Is the #metaverse just around the corner?

quartz metaverse

‘SEATTLE — Philip Rosedale wants to build the Metaverse, the virtual reality experience depicted in the Neal Stephenson’s 1992 novel Snow Crash so many years ago. His first-generation attempt to do so was Second Life, the virtual world created by his former company Linden Lab…’

This article in Quartz sparked my interest because I actually tried Second Life, twice. The first time was some years ago when it was at the peak of its ‘buzz’. The second time was only last year. Both times were a disappointment, but perhaps that’s because I was evaluating the experience from the viewpoint of a gamer. To me, the Second Life graphics were ugly and clunky, the movement was clunky, the ‘crafting’ was ‘too hard’, and the whole thing just felt second best instead of immersive. But I did like the idea behind the experience – i.e. to be able to do in a virtual world everything you could do in the real one [shades of Innerscape, anyone?].

Sadly, I suspect Rosedale’s implementation of a metaverse will be just as clunky as the implementation of Second Life. But again, that’s not to say that someone won’t get it right.

Will that be within the next 20 years?

Honestly, I don’t think so. Technology takes leaps and bounds, and breaks out in unexpected areas – think mobile phone vs computer – but there is a world of difference between being able to produce an alpha grade prototype and creating the kind of technology that is as commonplace as the light switch. Yet that is what we will need if we are to stitch together the whole digital world into a metaverse.

Negatives aside, however, good on Rosedale for thinking big. You can find the complete Quartz article here:

https://wordpress.com/read/post/feed/26908997/847472368

cheers

Meeks

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About acflory

I am the kind of person who always has to know why things are the way they are so my interests range from genetics and biology to politics and what makes people tick. For fun I play online mmorpgs, read, listen to a music, dance when I get the chance and landscape my rather large block. Work is writing. When a story I am working on is going well I'm on cloud nine. On bad days I go out and dig big holes... View all posts by acflory

19 responses to “Is the #metaverse just around the corner?

  • drewdog2060drewdog2060

    Do you have any concerns as regards the day (if, indeed it ever arrives) when the virtual becomes almost (if not identical) with the real? I mean we already have people who abuse drugs and VR could be an extremely powerful drug. The person who has a difficult time in the real world might well seek solace in the virtual. My instincts are libertarian (with a relatively small l). I do, however still worry. Kevin

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    • acflory

      Hi Kevin, and the simple answer is ‘yes’. I believe the metaverse, or whatever it ends up being called, will be a massively disruptive influence because it’s that already, albeit on a very small scale. I’ve played mmos for almost 15 years and experienced first-hand the compulsion to ‘stay just a bit longer’. One more quest, one more dungeon, one more something and suddenly the player has pulled an alnighter. So the behaviour pattern is already there, which makes the problem pretty much inevitable.

      The thing that does excite me though, as a sci-fi writer, is the way in which society will adjust to and accommodate this new world order. If nothing else, it will be interesting. 🙂

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      • drewdog2060drewdog2060

        Thanks for your response. I guess even before the metaverse arose one had people addicted to premium rate chat lines (one still reads stories of people spending huge amounts to participate in virtual sex and this is, I am sure moving rapidly from the telephone to the internet). I agree with you, it will certainly be interesting. Kevin

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        • Mr. Merveilleux

          Certainly true; but there’s a difference between then (chat-line) and now (internet.)
          Back in the day, a person who spent hours on the phone was considered ‘odd’. Now spending all day communicating with people we’ve never met on the internet is considered normal. That not only opens the door, but masks unproductive activities to a tremendous degree.

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        • acflory

          The unexpected thing, for me at least, is that people are on the internet via a phone rather than a computer of some sort. I guess that’s the convenience factor at work. Which is one reason I’m not convinced things like the Oculus Rift will take off with the general public. It’s too intrusive. Of course the one sure thing about the future is that no one can forecast it accurately.

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        • drewdog2060drewdog2060

          You make a good point about the internet. I guess if one communicates for hours with another person, for example on a dating site and that communication leads to a relationship which provides loving stability (or fun depending on what one is looking for) then that activity is, in fact productive. If, however one is becoming addicted to the online life and it causes illness then that is, obviously a bad thing.

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        • acflory

          Couldn’t agree more. One of the predictions I made in my Innerscape story was that the sex industry would be an early adopter of virtual reality and that it’s needs would drive the development of VR even further. As humans, we are always driven by our wants, sometimes even to the exclusion of our real needs. :/

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        • drewdog2060drewdog2060

          I will certainly check out the story you mention. Many years ago I read Ray Kurzweil’s “The Age Of Spiritual Machines”, in which he talks about sexbots and the proliferation of virtual sex (both in terms of people having sex with other humans over the internet and, in the later stages virtual persons, bits of data, providing a sexual experience).

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        • acflory

          I haven’t read that one. I’ll look it up. 🙂

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      • Candy Korman

        This is definitely the inspiration for you fiction. That compulsion to stay in the created universe at the expense of the real world. Can’t wait to see how you continue to explore this in Innerscape!

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  • EllaDee

    One of the things I am learning in my workplace at the moment, although it’s certainly not new news is that most people either hate or can’t be bothered putting the effort adapting into change unless there’s no option! Because all this sci-fi to real life stuff freaks me out a bit, for once I can see an upside to change averse, although it’s inevitable!

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    • acflory

      None of us like change unless what we have is actually painful. I suspect I lot of people found computers literally painful so when they were offered a way to get the perceived benefits without the pain they jumped on it – I’m talking mobile tech here. I guess the next new thing will have to satisfy both the ‘carrot and the stick’. 😀

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  • davidprosser

    I paid a visit to Second Life to try it out about two or three years ago.I wanted to create a virtual bookshop or get my books in an existing one.I found it so hard to get around and found the help was very limited. I managed to get myself stuck in a room and have been there ever since.
    No doubt I’ve stopped looking for a way out as I’ve probably wasted away from starvation.
    I don’t think I’ll be trying a new version.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

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  • anne54

    One of the aspects I find interesting is our need to escape the real world, to go to a place where we have control over what happens. We can mould it to suit our own desires and needs, to have adventures that we would never be able to have in the more humdrum real world.

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  • paulaacton

    I am pretty useless when it comes to Second Life however there is one aspect of it that I love and that is the DDU I am a huge Duran Duran fan so you can imagine when they had their own world created on there I had no choice but to sign up and log in when I had the chance, and this is where it worked. The band themselves appeared online in there world at events, for example there was a night where the drummer was the DJ in the virtual club, another time the keyboard player hosted a virtual masquerade ball. Now there were issues with the server trying to cope with the sheer volume of people trying to be in the same place at the same time but it was a really good fun way for fans to interact with the band and it could be a really good way for celebrities/pop stars to interact with larger numbers of fans if the glitches could be worked out.

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    • acflory

      Wow…I never got into SL enough to discover those kinds of events. I kind of wish I had, now, although the lag would have driven me crazy.

      I believe there have been other attempts to create a virtual reality [can’t remember names, can you?] If someone could make it look and work as well as most MMOs I’d definitely give it a go. But the devil is always in the implementation.
      Great to meet another gamer. 🙂

      Like

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