The internet is a remarkable technology in itself. It is a technology that has not only helped humanity in countless ways but has also ushered us into a new era of modernization. Many new technological concepts which we just used to see only in Sci-Fi films a couple of decades ago have come to fruition only due to the internet. The concept of IoT, Smart Devices, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, CryptoCurrency, and recently the Metaverse have all stemmed from the internet. The major reason behind the advent of such technologies is because access to the internet has quite easier and more cost-effective today.
This easier access to the internet has allowed people to experiment and bring new technological marvels out of this amazing technology. Back in the day, the internet was a luxury for many and the masses were either not able to get their hands on a suitable connection or in most cases they were unable to afford one. Technological advancements and the investment of global telecom companies into shaping the transmission infrastructure have reduced the cost of the internet and made it available to a majority of people. At the moment there are more than 4.88 Billion active internet users in the world. This large number of users is proof itself that how deeply rooted this technology has become in our life.
Our dependence on the internet was actually demonstrated in full flow during the pandemic. When the whole world’s infrastructure was shifted entirely over the internet. All our day-to-day tasks from work to entertainment and even educational activities were being carried out over the web.
The past two years of the pandemic also gave a significant boost to the overall internet community as numerous grants were offered by governments all over the world. Similarly, service providers like Cox chipped in with their share of service discounts and promotions. Cox gave country-wide discounts to all customers and across all their entities including Cox en Español, which was catered to Spanish-speaking consumers. The company is still providing amazing internet plans to their customers because they understand that many people are still on a low budget and that the internet is a necessity.
The Concept of Metaverse and Meta by Facebook
The Metaverse was a concept that we saw as a plot in many Sci-fi films, however, this is a technology that is coming to fruition now. The Metaverse concept states that we can build a cyber-world just like our own and access real-life places, meet with real people, and do all the activities that we do in real life but online through a simulation, all while sitting in our homes. This concept gained significant traction during the pandemic when there was a complete prohibition on any type of mobility, so many people thought why not create a virtual world in which we can do whatever we want without any potential dangers or risks that are associated with the real world. However, this all sounded silly but there was one company that took it quite seriously.
Facebook and its all subsidiaries and acquired companies including Whatsapp and Instagram merged under a single entity named Meta back in October 2021. Facebook was already working on the Metaverse way back in 2019 when it acquired Occulus, a VR company, and launched the Occulus Quest, their latest VR headset. And this move made sense, that if there is going to be a Metaverse the foundation of it would be laid by the biggest social media company and Facebook exactly did that.
Plus after the pandemic happened the very next year in 2020 a further boost was given to the idea of the Metaverse that there should be a place where people can freely interact with one another without the restrictions of the outside world. As good as this idea was it quickly backfired on Facebook.
How Metaverse Flopped?
Although it looked like a good idea on paper, the actual execution of this process and the feasibility proved to be a major hurdle in the Metaverse project. Here we’ll look at some of the reasons why Metaverse wasn’t able to take off.
The major boost that the Metaverse gained was during the pandemic. People were sick and tired of lockdowns and Metaverse gave them a sigh of fresh air, although virtually. In VR people were able to play games, visit simulations of real-life places and even meet their friends in a VR lobby. Something which wasn’t possible in real life at that moment. This was the main selling point of the concept of Metaverse, however, many tech companies failed to realize that the pandemic wasn’t going to last forever, and with that, these travel restrictions were also going to be eased down.
This is exactly what happened, and as soon as the threat of the pandemic subsided, people ditched the Metaverse to meet their friends, go to parks, play games, and visit their favorite places all in real-time. Because if you can physically do a task, meet a person, or visit a place, it makes no sense to do the same while wearing a VR headset.
Metaverse and VR are expensive hobbies, to be very honest. A regular VR headset costs somewhere around $500. That’s equal to any other console currently present in the market like PS5. Whereas a console like PS5 gives exhilarating graphics and newer games with the support of Sony’s ecosystem and an online community of millions of users. On the other hand, a VR gear from Oculus just offers a limited number of titles, some Facebook native AR apps, and very few members in terms of community. So it wouldn’t seem feasible for any regular gamer or computer user to buy VR, where at the same price or an even lesser cost they can get a hi-tech latest gaming console.
VR and Metaverse developers failed to conduct a feasibility study that made them launch their equipment at such a high cost, on which this industry can become a niche market but never completely take over gaming or physical interactions as it intended to.
There are a number of health concerns that are related to VR and Metaverse setups. In childhood, we were always told to sit a fair distance away from television sets in order to reduce eye strain. However, today the screen directly sits in front of our eyes through these VR headsets. Many VR apps cause dizziness and warnings are also displayed regularly to not use a VR headset for more than 30 minutes continuously as it is reported to cause headaches and nausea. Then these heavy VR headsets are strapped on our heads increasing neck strain as well. These and many other health risks are one of the reasons why VR and Metaverse still aren’t able to find their ground.
The Metaverse was no doubt a good concept on paper and it had the potential to become something and maybe it still can. However, the developers investing in this trend should realize that this technology is not going to work in its current shape. The Metaverse needs thorough R&D to mold it into a shape that would be feasible in our current landscape. The cost needs to be brought down, the community and apps need to be increased, and the health issues of VR gear needs to be sorted out if the Metaverse wants to become the next big thing because, in its current shape, Metaverse is going nowhere and will cause of loss of billion to companies like Facebook investing aimlessly in this project.