Making a Metaverse That Matters is now available on Audiobooks, and I hope you consider buying a copy to listen on your way to work, on vacation, or anywhere you want to hear my words.
Stream the book's opening above, starting with my succinct definition of the Metaverse, and sharing seven Surprising things about it.
Read along below!
The Metaverse is a vast, immersive virtual world that's simultaneously accessible by millions of people through highly customizable avatars and powerful experience creation tools that are integrated with the offline world through its virtual economy and external technology.
This is the story of the people who have worked to realize something like the vision in those words since it was first described in 1992, and still strive even now, to bring it to full fruition. Over at least the last two decades, they have been building metaverse platforms with nearly all the features described above. And are tantalizingly close to realizing that goal.
But this preface is mainly intended for you, dear reader, who aren’t quite convinced the Metaverse is even worth your time.
So if you are wavering on that topic, may I tell you at least seven things to know about the Metaverse, even if you read no further?
The Metaverse is not for everyone. Chances are you’ve seen several tech evangelists across various media segments insist otherwise, that we’ll all soon be in the Metaverse. I can tell you from painful — but also amusing! — experience that this is very unlikely ever to be the case. And no, you will probably not ever wear a VR headset on a regular basis, either.
That said, it’s also safe to forecast at least 1 in 4 people with Internet connectivity will be part of the Metaverse. And the many side applications likely to spring out of the Metaverse are very powerful, potentially impacting nearly everyone — while the potential market of active metaverse users is already quite large, and likely to strongly grow.
At a conservative estimate, over half a billion people worldwide already log into one or more variations of a metaverse platform now. That’s about 1 in 10 people of some 5 billion across the entire planet who use the Internet. While you may not personally use a metaverse platform, you almost certainly have many friends, colleagues, neighbors, relatives, or children who do. (As to why so many do so, and in what particular metaverse platform, read on to the Introduction.)
Despite what you may have heard — and no matter what its company name change from Facebook might imply — Meta is not at the forefront of Metaverse development. In fact, I would love to tell you about the many fascinating ways it’s spent billions of dollars enthusiastically repeating errors made by many of us over the last two decades.
Meta is hardly alone in repeating past mistakes. In fact, nearly all the major tech and media companies and venture capitalists of the world are currently spending many tens of billions building their conception of the Metaverse. Most of them are also making profound (and avoidable) design, policy, and even philosophical mistakes that will destine their efforts to disaster.
Most of what you read or hear about the Metaverse across media is somewhat or completely wrong, often deceptively so. (But then again, I’ve made my own share of misunderstandings over the last two decades.)
And because so many companies are making an assortment of tragic errors, while most government and communities organizations remain largely oblivious of the technology, it’s important that we understand the Metaverse, the people who make it possible, and how we can learn for their failures (and successes), so its future to can benefit everyone — especially the virtual communities already thriving within it.
These platforms will likely grow in influence and reach every year, altering culture, business, and technology in ways that social media has done over the last 20 years, and then beyond. And while the Metaverse may seem like the sole province of tech behemoths, it is largely shaped by the maverick creators and oddball personalities who evolve and update it every day.
And more than any other technology that’s come before it, the Metaverse is shaped by the user communities which make it real.
Why the Metaverse Matters is their story. And ultimately — to a small degree or vastly so — I believe that story will also be part of yours.
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