The Creation of the Metaverse: The Market

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Stephen King said it best when he wrote, “Sooner or later everything old becomes new again.” And that is precisely what is happening when it comes to the metaverse. It’s true; the technologies driving this incredible space forward are anything but old. However, the concept itself dates back nearly 30 years.

Love ’em or hate ’em, Facebook deserves a ton of credit for bringing the mainstream metaverse to life after renaming itself Meta. But the idea is anything but original. The origins of the metaverse date back to 1992. In the same year, Kris Kross was ‘jumping’ us, and dial-up Internet access became available for the first time.

The creation of the metaverse

1992 was also the year Neal Stephenson first used the term “metaverse” in the pages of his dystopian novel “Snow Crash.” But no matter who gets the credit, the metaverse is now as much a part of popular tech culture as things like blockchain, AR/VR, AI, and quantum computing. Incidentally, all of these elements now combine to determine what the metaverse will ultimately be like. And that’s exactly what makes it so exciting.

As KJ Dhaliwal, Chief Strategy Officer of Dating Group explains:

“The Metaverse is the culmination of many different amazing technologies. For this reason, it holds immense potential to revolutionize our lives and the way we communicate, do business and play. And one of the most exciting features of the metaverse is presence, which makes you feel like you are physically in a digital space with others.

The metaverse is here and now

Does that sound too philosophical or futuristic to you? Then you don’t see what is before your eyes. Many of us already meet daily in virtual spaces. But we are only scratching the surface of what is to come. However, there is a lot of work to be done for the market to mature.

There is no industry standard for what Metaverse really is at this time. The metaverse is still an open frontier. And that’s a big reason why people are so confused.

So what is the Metaverse, anyway? Many think it’s just a 3D model of the internet. At the same time, others take a more extreme view. They see it as a sort of parallel universe, where the physical completely connects with the digital in a singularity known as “phygital”.

The market opportunity

However, going from simple to extreme will require a lot of technology. And new technologies and new services are where the market opportunities lie for entrepreneurs and investors looking to strike gold in the metaverse. And it looks like there’s plenty of gold to be had.

According to Statistical, we barely scratch the surface of what the market value of the metaverse will one day be. The company pegs its 2022 market value a few shades north of $47 billion. However, they predict it will reach $678.8 billion by 2030. That means there will potentially be a few more billionaires over the next eight years.

It’s exciting math, no doubt. But one wonders where the real opportunities lie. Should you create a new AR or VR startup? Will AI bring magic? Or maybe supercomputing is where you should spend your cycles?

Where to stake your claim

To come to a conclusion, one must first understand where the market is right now, what obstacles stand in the way of progress, and where the market is naturally positioned to go. And virtual reality (in its current form) probably isn’t where you should be spending your time and resources.

A recent report from Piper Sandler found that 50% of Gen Z’ers surveyed aren’t planning on buying a VR headset anytime soon. And it’s not because they already have two or three. Only 26% admitted to owning a single VR device. But it’s getting worse. Less than 5% of those who have a headset use it daily.

The key phrase to remember is “everyday use”. If only 5% of the youngest generation with purchasing power uses something, run away from it. And run away quickly. But what do they use daily, you ask?

Consider Gen Z

According to Los Angeles Times, Generation Z spends a lot of time on screens (mainly their smartphones). According to the newspaper, they watch an average of 7.2 hours of video a day, almost an hour more than the 6.3 hours spent by Gen Xers. And, as the saying goes, old habits are hard. to break.

Given the widespread adoption of mobile and the incredible number of hours old and new generations spend on their screens, smartphones have a good chance of reigning supreme when it comes to the metaverse. But they can’t do that in their current state. There has to be some new technology that connects our smartphones to our realities in a way that doesn’t tether us to a headset or similar device.

And that next big thing is already in the works. The blossoming of 5G, the evolution of computing and the smartening of AI have opened the door to the next big revolution. Brain Computer Interface (BCI) technology is what will complete the marriage between the physical and the digital. But the fledgling field needs more experts and investors to help it move forward.

The future is BCI

However, there is a dynamic. NextMind, which VentureBeat covered in late 2020, was recently acquired by Snap for an undisclosed amount. And in a company statement, snap wrote“NextMind has joined Snap to help lead long-term augmented reality research efforts within Snap Lab. The glasses are an evolving and iterative research and development project, and the latest generation is designed to help developers to explore the technical limits of augmented reality.

Unlike its boring cousin the VR headset, AR – or better yet, MR (mixed reality) – well done can be unobtrusive technology that blends our physical and digital worlds in real time. And this will be made deeper with advances in BCI technology. Don’t get me wrong, though. There are still quite a few pickaxes and shovels to sell before finding the mother load with BCI.

Veljko Ristic is Chief Growth Officer at SDV Lab.

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