Clumsy graphics, less mature offers, doubts about the usefulness of NFTs: there are many reasons for the current hype about the so-called other way around approach critically. However, upon closer inspection, it becomes clear that we are very likely dealing with the next digital megatrend must do. Possibly even the first megatrend to change the balance of power between the big four – Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon (GAFA) – can become seriously confused. However, the Metaverse will probably look very different from what most people currently imagine.
The main reason to take the Metaverse very seriously is quite simple: money. Numerous large companies are currently pumping many billions in the idea – because the Metaverse does not yet consist of much more than a few ideas and experiments. Some of these companies invest their money visibly, such as the company behind Facebook, renamed Meta. However, many others operate behind the scenes.
They all share the belief that we are going to do that Breakthrough of a new internet era scaffolding. If true, we are facing a similar groundbreaking change as we did with the transition from the first phase of the World Wide Web to Web 2.0. At that time, the internet giant Facebook came out of the upheaval and Google bought YouTube.
What is the Metaverse anyway?
But what exactly is the metaverse? At the moment it is more one Collection of different concepts and technologies as a clear, unified idea. The basic idea of a virtual, walk-in world remains to this day. meta boss Mark Zuckerberg defines the metaverse as “an embodied internet to be in rather than just watch”. Virtual (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) this vision could be implemented much better today than with the clunky pixel graphics of Second Life.
the NFT technology, a dream, could become another technological base of the Metaverse. She must know for sure virtual property no longer controlled by a single company, but decentralized regulationt as we know it from cryptocurrencies.
If and how AR, VR, NFT, avatars and other concepts associated with the term metaverse today, all in one common platform will land is open. Likewise whether there will be one dominant or many metaverses, which may even be interrelated.
Why the cards are reshuffled
But why does all this endanger the GAFA’s position of power? Whenever there has been a fundamental change in the way we use the internet or computers, the new company has taken the throne and the old company has been displaced. The hardware era was IBM’s heyday. The era of software brought microsoftt to the top, the e-commerce boom Amazon. When search engines as a concept took over directories, the era of Google began. Of the mobile revolution benefit both Apple as well as Google, and with it social web Facebook managed to rise.
Now there is a billion-dollar bet that in the coming decades people will increasingly no longer consume the internet through screens, but themselves enter a virtual world as an avatar and interact with the environment and other users there. In many ways, there is a chance that the metaverse will become what the social web was intended to be in the first place. A Space for real encounters in the virtual world – with facial expressions, gestures and touch. Relationships with customers will also fundamentally change – and with it e-commerce.
What can be learned from the iPhone for the Metaverse
And why wouldn’t one of the big tech players reinvent the future? The dominance of the GAFA platforms can be seen especially in the Scale and the network effect to explain. Economies of scale arise from economies of scale: producing a million cars is cheaper per car than 10,000. In the digital world, however, this effect is many times stronger: in absolute terms, the production of one million cars is still significantly more expensive than 10,000. Whether software written once is now used by 10,000 or a million people, it costs almost the same. Once the break-even point is crossed, each further copy sold almost net profit.
Even more important for the dominance of the online platforms is the network effect: In many cases, a network becomes more valuable to each member as more people participate. This can be easily illustrated with the example of Whatsapp: The messenger is so valuable mainly because because there are so many people – resulting in even more users registering. In many cases, this creates an almost unattainable advantage, a self-reinforcing quasi-monopoly.
If there is now a fundamental paradigm shift in how people use the Internet, the two effects no longer play a role. To understand this, a look back at IT history helps: Microsoft Windows was in many ways not the best operating system for desktop pc. However, due to historical coincidences, it got installed on most PCs, leading to the most software written for Windows became. This in turn made Windows even more popular as a system, leading to even more software and so on.
And suddenly it came iPhone from Apple and soon after smartphones with the Google operating system Android. For too long, Microsoft has been trying to bring its legacy desktop monopoly to the mobile world with half-baked concepts like Windows CE. Apple and Google could new “Mobile First” concepts without old problems develop.
The meta group – with Instagram, Facebook and Whatsapp the top players on the social web – is trying to save its position in the expected new world. So far, however, the first images of the Facebook metaverse have often caused frowns or even amusement. So there is some evidence of that another company to give the Metaverse its face is becoming. One that creates a world from the ground up, free of legacy issues, designed to experience the Internet in a whole new way. A young team with fresh ideas that has not known for 20 years how certain things on the internet work “because they are made that way”.
That made this time so exciting: Somewhere the metaverse future built – and there are some indications that a new player, who may still be completely unknown today, will add to the GAFA series of letters or even replace one or more letters.
Jennifer Rosenberg is CEO of the management consulting firm Jester.