During this pandemic, I can’t think of anything more exciting to do in the comfort of our own home than exploring the Metaverse, the universe of virtual worlds that are all interconnected, as in novels such as Snow accident and Ready Player One.
It’s the same goal as Epic Games, manufacturer of Fortnite, would also be in pursuit, just like many other companies who spoke at our recent GamesBeat Summit event. I thought about it and I can’t wait to see someone do that. So much so that I would like to make a GamesBeat Summit event dedicated solely to the idea of building the Metaverse. (Ping me on this.)
The only problem is that no one shares exactly the same idea of what metaverse is. At our event, Matthew Ball of Epyllion Industries stated that opinions vary and that the most complete version of it is not technically feasible today. Those who say they do not have fully supplied the substance yet. However, it should be a persistent, living, synchronous and living universe that gives you the impression of being somewhere else.
An advanced version of Fortnite may not be too far from the first version of Metaverse. Epic Games recently hosted Travis Scott’s concert at Fortnite, which drew 27.7 million viewers. And last night, Epic held a first at Fortnite where Christopher Nolan showed a trailer for his new film, Tenet, and said he will screen the entire film at Fortnite this summer. While other companies are still debating Metaverse, Epic comes out and builds it, one big event at a time.
It makes us feel so terribly close to the metaverse. Yet it comes forever. I’m just wondering if we will get it sooner, because the pandemic will bring us, game developers included, to the brink of boredom. I mean, wouldn’t it be disappointing if Zoom turns out to be the only practical metaverse? Something must be better than Zoom, right?
I don’t think this new hope for the Metaverse is just my own fantasy. In an interview, I asked Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia, if he thought metaverse would come soon – and perhaps sooner because of the coronavirus – and what form it would take.
“The answer is absolutely yes,” he said. “I think it’s time, and it won’t be. We’re going to have a whole bunch of metaverse. Each one will be based on the stories you love. There will be some based on Minecraft, Fortnite, Battlefield or based on Call of Duty. There are all kinds of styles and personalities. You will see one based on The Witcher, one based on Warcraft and all kinds of genres. There will be hundreds of metaverse. This is the exciting part of it. “
Sam Englebardt, managing partner of Galaxy Interactive, agreed at the summit that he thinks we will see a “multiverse” or a collection of many different worlds or universes.
What should happen
Roblox has its own vision of building the Metaverse, voiced by Matt Curtis, vice president of developer relations, speaking at our summit.
This comes back to one of the important prerequisites for metaverse. You must have a large audience that you can drive across the desert into the promised land of Metaverse. Roblox has over 115 million monthly active players who benefit from more than 2 billion hours of UGC play per month. Roblox was able raise $ 150 million in February, thanks to the strength of its user base during a tour led by venture capitalist Andreessen Horowitz. They can drive many users in their version of the metaverse, and Curtis’ discussion has shown that they are serious about it.
As he said in his speechCurtis noted that a lot had to happen. First, it must be a persistent world, or a place where you can visit it again and again and it is the same world. You need a sense of identity. You need an underlying social fabric. It must be large and diverse. The experiences must be immersive and frictionless. The economy must be integrated and places must function according to rules and order.
To achieve this, Roblox works on platform technology, development tools and the economics of developers. Curtis said that immersive 3D experiences must be dynamic, where worlds, although persistent, can change. These should work on any platform, such as consoles or the PC or mobile, he said. Everything you create in these works should work seamlessly with these platforms. Solving this problem is difficult, but it is essential, said Curtis.
Identity is also a fundamental part of the metaverse. You should be able to create a high fidelity avatar without much difficulty. This avatar should be able to express real emotions, which is a condition for being truly immersed in a world. Development tools should allow players to create worlds quickly and easily. Large teams should be able to work together, even if they are in different places.
With collaborative editing, script creators can code in real time without interrupting. It’s a step in virtual collaboration, and it’s one of the things Roblox is working on. Roblox also creates a fully automated translation so that a game created in a region can be enjoyed all over the world.
And the economic part of the developers is progressing thanks to improvements in the UGC market. Creators can share their wares with others and allow the creators who buy them to continue without reinventing the wheel. Frédéric Descamps, CEO of Manticore Games, agrees that user-generated content will provide the heart of the metaverse.
No doubt the version of the Roblox universe is going to be pretty blocky, but if you want realistic graphics, someone else will surely try to do it.
And what is the next step?
It’s a lot of preparatory work, but it looks like a company is going to try to do it. Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, has also shown so much enthusiasm for the idea that I bet he’ll invest what it takes (using Fortnite’s riches) to do the Epic part. I have to believe that Microsoft, as the owner of Minecraft and its 200 million users, will join the race.
Hironao Kunimitsu, CEO of Gumi in Japan, publisher of Brave Frontier, believes that VR and blockchain technologies will pave the way for Metaverse, and he is investing in these technologies. It even has the oasis of Ready Player One cooked in his business plan.
Entrepreneurs Raph Koster (creator of massively multiplayer online worlds such as Star Wars Galaxies) and Philip Rosedale (CEO of High Fidelity and creator of Second Life) believe that all Metaverse will need to have robust physical simulations, just as our own world has a believable physique.
And some people believe that this world will come more slowly.
“I really didn’t like the movie Ready Player One. I read the book and thought the movie had completely missed it. But here’s one thing you got. I got a point removed,” said Owen Mahoney, CEO of Nexon, in an interview with GamesBeat. “You come to the end of the film and realize, and I agree with that, that the future entertainment industry is nothing like this. what it looks like today. “
He added: “If you live enough in this world – even with all my skepticism and I didn’t like how they missed out on all the fun of the game and all that, I agree with the basic premise, which is that this future is totally different, and we’re going to go back to the current entertainment options and say, “It’s so the 20th century. It’s so “ok boomer”. Right now we have this meeting on Zoom. Right now, this is the time when we are going to look back and say, “This is where the whole entertainment industry turned and became interactive.”
It would be nice if everyone involved in this case talked to each other and discovered plumbing, so that all the worlds could connect. Sweeney thinks this part is critical and should be based on open systems.
But they will all try to build the largest possible metaverse in the hope that it will become the one and only metaverse. The competition will be healthy, and I hope it will take us out of our living rooms to a better and more social place. I just hope there is enough going on here that no one thinks the Metaverse is a joke, a scam, or a pipe dream. Because of this crazy pandemic, it is now an urgent task that we must all take seriously.