2 min read

The Two Sides of the Metaverse Coin

What metaverse narrative do you subscribe to? The one where Zuckerberg made a horrible mistake rebranding and wasted $36 billion leading the company down a dead end. Or the one where we’re on the cusp of the next great change to the Internet and the biggest opportunities we’ve had in over a decade.

Obviously, I’m on the latter side. I’m bullish on the metaverse for a variety of reasons you can read here. But not everyone is so optimistic about this being the time we get immersive reality right.

Virtual reality has been hovering on the cusp of success for decades now, never quite able to attract the masses. In an essay written for WIRED just before Facebook became Meta, writer and academic David Karpf outlined how the culture-shaking promise of VR had repeatedly failed to materialize, despite major advances in hardware and software.

“The technology is always about to turn a corner, about to be more than just a gaming device, about to revolutionize fields like architecture, defense, and medicine. The future of work, entertainment, travel, and society is always on the verge of a huge virtual upgrade,” he wrote, arguing that the problem boils down to the simple fact that “swinging a virtual sword gets tiring pretty quickly.” – Wired

Then you hear that VR headset sales in 2022 were down 2% since last year, when the industry needs to be on an upward trajectory, and you wonder if these doubts are justified.

This more ambitious vision for the metaverse—the full-fledged parallel world—is misguided. It hinges on this frankly strange assumption that people yearn to move further into a digitized facsimile of the real world, complete with real-estate bubbles, art speculation, and Zoom meetings. This is an assumption which has ample evidence against it. – Wired

Certainly, these opinions on the metaverse remind me of the scene from The Big Short where they explain synthetic CDOs, comparing it to an elaborate line of side bets on a blackjack hand. In other words, sometimes the metaverse doubting articles can cast a shadow that there are more people talking about and betting on the metaverse than people actually working on it or interested in using it.

Honestly, I start to believe this doubt in the metaverse occasionally.

But then I get on the road and I come across a lot of people who are thinking about the metaverse, searching for an idea to run with, or at least open to using the metaverse platforms. Or I go build a metaverse with A New Specimen, see some of the fascinating spaces metaverse creators are building, and I’m reminded of why I believe the metaverse will work this time.

The community of metaverse builders and enthusiasts is much stronger this time around. I know multiple business owners that shifted to providing metaverse consulting or design services and they’re crushing it. The Metaverse Handbook has taken me to three continents already, and I can confirm the international interest is there.

Whether or not you believe in Meta as the metaverse leader shouldn’t negate the fact that there are real opportunities in this space that you can capitalize on.

Ultimately, it comes down to your mindset. Where do you stand on the metaverse? What metaverse narrative are you choosing to pay attention to? And how is that limiting/expanding your opportunities?