When the Metaverse Roadmap was released last year, people were excited. For the first time in history, several different technologies were planned out for the next 10-20 years, and their convergence — desired, or undesired — laid out and discussed openly, surveys were made, presentations were given, and a lot of documentation was produced. The Metaverse Roadmap is not a “prophet’s tool”. It sort of gave directions and guidelines; it tried to “define” what people’s expectations of a “metaverse” should look like, and how to slowly proceed to implement it. Although the Roadmap could and was criticised — for instance, it appealed to people’s participation on surveys; it extracted information from existing technologies; but it didn’t plan to implement anything — it was better than the alternative: having no information on what a “metaverse” should look like.
During Virtual World 2008, what suddenly happened was that the Metaverse went through an “identity crisis”, as Hiro Pendragon so aptly named it. Put into other words: apparently, the industry is not aligned with what the “Metaverse” is supposed to be. They have forked and gone different roads.
One or many Metaverses?
Neal Stephenson’s original idea of a Metaverse seemed to indicate a “single” environment, with differing uses. Although the Metaverse Roadmap tends to talk about “integrating separate technologies”, the ultimate goal would be a single, unified virtual environment, even if with multiple purposes — from socialising to gaming, from research to teaching, from simulation to augmented reality. What was expected was a certain “convergence” of technologies towards that ultimate goal, not unlike what happened with “online networks” that ultimately fused in what we broadly classify as the Internet today.| | | Next → |