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This coming environment is best viewed as the deepest form of extended reality where our physical bodies are digitally cloned, our senses saturated, and our conception of “real” hazy. That said, Zuckerberg and others have made it clear that it will also include the use of augmented reality and even smartphones to enhance our reality with Pokemon Go-style online additions – a computer screen and keyboard that we only see through AR glasses, for example.
Admittedly, we are still far from reproducing VR cultural references like Free Guy, Ready Player One or The Matrix. During the pandemic, I joined Microsoft’s VR-hosted virtual version of the Burning Man music festival on Altspace, and it showed me that the number of people gathered at the same time always hits a limit before individuals be diverted to other parallel environments.
The best indications we already have of the more immersive metaverse are virtual worlds like Roblox, Sandbox, Animal Crossing and Fortnite, where singer Ariana Grande toured and rapper Travis Scott performed a concert that drew over 12 million. of attendees.
Audiences are already prepared via performances like these to transition comfortably and embody a deeper metaverse. This undoubtedly makes the metaverse controversial. Where some see interconnected worlds of endless experience and freedom, others fear a digital dystopia where we are seduced, amazed and manipulated into the glass cages of a subtle and seductive new form of capitalism.
Read more: A killer app for the metaverse? Fill it with AI avatars of ourselves – so we don’t have to go there
Either way, just as the metaverse reboots our understanding of “reality,” it opens up new avenues to monetize and reimagine consumerism. Companies like Microsoft see the magnitude of the transition and recognize its potential strategic value.
Epic Games, which owns Fortnite, whose Unreal Engine is a platform for others to create virtual worlds for free, is also leading the same charge. CEO Tim Sweeney recently spoke about working with automakers to allow potential customers to test drive vehicles and have film companies shoot content on them.
Meanwhile, Nike is one of many apparel companies to lay claim to the metaverse, having bought virtual shoemaker RTKFT. And Disney talks about “borderless storytelling in our own Disney metaverse.”
As for the Activision takeover, most of its biggest titles are multiplayer and already focused on esports (online competition). Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, Starcraft, and Overwatch are all related competitive platforms. Yet these are still largely played through 2D screens rather than VR; the prize would be for users to seamlessly switch between VR versions of these games within a Microsoft metaverse.
To understand the financial opportunity, World of Warcraft provided a prime example. This is a game where you have an avatar, a list of daily tasks, and you can mine resources to craft in-game items to sell for gold. Long before bitcoin, manufacturers figured out a way to set an exchange rate against real money, and players were able to sell items and gold online for cash through purchases. PayPal.
These transactions always involved an element of trust, but technologies such as cryptocurrencies and NFTs (non-fungible tokens) overcome this problem. Games like Axie Infinity (not owned by Activision) have already shown the potential of buying and selling many in-game items as NFTs, and other big game companies like Square Enix and Sega are moving on. in the same direction.
Imagine every vanity item in Call of Duty or World of Warcraft converted to NFT, perhaps with Micrsoft taking a cut of the deals – that’s a huge opportunity, and in-game advertising in immersive worlds is another. With such monetization potential in games, Microsoft’s takeover of Activision looks set to put the company at the heart of it.
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.
The authors do not work for, consult, own stock, or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and have disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.