We are all living in a simulation, according to common belief. The theory is that there will be endless simulations of humans in the universe in the future, but only one actual universe, and that our odds of being a part of one of those innumerable simulations rather than living in the real thing will be extraordinarily great.
It’s all really pessimistic.
World simulations have a long history, and even a child engineer’s favorite Meccano set or a box of Legos demonstrates a desire to imitate and simulate real-world elements. What’s more thrilling than simulating whole worlds?
They were once known as god games, but have now been renamed the metaverse.
The metaverse is essentially a computerized playground or Disneyland, and if you want to feel like you’re actually there, you can wear a virtual reality headset like the Oculus Rift.
The dream/nightmare of completely immersive internet gaming was spelled out in Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster “Ready Player One,” and now Facebook has bought the whole bill of goods with its VR gear in tow.
Facebook is changing its name to Meta.
This might be a diversionary tactic, similar to how the Google monopoly’ rebranding to Alphabet seemed to allude to the concept of diluting an ever-growing wave of negative sentiment toward the brand by giving the firm a new name.
Meta (Facebook) is constantly brought into hearings around the world, simply because it owns the attention and lives of a large portion of humanity. The percentage of the adult population who stumbles down the road while surfing a Meta product or wakes up and goes to bed with Facebook as the first and last thing on their screens is truly astounding, and governments are understandably terrified of the impact of such power in the hands of a company that claims to’move fast and break things.’
As Facebook becomes Meta it is good to remember this is a company worth about $1tn, or $3,000 per American, or the US fiscal debt for a bad year.
Is Facebook/Meta Platforms finally going to be the birther of VR into the mainstream? Will it become the architects of a new reality in which people live when they aren’t working ‘for the man’ in flesh space? Will we be wearing virtual reality headsets on our heads and running on treadmills in body suits like the Lawnmower Man?
I don’t think so. Why? Because VR stinks, to put it in Californian slang. It’s ‘lean in’ technology rather than’sit back’ technology, and leaning in implies you’ve already lost 90% of your audience.
This hasn’t stopped Metaverse crypto users from watching their tokens skyrocket in value. As Zuckerberg told a puzzled world that Facebook was now Meta, tokens like Decentraland, Sandbox, and Aavegotchi (of which I own some) all surged. For years, Facebook has been unable to distribute its cryptocurrency; in the meantime, children have been breeding them like Japanese hunting dogs in their bedrooms. As a result, it will be determined whether crypto, rather than Facebook with its mobile-enthralled audience, is the metaverse’s future.
The crypto-metaverse is not a virtual reality paradise; its universe exists behind the windowpane, through which users peer. This is a far more conventional setup.
Many may believe that my aversion to VR is due to my age and old-fogeyness, but as someone who headlined electronica shows with a VR headset in 2005 and bought virtually every consumer headset iteration until the most recent generation, I can assure you that, like 3D movies, VR appears great on paper, is fun to use, but is simply too exhausting to be the ‘next big thing.’ The distinction is that a screen is a game, whereas a VR headgear is a sport, and while there is an audience for sports, it is overwhelmed by high-entropy gamers.
The metaverse’s move by Facebook/Meta will fail, but the metaverse itself will succeed; it’s only a matter of device delivery. It may be a Star Trek-style holodeck notion (certainly not far off now), or simply bigger screens, or simply what we have now with more compelling material, or yet another new crypto concept, ‘play to earn.’
The game pays you to play when you play to earn. You can take that concept in whatever direction you choose, with players serving as crypto network securers, or simply owning stuff that they can exchange on and off the game for tokens that can be sold for fiat, tournaments with prizes, cash back… the possibilities are endless.
The idea that all those goodies you collect in a game like ‘World of Warcraft’ belong to you and have an independent existence and value outside of the game, which cracks open a whole new resource of value in an activity where millions of people spend hours of their days playing in one metaverse or another and accumulate goods that had no channel to be bought or sold until now, is the key.
Many people may scoff and wonder how these goods might be a source of money to be accessed. At best, it’s a sliver of a market. Such fleeting objects have no real worth. You could have said something similar about tunes. Humans have been singing since the dawn of time, but Edison commercialized it and laid the groundwork for massive companies that rely on that core technology to generate great riches.
However, this does not imply that you will be wearing speakers on your head… Oh, hold on…