The metaverse of fantasy worlds is itself still a fantasy • The Register

The state of the metaverse, Forrester says, is that there is none. Again.

In one report now, the analyst house has concluded that media hype and corporate fears of being left behind are the only elements of the metaverse that have really emerged. At the same time, Forrester also warned companies to be ready in case this thing takes off: “Tech providers are racing to build the metaverse, and brands are looking to exploit it.”

The metaverse is a rather nebulous concept. It’s meant to be a galaxy of connected 3D virtual reality worlds where people can communicate, work and play: it’s not just about escaping to an imaginary realm where you interact with others via avatars , it’s also meant to be a space where business can be done, and things can be collaboratively designed and simulated. The way worlds are structured and defined can be as realistic or fantastical as you want. Offices or starships.

It’s not an impossibility, although Forrester estimates that there are still years, if not decades, left to something like a true metaverse as presented by Facebook et al. The basics are there: virtual worlds, augmented reality tools, graphics hardware and software, and other AR and VR technologies act as precursors for what’s to come.

What has yet to emerge is the most essential part, from Forrester’s perspective: the interoperability needed to transform siled metaverse spaces – spaces provided by individual tech giants – into a seamless experience for users. “The fully federated metaverse will contain standard protocols for presence, persistence, and identity and asset transfer,” Forrester said.

What a real metaverse would look like

Over the next decade, Forrester believes there will be several stages of new technologies that precede a fully connected metaverse. Currently, we are at the precursor stage, where “virtual 3D spaces and objects exist, but in proprietary and siled worlds,” the report says.

What follows the Precursors is a “primordial metaverse” where links allow users to easily travel between virtual spaces, such as navigating from one website to another. Once we’ve stabilized a primordial metaverse, we transition to a federated metaverse that has adopted “common systems for enabling and enforcing portable and persistent identity and ownership.”

Forrester predicts that a fully realized metaverse will take many forms (VR and AR, to smartphone apps that mimic 3D space), but is nonetheless a single network, like the modern web.

Forrester considers a refreshed metaverse as one that does not depend on Web3 technologies and is not owned by a single company, but is still far from decentralized. As it evolves, Forrester predicts the technology will have uses we haven’t yet thought of, in part because a true metaverse would be nothing like the obligatory virtual worlds of sci-fi helmets and the hype from early investors.

How Companies Can Avoid a Metaverse Crash

“Envision the perfect customer experience without the hostile limitations of the physical environment. The Metaverse could deliver that,” Forrester said. It’s an attractive concept for companies looking to enter an emerging market and claim a claim early, but don’t act so quickly, Forrester warned.

Much of the report focuses on the models Forrester built to identify early Metaverse adopters and how those adoptions will happen. The first use cases, as we see now, will focus on entertainment and games. After that will come social media because “communications feature adoption typically follows media consumption with new digital interfaces,” Forrester said.

As for who is likely to use the metaverse, Forrester said it will represent less than half of today’s consumers and will largely consist of two cohorts, digital immersives and digital mundanes. The former is interested in the rapid adoption of new technologies, and the latter will likely see this as a branding and content opportunity.

Forrester predicts that enterprise adoption will lead to home use, which is the reverse of how technology adoption usually works, he said. “High barriers to consumer adoption of the metaverse will herald something different: reverse consumption, where technologies learned at work gradually gain interest at home.”

The investment in the metaverse is well done

Regardless of who adopts and when, Forrester said a solid foundation is needed for a true metaverse to emerge. In particular, Forrester said companies need to think now about interoperability standards, implement legal frameworks and governance, and create a good experience for non-technical users.

Besides the lack of technology and regulatory framework, there is another big problem: consumers are not sold on the metaverse. In a survey conducted late last year by Forrester, only 34% of US respondents and 28% in the UK said they were excited about the Metaverse, and only 29 and 25% (US/UK ) think the metaverse will be good for society.

This skepticism also carries over to brand perception: 14% of US adults and 12% in the UK said brands should do more in the metaverse, which brings us to Forrester’s first tip for businesses: Research potential use cases, stay on top of trends, and keep investments to a minimum.

Additionally, Forrester recommends performing metaverse experiments using existing products to gauge interest and response, using digital twins to modernize operations, keeping metaverse development grounded in the way humans will use it and avoid hype-driven early spending by keeping an eye on future profits.

“Precursors (the only metaverse technology we currently have) won’t create substantial value for B2C companies anytime soon,” Forrester said. ®

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