ViaBTC｜Metaverse, a New Battleground of the Internet Tech Community: Will Facebook Become a Metaverse Company?
In 2021, the whole of the Internet has been swept by the metaverse. Anything related to metaverse goes viral, expanding the influence of this blockchain derivative to non-crypto sectors. The concept is so trending that even Facebook’s founder Zuckerberg said outright that as a believer in the metaverse, he plans to build Facebook into a metaverse company in 5 years. What exactly is metaverse? How did it draw massive investments from Internet tycoons like Facebook, Google, and Amazon?
The concept of metaverse was first proposed by sci-fi writer Neal Stephenson in his 1992 novel Snow Crash, which described metaverse as “a world parallel to the real world”. Later on, in the 2018 movie Ready Player One, Steven Spielberg offered a specific manifestation of such a parallel universe: By putting on VR equipment, players can enter “Oasis”, a virtual reality, anytime and anywhere. In Oasis, you can choose among different identities, appearances, and clothing. Moreover, players can even create an immersive copy of the real world or get in touch with the real “future” and experience the surreal convenience. If you still wonder what exactly is metaverse, go watch Ready Player One.
Yet, Steven Spielberg did not just aim to build a bigger and more complex game world. In his interview with The Verge, game and entertainment is only one component of the metaverse, and the real metaverse should be a permanent, real-time, and access-free (accessible for all types of devices) environment, of which we can all be a part. This environment resembles today’s social platforms, but it enables the immersive presence of our virtualized selves. You may visit the metaverse on all platforms, including VR, AR, PC, mobile devices, and game stations.
Baszucki, founder of the most popular metaverse game company Roblox, defined metaverse as having eight characteristics: identity, friends, immersiveness, ubiquity, low friction, economy, trust and civility. If you are attentive to the details, all eight traits can be found in Ready Player One. For those of you who did not pick up on this, you might want to rewatch the movie.
In Ready Player One, Oasis was created by the genius game designer Halliday. However, in the real world, it is almost impossible for any company to build the metaverse on its own. The real-world metaverse is more likely to be a “physical Internet” jointly run by many different players in a decentralized way.
As such, Internet and tech giants are rushing to the arena, fearing that they may miss the exciting opportunity of the metaverse. Roblox, a company that introduced the metaverse concept in its prospectus, went public on the New York Stock Exchange in March and saw its market cap exceeding $40 billion on day one. We should be reminded that one year ago, the assessed market value of Roblox was less than $4 billion. Furthermore, at the end of last month, Facebook announced a metaverse product team led by Vishal Shah, VP of Instagram. This giant move is in line with Zuckerberg’s goal of turning Facebook into a metaverse company in 5 years.
From its R&D reports over recent years, we can tell that Facebook has numerous plans for VR/AR devices, human-machine interaction, platform-building, etc. It is also clear that the company’s ultimate goal is to achieve Zuckerberg’s metaverse dream.
Internet leaders in China have also made their moves. Tencent invested in Roblox before it went public, making it the largest shareholder of the “№1 metaverse share”. Moreover, the company is also the exclusive agent of Roblox products in China. In addition to Tencent, another Chinese tycoon, TikTok, invested in a Chinese metaverse company called “Daimaqiankun”.
2021 marks the start of the metaverse era. Around the world, industry tycoons are waging wars for the metaverse. Perhaps Zuckerberg’s remarks might soon come true, and metaverse may enter people’s everyday life.