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What Is the Metaverse?

February 11, 2022

I have been asked several times “What is the metaverse?”

The short answer is that it’s a flailing company’s effort to remain relevant as their user base and core business erodes.

Seriously, that’s it.

Young people do not care about Facebook anymore, and older adults are getting bored with it, too. This is reflected in decline in number of daily active users.

Teens and young adults are more interested in newer platforms like TikTok and Snapchat.

I appreciate that my definition of metaverse is entirely non-technical, but it’s important to put things into perspective. There is and will be a lot of hype around metaverse, with Facebook jockeying to put itself at the front of the pack. It’s unlikely to unfold that way, though.

The metaverse concept is substantially equated with virtual reality or augmented reality. To that end, Facebook has a good foot in the door with the acquisition of Oculus. There is no doubt that virtual and augmented reality will become a bigger part of our lives. However, merely creating a piece of hardware is not going to make one the dominant player in the VR/AR market. Facebook understand that, which is why they’re trying to position themselves as the platform for this technology. This platform being the metaverse.

The challenge that Facebook has is that VR/AR will be most successful in entertainment (especially gaming) and business, neither of which Facebook has any significant presence. By far, the largest business opportunity for VR/AR will be gaming, which will be dominated by Microsoft and Sony. Apple could be strong contender, too, if it produces a long-rumored headset. Likewise, Google could be a player in this space and has dipped its toes in the water a bit. Importantly, though, the company that will dominate in this space will be one with a large platform. Microsoft, Sony, Apple, and Google have viable platforms. Facebook does not and likely will not. Facebook phone, anyone? They are too far behind.

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Paul E. Jones

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