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The Metaverse Rush

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The metaverse, a term created from words meta and universe, is a kind of digital backbone of the physical world, accessible via the Internet. Thanks in particular to virtual and augmented reality, it should make it possible to increase human interactions by freeing them from physical constraints.

Considered the next big leap in the evolution of the Internet, this concept imagined by science fiction almost 30 years ago has become a new horizon of development.

There is a good chance that there are several metaverse, a multitude of immersive experiences offered in several points., tells Agence France-Presse (AFP) Nicolas Reffait, partner in charge of media at BearingPoint.

It is not the sense of the story that there is only one metaverse carrying all the experiences. By nature, we do not imagine that it can be possessed, he adds.

The US tech giants, headed by Meta, have already launched big maneuvers.

Billions of dollars and thousands of hires

Renamed Meta, Mark Zuckerberg’s group aims to establish itself as the creator of a benchmark universal digital space, like the Apple App Store or Google’s search engine.

To achieve this, it plans to invest tens of billions of dollars each year and hire 10,000 people within five years in Europe.

However, the other GAFAMs (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft) do not intend to stay on the sidelines, like Microsoft and its corporate metaverse.

On the occasion of its annual conference for the professional community, the company announced last Tuesday the launch of Mesh, a new feature in the Teams software that will appear, during the year 2022, in the form of ‘a personalized avatar instead of activating the video.

Two holograms are around a table with a person wearing a headset.

The Mesh platform will allow colleagues to meet virtually.

Photo: Microsoft

On the same business niche, processor champion Nvidia has already launched its Omniverse platform, which intends to enable international 3D design teams working on several software suites. collaborate in real time in a shared virtual space.

Video games become social networks

More than just free online video games, Roblox, Minecraft and Fortnite have become entertainment platforms, where gamers can lead a parallel social life.

They could thus shake up the hegemony of social networks like Instagram, TikTok or Snapchat and strengthen their ambition to build their own metaverse.

Epic Games, the publisher of Fortnite, has indicated that part of the billion US dollars (1.3 billion Canadian dollars) raised this year from wallets would be devoted to its development.

Virtual experiences to reach a younger audience

First concrete taste: the virtual concerts of international stars like the American rapper Travis Scott or the pop singer Zara Larsson, which have been watched by tens of millions of gamers online.

On a television screen, a virtual version of rapper Travis Scott dances.

An excerpt from Travis Scott’s virtual concert broadcast on the “Fortnite” video game platform.

Photo: AFP / Frazer Harrison

It’s an incredible opportunity to connect with a younger audience. It really is the future, pleaded the Swedish singer, last week at the Web Summit.

It is also an opportunity to multiply their sources of income: if an admirer of Zara Larsson has the opportunity to buy a sweater with his effigy at the exit of his physical concerts, it is now possible to spend his money in the singer’s virtual store on Fortine to dress his avatar with collectible sunglasses.

On Decentraland, an online platform considered to be one of the precursors of the metaverse, it is possible to purchase virtual plots of land in the form of NFTs (digital certificates of authenticity for online content) with an associated cryptocurrency called MANA .

Several other young shoots are trying to follow in his footsteps, such as The Sandbox, which has just raised 93 million US dollars (116 million Canadian dollars) from an investment group.

In South Korea, a coalition of companies and public bodies was formed in May under the leadership of the Ministry of Science to avoid dependence on transnational actors foreigners, according to Nicolas Reffait.

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