Over the next 3-5 years, what are the challenges and limitations of the Metaverse? Which companies are leading and positioned for first-mover advantage in this space? Why?
PROFESSOR OF TECHNOLOGY MANAGEMENT & AUTHOR ON TECHNOLOGY CHANGE
Drastic improvements in today’s telecoms networks, integrated circuit performance, and VR performance are needed before the Metaverse will work, and then finding useful applications will begin. Both home networks and cellular networks aren’t yet ready for the Metaverse. Low latency and higher upload and download speeds are needed to make applications work, particularly if virtual reality headsets are to be used. The VR headsets are also currently too big and bulky for most users and a big breakthrough is needed to make them smaller. Currently making them smaller reduces the field of view (because of Etendue) and thus a big breakthrough in optics is needed. Finally, better connectivity requires better ICs and this will be hard because there has been a slowdown in Moore’s Law.
TECHNOLOGY POLICY ADVISOR & ATTORNEY
Regulatory hurdles (publisher protection, intermediary liability, etc.), content moderation, mass equipment production (due to silicon supply chain crunch) are the biggest challenges facing the Metaverse in the next 3-5 years. Adoption challenges like onboarding, supply, and infrastructure reliability will follow these primary challenges. Facebook, Microsoft, and Snap are leading the charge in the Metaverse space due to their extensive experience and acquisitions of related technologies like AR, VR, Social World Building. Other companies like Epic (Gaming), Nvidia (multiple usages), Unity (multiple usages), and Roblox (social gaming) are also competing for first mover advantage. Google’s and Apple’s Metaverse ambitions are relatively tame and are in research stages, working towards hardware side.
FOUNDER OF A TECHNOLOGY VENTURE CAPITAL FIRM
The challenges and limitations of the Metaverse over the next 3-5 years include the following: 1) Access to advanced digital technologies that form the basic infrastructure for smooth functioning of the Metaverse (e.g. 5G, fiber internet, etc.) is limited to the elite internet ecosystems, due to price and availability. This reduces the total addressable market for the Metaverse significantly. 2) Security and privacy concerns as more user data is collected in the Metaverse; 3) Identity theft; 4) Digital currency and payment systems for the Metaverse are still very nascent; 5) Ownership and IP issues in the Metaverse. Companies with early mover advantage in the Metaverse across different sectors include: 1) in infrastructure, Fastly and Nvidia (Omniverse); 2) in virtual, hardware and apps, Facebook (Meta), Roblox, and Nike (Nikeland); 3) in software, Autodesk, Unity, Microsoft (Mesh), and Matterport; 4) in payments, Shopify.