The Metaverse: still the future?

The concept of the metaverse, a virtual universe where people work and have fun, has lost popularity with the rise of ChatGPT and generative AI. However, Meta (formerly Facebook) remains confident in the future of this technology and is committed to seeing it through. Meta’s head of global affairs, Nick Clegg, assures that the metaverse will eventually become a reality, despite it taking time and being seen as a fuzzy concept. According to Clegg, Meta will capitalize on the metaverse through advertising and commerce.

Nick Clegg’s statements are the same ones we have heard for the past two years. The idea of a future in which our lives are resolved within an updated version of Second Life is one that few share. Economic slowdown and the growth of artificial intelligence have led many companies to abandon the metaverse. Disney closed its metaverse division, resulting in 50 job layoffs, while Microsoft downsized and dismantled its mixed reality, HoloLens, and industrial metaverse departments, laying off employees. Tencent also let go of 300 employees working on its version of the virtual future.

That doesn’t bother Mark Zuckerberg, who intends to continue spending hundreds of millions of dollars in the metaverse. Despite the 2022 debacle that resulted in thousands of layoffs, the company is determined to invest in a future that no one knows will come. 

Interestingly, Meta is not the only company staying on board the metaverse. Epic Games is also betting on the platform of tomorrow, albeit under a different concept. The studio is transforming Fortnite into a kind of Roblox with the introduction of new content, which would turn the popular video game into a platform where everything is possible. And Apple has just released the Apple Vision Pro, a mixed reality viewer, which means it can combine virtual images with the real environment, creating a digital layer on top of reality. What are the advantages versus Meta Quest 3? It depends on what you’re looking for. 

In conclusion, the fate of the metaverse remains uncertain, and we will have to exercise patience to see what unfolds. While Meta and a few other companies continue to believe in its potential, the current landscape suggests a waning interest in the concept. The emergence of ChatGPT and generative AI has shifted the focus away from a virtual universe. Whether the metaverse will become a widely adopted reality or simply a fading dream is yet to be determined. It is clear that the future of the metaverse will require time, innovation, and a shift in public sentiment to fully materialize.


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