Will the Metaverse live up to the hype? Game developers are not impressed

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Perfect Version The metaverse, according to tech executives like Mark Zuckerberg, combines social networking, entertainment, and, best of all, meeting in one pristine virtual space. Long predicted by Neil Stephenson snow accident, is a place where the online world offers more experiences than the world of flesh and bones. But while Stevenson’s metaverse was part of an apocalyptic future, modern inventors promise a digital utopia.

Unfortunately, the metaverse they’ve built has lived up to those expectations so far, as has the Craigslist apartment rented based on photos alone. Horizon Worlds Zuckerberg, bulky and weird, was perhaps most exciting when Meta informed users that legs for their avatars were “coming soon”. The hardware required to visit such virtual worlds – often a headset like Meta’s Quest Pro – can be expensive and bulky, and once you get there, it’s not going to be a party.

None of this escapes the attention of those who actually create digital worlds. In a poll released today by Game Developers Conference organizers, a whopping 45 percent of them said “the concept of the metaverse will never live up to expectations.” It was the most popular answer to the question of which companies or platforms are “best suited to fulfill the promise of the metaverse concept” and a telling sign of the industry’s faith in the long-term potential of immersive technology. virtual worlds. “People trying to sell it have no idea what it is,” wrote one respondent, “and neither do consumers.”

The survey, released by the GDC ahead of its annual event in late March, comes after a tough year for metaverse evangelists in 2022. Not only is there cynicism about who builds these worlds and for what purpose, but many potential inhabitants of the metaverse are not convinced of their existence. there there. Last year, Meta lost money and laid off workers, and even proto-metaverse worlds like Minecraft and Roblox are now bottom of the list of game developers for expected success.

It’s not for lack of trying. Some developers are still interested in releasing AR/VR games on platforms like Meta Quest and PlayStation VR2. Of those surveyed, 36% named Meta Quest as the platform on which they intend to release their next game. For PS VR2, that number is 18 percent.

Faith in the metaverse, according to the survey, belongs to Epic Games. While nearly half of the respondents said their promise would never be kept, 14% believe that if any platform has a chance of doing so, it’s the company’s platform. Fortnite. Meanwhile, only 7% think Horizon Worlds has a chance; same with minecraft. Five percent thought Roblox could do it.

Fortnite has earned this trust over the years thanks to Epic curating events such as world concerts featuring artists such as Marshmello, Travis Scott and Ariana Grande. It’s no longer just a place where players can compete, it’s a place where people can enjoy other forms of entertainment together. But Fortnite was not the first game to offer virtual communities, and not even the second or third. “The Metaverse needs to recognize that it is reinventing the wheel,” said one respondent, pointing to Linden Lab’s 20-year-old Second Life virtual world. “And then determine why people lost interest in the wheel the first few times.”

“[The metaverse] already exists and is sustainable,” wrote another developer. “It’s just resold as a new concept by corporations trying to cash in on it.” (In the case of the Meta, its turn to the opposite side was accompanied by a sharp drop in profits and a steady rise.)

The Metaverse may one day see its true potential realized, but it likely won’t be the way Zuckerberg or even Stevenson envisioned it. For the metaverse to become a true alternate reality, it must be built by its own users. “Any version of it that exists solely in the hands of a single corporation as an advertising platform, virtual workstation, or virtual real estate marketplace is ultimately doomed to fail,” wrote one developer. “It has to be built from things that really matter to users.”

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