30 Dec 2021 | Mike Boland
AWE Talks: The Race to Build the Metaverse
Augmented Reality

Welcome back to AWE Talks, our series that plucks the greatest hits from the vast AWE conference archive. Fortunately, we now have a fresh batch of session footage from AWE USA 2021 to draw from. And 2022's show will already be here in June. 

For this week's talk, we highlight the always-insightful Charlie Fink. As one of the XR industry's leading voices, Fink breaks down his latest observations on the rise of the metaverse. What will it look like and who will build it? 

See the full video below along with TLDR (or TLDW) quick-hit takeaways.

– Meta's name change and pivot have amplified the m-word... to the extent that Fink had to rework his entire presentation.
– But it's important to note that, outside of Meta's pivot, the metaverse temperature has been rising for the past year. 
– Going back further, metaverse qualities and attributes can look to existing models, such as Second Life.
– That, and subsequent multiplayer experiences like Fornite, are "a metaverse" as opposed to "the Metaverse."
– The latter doesn't exist yet and is the interoperable metaverse that's often discussed, represented in Ready Player One. 
– Mathew Ball has since done the best job synthesizing the qualities of a potential metaverse, or at least an ideal one.
– These qualities include interoperability, identity, currency, device-agnostic, and web-like standards (think: ICANN).
– These standards may be challenging to execute, given deep-pocketed interests looking to own or steer the metaverse.
– By comparison, powerful and self-interested forces like Meta didn't exist at the Web's inception.
– That brings us full circle to Meta, which is investing "ridiculous" sums of money to be at the center of the metaverse. 
– This could be a double-edged sword: Meta will accelerate the metaverse, but could also steer it in suboptimal directions.
– Meta isn't alone: everyone from Microsoft to Epic to Roblox are likewise investing to own a piece.
– But like the web, the metaverse will evolve organically and could take form in ways that none of us are talking about. 

  Want more XR insights and multimedia? ARtillery Intelligence offers an indexed and searchable library of XR intelligence known as ARtillery Pro. See more here.  


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