At this point, INTERNET WORLD editor Frank Kemper recently expressed doubts about whether the Metaverse will truly be “The Next Big Thing.” Carsten Rossi, Lab Manager Society at the Metaverse department of the BVDW, does not want to stop there. Here is his counter argument.
By Carsten Rossi, Head of the Metaverse Department at the Federal Association of the Digital Economy (BVDW) eV
A few weeks ago Frank Kemper wrote a critical remark about the Metaverse euphoria. I appreciate constructive criticism, but I believe the post is overstated. The metaverse of the “big bang” won’t be buried any time soon. The arguments put forward do not seem very sound. According to his commentary, the following are weaknesses of the Metaverse hype:
- Lack of consumer interest
- Low sales volume and investments and dubious cryptocurrencies
- Clumsy and heavy VR glasses
- For Zuckerberg and Meta, Metaverse is a last straw
My opinion: At the moment, just the right people are interested in the subject in sufficient numbers, there is no lack of money, the (nasty) discussions about crypto and real estate speculation are not a showstopper, the technology is already quite good and the role of Meta is overrated .
But let’s look at the details.
Interest in the Metaverse
The commentary complains that according to a study by Fittkau & Maass Consulting, only 12 percent of users are really enthusiastic. There seems to be an incongruity between the – albeit often highly inflated – media coverage and the reticent interest of the public. Low enthusiasm is not uncommon at first.
We are currently in a very early stage, the “Early Market”, of development. According to Rogers and Moore’s proven life cycle theory of innovation, any breakthrough innovation initially appeals to no more than 15 percent of the total population. In other words, with the Metaverse we are exactly what is expected.
The money and the supposedly dubious cryptocurrency
The comment states that Metaverse’s market volume is less than Bill Gates’ personal fortune, i.e. less than $100 billion. The calculation basis used? The market capitalization of the cryptocurrencies (cryptocurrency) of Bitcoin, Ether and other cryptos is mentioned.
Only the implicit comparison of crypto markets and metaverse is simply wrong.
Although cryptocurrencies are based on blockchain technology, blockchain technology will most likely play a role in the further development of the Metaverse. However, neither the current platforms and projects nor the future of the Metaverse rely on cryptos. In my opinion, using the low market cap of blockchain currencies as an indication of an unsustainable metaverse does not work.
The following numbers are more interesting: By 2022, corporations, venture capital and private equity firms invested more than $120 billion in the Metaverse – more than Bill Gates could spend. Not to mention the estimated $5 trillion market size by 2030 that McKinsey predicts. Doesn’t sound like a flop.
Crypto is not the metaverse, NFTS is not the metaverse, and the metaverse is certainly more than digital retail and virtual goods. The Metaverse represents a “decentralized, interoperable, persistent, and perceptible with all senses, digital ecosystem” that includes both virtual reality and augmented reality. It covers a huge spectrum from gaming, virtual work and study spaces, health issues and digital entertainment to digital customer service.
The metaverse is full of possibilities – not to mention the social opportunities for participation, inclusion and digital transformation of our democracy.
Yes, the MetaQuest is heavy on the face. It’s almost huge, just to take one device as an example. Now in the record summer you sweat terribly under it. The technology currently does not provide an all-round comfortable experience. However, I consider it fatal to conclude from this that the Metaverse has no future. Why?
There were previous assumptions about technological developments that later turned out to be wrong. Remember the early C-network portable car phones? At the time, it was said of the suitcase-sized devices that mobile telephony had no future. Today about three-quarters of Germans use a smartphone and mobile phones are much more widespread. Again, the Metaverse is in the early stages of development.
I cannot and will not comment on Meta’s business strategy and plans. Meta is currently a major player and largely responsible for the great attention the topic is getting. The social media giant’s initiatives are not defining the metaverse, nor are they the only ones, and perhaps not the most important.
The various “Metaverse Market Maps” make it clear how many companies around the world link their fate in whole or in part to this topic. The question is whether Kemper’s statement that no disruptive innovations can come with an announcement from large companies will hold up. But large platforms are only part of the picture, the huge creator economy that is now emerging plays a much more important role. All the lone warriors, the small and medium-sized companies are building platforms, producing virtual goods and trying new business models. In short: you drive development forward.
The Metaverse is not a business model, the Metaverse is a movement. And for all these reasons, an inner voice tells me: The Metaverse is not going to be a bang, the Metaverse is a bang.
Response from Frank Kemper: Dear readers, what is your opinion on this? Send me an e-mail! I will pass on your comments to Carsten Rossi.