A Common Vision Of The Metaverse, Still In The Making

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The Metaverse has become one of the most talked about future concepts. Several organisations are already exploring and even investing in what is known as the metaverse. Yet it remains unclear at this point what the metaverse is and what full opportunities it presents.

The August 2022 report released by KPMG China: “Exploring the metaverse”, provides insights into the metaverse and some of its applications and highlights the challenges that impact bringing the metaverse concept into reality.

Whereas consensus on what the metaverse is varying, according to the KPMG China report: “Discussions in the industry suggest that the metaverse represents a real-time online network empowered by the integration of different technologies, including blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI) and interactive sensing technologies”. 

According to the report: “The metaverse is an ecosystem created through the interaction between the digital and physical worlds and is expected to have a profound impact on people’s livelihoods and work, business operations and the economic environment in general”.

On the application of the metaverse, the report states that: “The metaverse can be widely applied on the consumer side, the enterprise side and the government side. Overall, it will profoundly impact areas such as entertainment, shopping, remote work, finance, manufacturing, city governance and R&D. It will bring about changes to economies and business models that may lead to the emergence of new ways of doing business”.

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The KPMG China report further states that: “Although the technologies underpinning it are still in their early stages, we expect the metaverse to impact a range of industries once it moves into full swing, especially in the following ten areas: entertainment, social networking, retail, manufacturing, finance, health care, remote work, training and education, research and development, and city governance”. 

The development of the metaverse presents several challenges. The KPMG report highlights some of the key challenges: “At present, there are many important issues affecting the future development of the metaverse, particularly in the following five areas: technological breakthroughs, lifestyles, social ethics, privacy and data security, and legislation and supervision”.

There are also differing views on the metaverse. In response to a tweet on the metaverse, the Ethereum co-founder, Vitalik Buterin, said: “The “metaverse” is going to happen, but I don’t think any of the existing corporate attempts to create the metaverse intentionally are going anywhere”. American entrepreneur, Mark Cuban, said of the metaverse: “It is anything you want It to be”. Cuban further stated: “People that focus on VR want it to be the metaverse. Others want Web3 to be the metaverse. There is no rhyme or reason to it yet”.

The metaverse market is expected to increase over the next decade, hence organisations’ high level of interest. A report by The Brainy Insights projects the global metaverse market to grow from US$39.25 billion in 2021 to US$993.86 billion by 2030. Future developments are likely to provide a clearer vision of the metaverse.

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