. Milky_Way_56, SwanStone22 or even AwsomeKitten crossed my path with hours spent walking the different universes. It’s hard to know who exactly is behind each profile. Male or female. American, Indian, French. Young or old… Everyone creates their own character. This is the whole principle of metaverses. And that is the whole wealth of Roblox : a wide variety of imaginary worlds and atmospheres. In addition, about 7 million developers participated in the creation Robloxon this different platform.
There is no question, however, to settle: real estate speculation in these virtual worlds is very real and prices are completely delusional. However, I am a homeless metaverse …
What do we do in the metaverse, other than wandering by chance? Even if these same worlds in their youth, there is much to do. For example, the yoga brand Alo (acronym for WIND, earth, seasie air, land, sea) offers a “sanctuary” to Roblox . On this island, it is possible to practice mindfulness in daily guided meditation sessions, but also to take free yoga classes. I installed my “real” yoga mat in my living room and found myself, through the Oculus Quest 2 virtual reality headset, in the most comforting environment. Sound bath and light lapping in the waves, I go to the Alo Store to pick up my yoga mat – virtual nowadays – before joining the class area.
The posture of the triangle, of the tree… Once each position is “found” in the system according to the estimated position of his body thanks to the levers, it can be very easy to forge it in a simple combination of fingers. We are happy to cheat if we want to… Conclusion? Watching a YouTube video, classes of fitness services like Apple Fitness + or even a session with a particular instructor in the video is equally interesting, but let’s say the experience has merit that exists .
Alo Island has been visited more than 32 million times since its launch. But it has to be said that the brand also offers a quest to find the signs that allow you to win gifts, which is very true.
Recruitment, insurance agent, concert, luxury brand fall
Brands and large groups are stepping up metaverse initiatives. Adidas Originals has already sold the NFTs in December 2021. Unique tokens, each sold for 0.2 ether, or about 700 euros at the time, will allow access to “physical” clothing collections. In Axa, an insurance agent from the north of France has chosen to offer its services to its physical agency in Bully-les-Mines (Pas-de-Calais) and to the metaverse Gather since April. The artists also tried out the virtual concert experience at Horizon Worlds. Las, David Guetta, Young Thug or The Chainsmoker didn’t appeal to people. Probably due to the lack of enough users of this platform at that time (end of December 2021), because the concerts were organized by video game Fortniteby rapper Travis Scott gathered several million participants.
So, this month in the metaverse? To say I’m not satisfied is a bit of an understatement. As with the beginnings of many social networks in their time, you have to accept passing a laborious course to finally get to know the essence of the new universes and understand their interest. By creating links to other avatars, by mastering codes and usage, by taking advantage of the good plans offered by brands that have invested heavily in the metaverse “to be seen”, there is no doubt that the vision will improve. Maybe I’m still addicted, like now I can’t do without Instagram or Twitter. For now, I’ll start by working on the look of my avatar… and someone told me I still have plenty of time to refine it.