This Week in the Metaverse (W01.2023)
The Big Read - The journey of building the metaverse has only just began; Latest on Into The Metaverse Podcast; Weekly news rollup
Hey, I’m Yon. Welcome to Into The Metaverse! My mission is to help you understand what is the metaverse, how it will impact our lives, and what opportunities it unlocks. If you are a marketer, entrepreneur, investor or simply a curious professional, Into The Metaverse is for you. Subscribe (free) to get access to every letter and podcast show that I publish.
Welcome to the first weekly letter of 2023. It’s great to be back with so much that is happening already in the space. Here’s what I’ve got for you this week:
The Big Read - The journey of building the metaverse has only just began
Latest on Into The Metaverse Podcast
Weekly News Rollup
Let’s dig in!
(1) The Big Read: The journey of building the metaverse has only just began
2022 was the first full year of living with the concept of the metaverse after Facebook changed its name to Meta in late 2021. And it was an eventful year! Although we’ve seen continued growth from platforms such as Roblox, 2022 culminated with a challenging macro economic environment, dramatic decline in prices of technology stocks (including metaverse related), massive decline in the value of web3 assets (crypto, NFTs), and a first decline of the US gaming market in 20 years. Based on these, one might reach the conclusion that 2023 will be a very challenging year for the builders who are building the metaverse.
Every guest that I brought to the podcast so far is excited about some aspect of the metaverse, and they all believe that we’re in the very early stages of building this next version of the Internet, but while we may have a long way to go to realize the metaverse in its full vision, we’re nonetheless making gradual progress in showing why the metaverse is an exciting evolution for the Internet and over the past 12 months we've seen some examples that illustrate promise - how storytelling, communication and identity are all being reimagined.
While Facebook did a great service for the concept of the metaverse and increasing the interest in the concept globally when it changed its name to Meta in October 2021, the obsessive focus on Meta’s efforts in the space is missing the main point - we’re at the very nascent stage of a paradigm shift in the way technology and the Internet is used by millions of people around the world (and ultimately billions). So much attention is given to certain platforms, technologies and products, including but not limited to Meta and NFTs (which is a very natural thing to do), the most important thing to focus on is the impact on people. There are around 2 billion people around the world under age 25 for whom the metaverse is already here - for them, self expression, socialization with friends and being immersed in 3D worlds as an avatar is as natural as it was for the same age group to access and socialize on Facebook back in 2005.
There is so much to be optimistic about and there’s so much work ahead of us. The metaverse will change everything. Even though interest in the metaverse over time has been declining during 2022, this only means that builders in the space can focus again on laying the technical and experiential foundations that will help realize the promise of the metaverse in years to come.
(2) Latest on Into The Metaverse Podcast
In episode #39 I hosted Richard Ward - former Head of Metaverse at McKinsey, the leading management consulting firm, where he focuses on advising clients on metaverse and web3 strategy, as well as providing expertise on the role of augmented reality and virtual reality.
In a fascinating conversation, Richard and I we discuss in detail the stage we’re at with the evolution of the metaverse; what is full-body computing and why it matters to truly grasp how the metaverse should “feel”; what should decision makers consider when making investment decisions on metaverse-related experiments; and how web3 fits in (if at all).
Listen or Watch:
(3) Weekly News Rollup
VR headset sales shrank in 2022 (CNBC) → Sales of virtual reality headsets in the U.S. declined 2% year over year to $1.1 billion as of early December, according to NPD Group with worldwide shipments of VR headsets as well as augmented reality devices dropped more than 12% to 9.6 million in 2022.
Meta acquires smart lensmaker Luxexcel as it works toward AR glasses goal (The Verge) → Meta CTO and Reality Labs head, Andrew Bosworth, revealed in a blog post earlier this month that the company’s pouring “about half” of the metaverse-focused division’s operating expenses into augmented reality (AR), while the other half’s going to building virtual reality products (VR).
To accelerate the development of 3D worlds and the metaverse, NVIDIA has launched numerous AI research projects to help creators across industries unlock new possibilities with generative AI (NVIDIA) → Just as AI is crucial to the expansion of the metaverse, so too is the metaverse to the expansion of AI.
One AI tool already made available allows you to build AI avatars with NVIDIA Omniverse ACE → learn more about NVIDIA’s efforts in my conversation with their VP Simulation & Omniverse + what the future of avatars holds in my conversation with Ready Player Me’s CEO.
Magic Leap 2 Is The First AR Device to Receive 60601 Certification For Use In The Operating Room (Magic Leap) → IEC 60601 is a series of technical standards for the safety and effectiveness of medical electrical equipment. This certification allows Magic Leap 2 to be the first AR device used both in an operating room as well as in other clinical settings.
Sony and Manchester City are building a metaverse (The Verge) → At CES 2023, Sony showed a brief look at a metaverse-type experience that it’s building with the soccer club Manchester City.
H&M launches a virtual world on Roblox (AdWeek). While on Roblox, also read about a mom that went viral for finding daughter on Roblox and telling her to defrost the lasagna (Today).
The young female designers changing Roblox for the better (Elle)
PUBG Mobile continues push into music with new record label (The Verge)
HTC's new Vive XR Elite will cost $1,099 when it lands in February (CNET)
Lenovo’s Project Chronos lets you beam yourself into virtual worlds (The Verge)
Bored Apes creator Yuga Labs appoints Activision’s Daniel Alegre as CEO (TechCrunch)
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