What is Metaverse, Facebook’s new bet?

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Updated Oct 18: Facebook has announced that it wants to hire 10,000 people within five years in the European Union to work on its “metaverse,” a parallel digital universe. “This investment is a vote of confidence in the strength of the European tech industry and the potential of European tech talent,” Britain’s Nick Clegg and Spain’s Javier Olivian, two of the group’s chief executives, said in a blog post. On the nature and location of jobs.

We only betray ourselves. At the end of July, in a summer’s slumber with the feint of autumn, Mark Zuckerberg buried without flowers or the coronation of our good old web – who made his fortune nonetheless – in a long interview on US site The Verge. For the head of Facebook, the mobile internet is said to be living its last spring and will without hesitation abdicate its throne to virtual worlds, where our avatars can happily enjoy.

One suspects it, the 37-year-old billionaire intends to turn his social network into a new promised virtual land. Or, to use the term scientifically coined by the initiators, the metaverse. A concept developed by science fiction author Neal Stephenson in his religious novel virtual samurai, who inspired ready player one, Spielberg’s groundbreaking movie. Obviously a 3D universe, accessible via a virtual reality (VR) headset, where it will be possible to chat with friends, attend concerts, visit museums, play video games and even work. Shortly after the interview with its founder, Facebook also revealed Horizon Workrooms, a virtual meeting room where you can interact with your colleagues’ avatars thanks to the Oculus Quest 2, a virtual reality helmet marketed by Menlo Park.

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20% of Facebook employees are already working on the future Metaverse

Zuk wants to go fast. He gives himself five years, no more, “for people to view us above all as a company from the metaverse.” More than 10,000 Facebook employees are already working on building her awesome project, 20% of the total workforce! Why such a rush when the social network publishes historic results (10.4 billion profits in the last quarter alone)? It’s first a signal to the market: ‘I’m on the move, and I’m changing the business model,’ says John Blassard, chief investment officer at Mirapod. Because, as profitable as it is, Facebook has become old-fashioned among young people. Not content with modernizing it, diving into the metaverse is It would allow him to sell his Oculus headphones on a large scale (350 euros each) and could give him the opportunity to relaunch his crypto project.Dim (former Libra), which was suspended after US protests, should logically establish itself as the official currency of Zuckerberg’s new kingdom .

But Facebook is not alone in the world – it is virtual as it is. For nearly twenty years, Second Life has already offered gamers the opportunity to create avatars to roam their 3D world, then using a simple joystick. A game that specialists call the first mainstream game. “For the 2007 presidential election, Segolene Royal’s avatar came to hold a meeting there, while the UMP created Sarkozy Island there,” recalls Stanislas Barthelemy, a consultant at KPMG’s Blockchain Partner.

“We realized that people spend more time in the lobby, where you can customize your avatar, and chat with each other, rather than playing games”

Fortnite account will be necessary

The game has since fallen into disrepair. Others carried the torch in unexpected ways. This is especially the case with Fortnite (Epic Games), a “battle royale” where 350 million players around the world can happily tear each other apart. “We realized that people are spending more time in the lobby, where you can customize your avatar, chatting with each other, than playing games,” stresses Nicholas Board, director of blockchain research and head of foresight at Ubisoft. “With concerts by Travis Scott and then Ariana Grande (in the form of avatars) collecting millions of fans, Fortnite has dug a little more furrow the metaverse,” continues Florian Fresenet, CEO of TheDiggers, who specializes in investing in virtual worlds.

A platform like Roblox, which attracts teens hugely by allowing them to enjoy many self-created games, is also seen as an embryo of the metaverse, where you can roam there for the simple fun of “swap”. The digital socialization that has grown with the pandemic and its frequent confinement.

“Republic Realm paid over $900,000 to buy land in Decentraland and build a mall there”

But recently, imagined universes have appeared, from their perception, as real metaverses. “There are already several hundred of them and more are being created every day,” Florian Fresenet explains. If its design remains basic, the possibilities are endless. Let’s take the direction of Decentraland, the most popular at the moment, even if its “population” is still counted only in thousands of individuals, and look at its cadastral of 90,000 plots. Want a second home? Calculate €4,000 – compared to €1,000 in 2018 – for a bare digital plot of land (equivalent to 256 square metres), and a few thousand additional euros for 3D designers to build your house there. Unless you see bigger? Decentraland is already attracting many real estate developers who are specialized in the digital field. “The Kingdom of the American Republic has spent more than $900,000 to purchase a lot of land there in order to develop a shopping mall, Mitagoku, similar to the shopping district in Tokyo,” says Stanislas Barthelemy.

Big brands want to be a part of it

Village squares and metaverses are also potential market places. The prestigious Sotheby’s has opened a gallery in Decentraland, where you can buy digital artwork at exorbitant prices, while Domino’s Pizza has set up a branch there where you can order delivery in … the real world. For its part, Roblox’s Gucci has launched a limited edition of virtual bags ($4115 each!) that sell like hot cakes. Besides these big brands, brands entirely dedicated to virtual reality are also spreading. “RTFKT (pronounced Artefact) works with young creators to decorate avatars. It might surprise you, but if you spend a good portion of your day tomorrow in virtual worlds, you’ll want your digital pair to be awesome!” Expected Nicolas Poire.

New world, new professions. In South Asia, and particularly in the Philippines, Axie Infinity allows players to specialize in crossing creatures, sometimes to make a better living than their parents by recreating new species. “Mutual funds even offer $2,000 scholarships — enough to buy a few creatures — in exchange for a commission on the player’s future earnings,” Stanislas Barthelemy says. zapper? Simple appetizer. Consulting firm PwC predicts the metaverse economy will reach $1.5 trillion in 2030! A new economy based on NFTs (non-replaceable token), Tokens that guarantee the authenticity and uniqueness of each virtual commodity thanks to blockchain technology. This would make it possible to make virtual worlds interoperable… so that you can wear your precious Gucci bag wherever you want.

The danger of contracting a phobia in the real world

New horizons are as exhilarating as they are disturbing. warns Michael Stora, psychologist and author of the book (a) Social networks. Discover the dark side of algorithms. This is why I prefer betting on augmented reality – like Pokémon Go – which is more rooted in reality. “Psychiatrist Serge Tesseron, member of the Academy of Technology, is less worrisome.” This would not be suitable for children under 12, because the brains are not able to regulate strong emotions, but I do not believe in dystopia ready player one, Where people escape from the real world by resorting to virtual reality: humans have an appetite for the body, the existence of the other.”

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Doesn’t this diminish the importance of digital power, especially when it is controlled remotely by Facebook? “Their business model is an attention economy: the more time you spend on the social network, the more ads you see, and the more money they earn. And they’ll do everything they can to develop a super addictive style,” laments Guillaume Chaslot, repentant ex-Google, founder of the AlgoTransparency Association. As the saying goes, don’t change the winning team…



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