A question I keep getting asked: Do you think the metaverse will change the gaming industry or how we game? My simple answer: staunch no. Video games are what is going to define what is the meta in Metaverse and arguably video games will give birth to the Metaverse in the first place.
Software in the Metaverse:
A Metaverse is a universe where all of us interact with a virtual world via virtual headsets (more on that later). A world where we can go to concerts, or just chat and hang out with friends while you buy virtual clothes using virtual currency to change the appearance of your avatar. Not a single one of these things you can do are new to gamers worldwide. Not only is this immensely common in large games, but all the above are already possible in a single game, like Fortnite.
Marshmello, the international DJ, literally hosted a concert 2 years ago, Inside The Game. This is a game that has been in the market since 2017. Virtual clothes (Skins) for players to customize their avatars or guns has been a primary source of revenue for most games. PlayStation Home was released in 2008 and had 41 million users at its peak. One could buy apartments and decorate with items purchased with real-world money while walking the streets lit up by billboards advertising soda pop or the latest game coming to the PlayStation. Companies paid real money for this advertising.
As large and small video game studios alike decide to establish their own metaverses or even consolidate and share resources to make a collaborative metaverse, it is video game companies that will decide what people will be able to do in the metaverse. Established studios will determine what blockchain technology they use and even what currency or crypto will operate in their universe. The fact that many of these studios have established player bases, with things to already do and buy and be advertised, is a huge edge they have as opposed to tech companies that will have to build their universes from scratch.
It would be ignorant to underestimate the brand equity some of these video game studios commands when it comes to establishing a new metaverse out of thin air. Roblox another popular game already considers itself a metaverse company. In the end, the biggest change we will see from the Metaverse, being mainstream, is that it will take time before people decide which video game publishers, married to a tech company, will be the one people will want to visit and spend time and money in.
A metaverse that doesn’t have worthwhile gaming related content, is a metaverse built to collapse. While people love the gimmick in the beginning, if there isn’t something that’s going to keep them spending a given amount of time, its value will recede. As opposed to a game with a hardcore community and following like Call of Duty, Fallout or the aforementioned Fortnite.
When it comes to the physical virtual reality headsets; that will have to wait a while. Headsets and the equipment needed to access a Metaverse universe through virtual reality can be expensive. No one is running out of their houses to go buy VR headsets for themselves, with a possible exception of Oculus (by Facebook AKA, META). Every single VR headset either requires a very powerful gaming PC or a PlayStation 4 or 5 (for PS VR2). Building a gaming PC or buying a PlayStation 5 right now is very challenging with the entire world suffering from supply chain issues and semi-conductor shortages.
The GPUs required to build a gaming PC are being purchased for mining Cryptocurrencies instead of being available to consumers. And this is just to buy to the base system (high-end gaming PC or Video game console) to which you will have to connect your VR headset to. The immense computing power needed to run these Metaverses at this time for both businesses and consumers, itself is a turnoff.
Until there is a leap in technology, people will be just fine accessing the Metaverse via their PC, mobile phone, or Video Game console like they already do. In addition, Virtual reality forces a person to look at only a single screen. No gamer or young person of the newer generations, that are driven by multiple sources of stimulation, would be drawn to something that requires them to take off their headset to look at their phone.
VR largely failed with gamers. If gamers don’t adopt it no one will. Unless an enterprise with capabilities like Apple decides to bring non-gamers to try a VR headset built by Apple integrated with our iphones and all its apps in the Metaverse with the same ease as the real world. VR will not become the main way we interact with the metaverse for quite some time. For the time being, video game hardware will continue to define what the metaverse will be.
The author of the article is Jayaditt Basani, the CEO and Creative Director of Bangalore based Tentworks Interactive.