- A central reason for the loss of interest in the metaverse is simply due to the fact that not enough people are using this technology.
- While the Metaverse isn’t booming, it’s not over yet – not by a long shot.
One year ago, it seemed like the Metaverse was right on our doorstep. Wherever you looked, there was news about new projects in the Metaverse or another billion dollars poured into its infrastructure. Fast forward to the end of 2022, and there isn’t nearly as much coverage.
A central reason for the loss of interest is simply due to the fact that not enough people are using this technology. Even those that buy a VR headset and start to get involved quickly stop, with the vast majority of users only engaging for less than a month.
Source. – Metaverse relative interest over time.
But, with billions of dollars poured into this technology, surely there’s a plan in place to fix this audience apathy. Well, not really. While there are some ideas, no one is exactly sure how we can improve usage and get people interested again.
In this article, we’ll cover the main ideas, demonstrating how certain companies are winning over their audiences and lowering the bar to enter the Metaverse. While the Metaverse isn’t booming, it’s not over yet – not by a long shot.
How Did The Metaverse Start?
While the origins of the Metaverse could date back to a literary text or early video games, depending on who you ask, the modern idea of the Metaverse has well and truly been taken over by Meta. Formerly known as Facebook, Meta’s rebranding even puts them in pursuit of their interests, with the company pouring all the money they have into this venture.
One of their first moves when constructing their Metaverse was buying Oculus. This acted as a turning point for Facebook, with Zuckerburg bringing in engineers to work on the Metaverse project from that moment. However, things haven’t exactly gone smoothly for the company.
With the Metaverse hype dying down, user engagement is at an all-time low. Internally, Meta seems to be in hot water – laying off over 11,000 employees in the space of a week. With this news all over headlines, businesses within Web 3 are scrambling for ideas that will help regain public appeal.
As the Metaverse starts to crumble around the edges, people are taking a step back. Instead of giving up on the project, developers are doubling down, trying out a range of new strategies to boost user engagement. And, it seems, some are starting to work.
How Do We Achieve Mass Adoption in the Metaverse?
When it comes to mass adoption, the jury is still out. There are several leading opinions flying around, many of which focus on the technology that provides access to the Metaverse itself. While some people believe that the definition of what the Metaverse is should be expanded to encompass phone-led sessions, others believe we need to increase accessibility as a whole.
The latter group sees mass adoption tied to the accessibility of VR technology. At present, VR is not a cheap bit of kit to come across. In 2022, anyone looking for a VR headset is normally set back over $400 USD. If we want to boost adoption, businesses need to start producing cheaper VR headsets. If we were able to half the cost of a VR headset, there would be much less of a financial barrier to entering the Metaverse as we know it.
Another leading argument about how we can drive mass adoption comes back to the simplicity of the Metaverse itself. For the past few years, the core of this venture has been about radically changing the face of the Web as we know it. From introducing VR to pushing the world into a new way of connecting online, the Metaverse has huge goals.
While it would be fantastic to wake up tomorrow and see these realized, this just isn’t realistic. First of all, people just don’t want to spend their whole lives in a virtual space. The notion that we’ll spend all our waking hours with a headset on isn’t radical, it’s dystopic. If Meta continues to push this narrative, more and more individuals will build up a rejection of the entire system before it’s even gotten off the ground.
Companies within the Metaverse that are seeing success are not the ones that are attempting to radically shift how we engage with each other as humans. If we look at blockchain businesses like Decentral Games, we can see that simple ideas really have taken point. Within their Metaverse, the most popular game that drives 70% of all traffic is poker.
Nothing new, nothing radical – just poker. Yet, a huge base of users has begun to turn to this experience, enjoying how the use of the Metaverse brings something slightly new to an already established medium.
We can see this reflected across the entire Metaverse industry. Businesses that provide a unique experience that’s not too far of a leap are seeing success. On the other hand, companies like Meta have been too optimistic about adoption. It’s one thing getting someone to play poker in VR, it’s another thing asking them to do an 8-hour work shift in a virtual office.
How Does Crypto Come Into It?
There’s no denying that the slow adoption of the Metaverse also goes hand in hand with the fear around cryptocurrency. Those of us that exist in this space have been surrounded by crypto news for years. We live and breathe this stuff, meaning it’s never difficult to understand how crypto works and integrates into different metaverse systems.
Unfortunately, that’s simply not the case for the vast majority of the population. Across the globe, only just over 4% of people own cryptocurrency. A much larger percentage of users don’t understand what it is, nor how it works. When asking an individual to buy a cryptocurrency and use it within a Metaverse system, many users will instantly be put off.
For people that aren’t based within this technical world, the idea of engaging with a currency that they don’t understand – and most likely don’t believe in – is highly unrealistic. The Metaverse and cryptocurrency cannot be completely separated from each other. At their core, both rely on blockchain technology, in some regard, to function.
However, if we were able to separate these two systems to the highest degree possible, there would be a much lower education barrier to entering the Metaverse. If people that are uncertain about cryptocurrency don’t have to use it but can still engage with the Metaverse of their choice, this would come as a big relief.
What’s more, this might also lead to more adoption within the blockchain community itself. If we’ve learned anything during 2022, it’s that a top-ranking crypto can disappear from the face of the earth in less than a week. For investors in this space, selecting a Metaverse and its cryptocurrency is a fairly big risk.
Especially at this point, when no one Metaverse system is clearly going to be the market leader, people don’t want to commit. If we were able to use fiat currencies without having to engage with cryptos, both native crypto users and those that don’t understand crypto would have more reason to get involved.
While difficult, this distinction between crypto, fiat, and the Metaverse is one that Web 3 companies must solve if we are to increase adoption.
As Meta continues to pour money into the Metaverse, we’re sure that they’re hoping for some sort of breakthrough sometime soon. Yet, without a motive or easy pathway toward adoption, the public perception of this system won’t change in the next few years.
Even for investors that are already interested in the Metaverse, the huge amount of competition between all the leading projects generates an aspect of uncertainty. Until we know more about which Metaverse will establish itself as the front of the pack, investment will remain stagnant.
One potential solution that would benefit everyone is if the various Metaverses moved towards interoperability, as we’ve seen recently within blockchain as a whole. With Flare’s partnership with Metropolis world, we already see interoperable Metaverses as a viable option. With this system in place, investors could make larger investments with more security, providing an injection of cash into the industry.
With so many variables, the future of the Metaverse remains uncertain. The only thing we know is that with the current rate of adoption, we won’t be living in VR anytime soon.