Did you know that Travis Scott played a live concert to 12.3 million viewers in April 2020? And he did it while the first corona wave was crashing over the world. To the US rapper’s credit, it must be mentioned that the performance took place in the video game “Fortnite“, to which viruses and unpleasant aerosols had no access.
What could be seen as a friendly gesture for Lockdown-frustrated fans, some see as a harbinger of the Metaverse. Even Metaverse believers don’t really know what exactly it will look like. It can best be imagined as a virtual world or many virtual worlds that are seamlessly connected with each other.
In this second reality, we should not only be able to fight as, say, a Marvel hero against an adversary dressed up as Batman or visit hip-hop concerts, as in “Fortnite”, but also visit museums, sights and amusement parks.
One should be able to work there, manufacture products and sell them. In principle, everyone could be able to do everything there that one can do in reality – maybe even a little more.
Like so many ideas that tech tycoons dream about at night, the concept of the Metaverse comes from a 1990s science fiction novel, Snow Crash by author Neal Stephenson. Rumour has it that the book is about as popular in Silicon Valley as the Holy Scriptures are in the Bible Belt.
Of course, one could dismiss all this as the pipe dreams of billionaires who have more money than sense. But that would fail to recognise how seriously the idea is sometimes pursued: Facebook, Sony, Microsoft, Apple and Epic Games, which developed the game “Fortnite”, are currently investing billions in the development of universal 3D worlds.
Decentraland and Roblox show what the metaverse could look like. Some worlds that give us a foretaste of the metaverse already exist: Decentraland issues its own cryptocurrency MANA, residents can create a world there entirely according to their imagination – provided they have the necessary small change. For properties in Decentraland, you have to shell out MANA worth several hundred thousand dollars. The auction house Sotheby’s has an art gallery there, and you can try your luck in the local casino. By the way, real croupiers work there for real money – as avatars who are paid in MANA.
Roblox is a platform where users can create their own worlds and computer games. The company’s main source of revenue is that players buy virtual items for their adventures. That the Roblox world could also be suitable as a workplace is shown by the company’s top management, which held its business meetings on the platform during the pandemic. Craig Donato, CBO of Roblox, revealed to the New York Times that back in the real office he had to constantly remind himself that he could no longer behave like his Roblox character there.
I was like: “Gosh, I’ve got to be careful not to jump out the window here.”
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