🧊 CorpVerse Series #1. Consumer Metaverse. The Hype

The discussion around the Metaverse goes up and down, sofa experts battle Zuckerberg's sand castle, and consumers are afraid of the coming future of the "Black Mirror" series.

🧊 CorpVerse Series #1. Consumer Metaverse. The Hype

The discussion around the Metaverse goes up and down, sofa experts battle Zuckerberg's sand castle, and consumers are afraid of the coming future of the "Black Mirror" series. Consultants are confused in their testimony failing to distinguish the Metaverse, practical metaverses, physical multiverse, Marvel's cinematic universe that also has a multiverse of madness inside, Disney's ambition to march towards the Metaverse, and Mask's claims that we live in the simulation, thus in the Metaverse. 🤯

🔮Insight. Emerging Technologies Hype

Company leaders explore the Metaverse theme to assess potential, impact, and key scenarios for the new technology stack.

According to Gartner's Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies[1], the Metaverse just began its ascend to the top, forecasting reaching the "plateau of productivity" around 2023. For those who promoted the Metaverse and web3 topics in 2021-2022, this is not a very optimistic forecast, but it also does not mean that the future is being postponed.

Some people believe that we are already in the early stages of its development: at least they claim to have been building it for several years and call for joining their own "metaverse". To many startups, this seems like the right strategy: without waiting for a common broad agreement on the definition of the concept they try to take off on a wave of hype and common interest by declaring their yesterday's activity under a new umbrella.

Other experts are watching with satisfaction and some malice the ongoing fall of Mark’s brainchild[2], stocking up on popcorn.🍿So far (in 2022) it’s still not clear: Mark is just hyping, trying to increase the capitalization of his group of companies and get rich on the expectations of investors; he is a great visionary who has foreseen "the next big thing” and wants to lead a promising development; he reacts on melting ice under his feet and vanishing advertising revenue and tries to stake out at least some important topic for himself (FOMO); or…

One thing is clear: since your corporate leaders do not know squat about the Metaverse, they seek advice from their CTO/CDO/C..., innovation and research labs leads, and other tech guys and invite outside experts and gurus to showcase their slides, case studies, and link collections. What an amazing time for consultants and rogues! 😶‍🌫️

  1. In August 2022 Gartner added the "Metaverse" concept to its annual "Hype Cycle for Emerging Tech" report as a technology promising to reach the productivity plateau in "more than 10 years". In other words, it's not coming in the nearest future. In their report, the researchers refer to the metaverse as "a collective virtual 3D shared space, created by the convergence of virtually enhanced physical and digital reality." ↩︎

  2. The Wall Street Journey summed up the interim results of Mark Zuckerberg's "success" in the Metaverse development: “Most visitors to Horizon Worlds generally don’t return after the first month; an empty world is a sad world”. Internal company documents show that "the transition grappling with glitchy technology, uninterested users, and a lack of clarity about what it will take to succeed". ↩︎

🔮Insight. The first consumer contact

Company employees explore the Metaverse theme through the consumer perspective: entertainment and social scenarios.

Your employees dive into the Metaverse outside of the company. They are buying VR helmets for Christmas 🎅 (or New Year 🎄) and as birthday presents for themselves and their children to immerse themselves into the Wonderful World of Disney Zuckerberg.

Market analysts say that in the 2021/2022 season, more than 2 million devices were sold from Meta, by the mid of 2022 eclipsing the 14.8 million units [1]. The next generation of devices is just around the corner, and sales estimates exceed the symbolic 20 million units[2]. And this is only a part of the VR devices available on the market.

Further through mixed reality, we move on to augmented one, mainly mobile AR.

People, you know, continue catching Pokémons (and some policemen do it instead of catching robbers[3]). Snapchat offers to check yourself in the "Metaverse" using an avatar filter[4].

So it might turn out that employees are more aware of the Metaverse than employers. Keep it in mind.

  1. In the summer of 2022, rather optimistic sales statistics for Oculus Quest 2 were released. Meta's virtual reality helmet became the best-selling VR device, showing a growth of 242% in the first quarter of the year. Since its launch in October 2020, the device has sold 14.8 units. Portal GamingBolt notes that "given the headset’s solid library of games and its ease of use and access, its success doesn’t come as a surprise". ↩︎

  2. According to the corporation's internal roadmap, writes The Verge, Meta plans to release smart glasses with a display alongside a neural interface smartwatch (or bracelet) in 2025. In parallel, the next generation of helmets is expected to launch around 2024: the new Quest 3 with mixed reality features. It is expected that the new device will be more expensive than the current Quest 2. There are also plans for a more "affordable" version of the device, into which they will try to "pack the biggest punch we can at the most attractive price point in the VR consumer market." Meanwhile, sales of the current "hit" Quest 2 slowed down with 20 million units sold by March 2023. ↩︎

  3. The BBC reports, two police officers in Lon Angeles, USA, have been fired for chasing Pokémon instead of catching muggers. "The pair were parked nearby when a radio call came in for officers to respond to a shop robbery. But a review of their in-car camera footage showed they had been playing Pokémon Go and chose to pursue a nearby Snorlax - a relatively rare catch - instead of providing back-up." ↩︎

  4. In 2021, at the height of the metaverse hype, Snapchat released an augmented reality avatar filter that makes the user look like a Sims character. Which roughly corresponds, writes Inventiva, to "what you’d look like in the metaverse." This is not the first such experiment of the company, it has previously released “Disneyfy” filters for animals and people that turn them into cartoon characters. ↩︎

⚗️Experiment. AR and VR as a forerunner of the Metaverse

Early experiments on using AR/VR solutions for corporate up-skilling and scenarios requiring 3D modeling or remote augmented presence.

Leading organizations that previously launched AR / VR labs continue to experiment with AR / VR / 3D for corporate training and upskilling[1], as well as in scenarios that are quite obvious today, requiring 3D modeling or remote presence. This allows them to stay on the edge and train their meta-muscles. But there is also a caveat: they broadcast that AR / VR and the Metaverse are about the same.

As a result, when CEOs of such companies spend an hour or so of their life on Quest 2, it is not surprising to hear later a public statement that the Metaverse is years ahead and not ready yet. (We agree on the conclusion, but not on the arguments.)

  1. TechCrunch highlights a Swiss startup Loft Dynamics that raised $20 million for creating a virtual realiry simulation for helicopter pilots. "Budding pilots can engage in realistic training scenarios, including night-time flying and carrying out proficiency checks, with force-feedback to simulate system failures and other issues." The system got authorization from European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), so pilots can also now receive training credits for time spent in a simulator. ↩︎

🚸Risk. Metaverse is not a risk

Metaverse does not pose a threat; it is just yet another hype topic. #metahype

Notwithstanding numerous speculations – and some "experts" seriously claim that Mark Zuckerberg’s metaverse is a Zionist conspiracy to convert all humans into manageable computers – on a massive scale, the Metaverse is not perceived as a threat. Definitely, a much lesser threat than we face every day walking on the street. It's just another marketing hype term.

In this series of posts, I share pieces from the Corporate Metaverse report (v2) written by Constantin Kichinsky and based on the original research on the topic done by Constantin Kichinsky, Aleksei Kalenchuk & Ekaterina Filatova in 2022.