What is the Metaverse?
Our first Insights Live Webinar of the year, kicked off last week with a deep dive into the discussion on building Metaverses and exploring their meaning and application within the XR space. Our panel included experts from a variety of sectors within the immersive sphere: Victor Pardinho (Sense of Space), Olga Dogadkina (Emperia), and Aaron Pulkka (Amber) with the panel led and moderated by Nick Rosa (Accenture).
Nick opened with the question of how each panelist would define the Metaverse? And why do they believe Metaverse is important to the digital and immersive industry?
Aaron Pulkka from Amber emphasized making a distinction between ‘the’ Metaverse and ‘a’ Metaverse. The Metaverse is the idealized version of an open and interoperable collection of virtual spaces that people can inhabit and move between but there can only be one of that Metaverse there can’t be many. A Metaverse is what people have now coined as having many worlds, that are inherently social and online-based and they may not be fully interoperable. Aaron tries not to use the word as it’s not been clearly defined.
Victor Pardinho from Sense of Space offered a similar definition mainly expanding upon the criteria for ‘a’ Metaverse. There is confusion into what makes a Metaverse experience, as a Metaverse does contain many different structures and economy but there isn’t mandatorily a specified device or technology for us to experience the Metaverse such as Crypto and gaming. MMO’s and RPG games have created worlds that are now inherently their own Metaverses. Victor foresees a future where Metaverses can share economies between themselves through assets and NFTs etc.
Olga Dogadkina from Emperia, agreed with both the above definitions but Olga thinks of the Metaverse in a broader spectrum like how it’s not necessarily just how or what actions take place in order for the Metaverse to come into existence but more so it’s a time where our digital presence becomes as important or even more important than our physical presence. In the days where Zoom and emails have become so prevalent in our day-to-day lives the concept of the Metaverse can encompass all these aspects. The way we interact with things online right now whether it’s shopping or connecting socially is still quite two-dimensional but Olgas is looking forward to the three-dimensional growth of the internet and exploring the potential of making physical interactions better and bringing the impossibilities from the real world into the virtual world.
Metaverse and Branding?
The main concern right for companies looking to fully adopt and join the Metaverse is the question of brand safety and brand control. It can be a good tool to amplify their brand strategy but Nick asked the panel in what ways would they reassure companies that they have full control over the brand narrative.
Olga speaks from a premium market perspective and explains that it depends on the way the brands are approaching the Metaverse but historically the luxury and premium brands have always been controlling the story and their own image and are excessively protective over what makes up their digital presence. Their target audiences won’t always be creators but they’ll be more interested in how to create a consistent brand and narrative for their consumers in the e-commerce world. So their concerns will revolve more around controlling the story and consistent experiences. As in many in-world experiences will become about just the narrative alone as opposed to the product which is very much a trend you’ll see with luxury brands introducing more digital-based content.
Nick then asks the question of how to control the narrative and storytelling within a world that is supposed to be a sandbox such as GTA 5? When you start having hundreds and thousands of users in specific land, more problems will occur due to user interruptions of the brand narrative. Nick asks Aaron what he thinks is going to be needed in terms of mechanics or technology or even narrative tricks to allow such a massive migration into user-interrupted Metaverses?
Aaron does believe that it will become problematic for brands, especially with the idea of having a big open space like Decentraland where people can easily move from one virtual space to another with no barriers. Many brands will want those walls and barriers around their assets much like in the way product placements are used within spaces that they are limited to like movies and television shows. It is impractical to cross worlds with assets that don’t belong in the same narrative, much like how in movies, big brands won’t allow their products to be used in a negative manner that affects their overall brand image. In the virtual space, many brands will want to have that same control over their IP however there may be other companies that won’t mind crossing boundaries. So there needs to be a way for both types of companies and brands to control where their assets can be used.
Metaverse and cloud?
In a more technical conversation surrounding rendering the Metaverse cloud, Nick asks Victor how feasible rendering remotely in the cloud will be in the future? Would we need a better network? Better graphics cards? Better diffusion of standards? Just what is missing right now?
Victor gave a surprising answer: Cloud rendering is just not scalable. You simply can’t render everything in the GPU in cloud but if you want multiplayer and massive worlds then it’s just impossible at this rate with the high cost of energy. What Victor and Sense of Space do is actually stream the needed polygon data the client’s GPU will do the final rendering. They stream in a smart way. With a strong belief that devices are not going to stop developing and improving allowing for better and faster processing.
To explore more of what our InsightsLive Webinars have to offer, visit our calendar and register for our next installment with XR in the Realm of Fitness!
To dive a little deeper into the Metaverse and what the future of scaling businesses would hold within this landscape view our Roundtable discussion with Accenture and download your own free copy of our key takeaways on Scaling Businesses with the Metaverse.