On October 18, 2021, Meta (the parent company of Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram) announced plans to create 10,000 new jobs in the European Union over the next five years. This move was to invest in new talents and to help build the metaverse, a term used to describe a virtual world that is fully immersive and interactive.

However, just a year later, Mark Zuckerberg announced the loss of 11,000 jobs, triggering the first wave of redundancies and acknowledging that it was one of the most difficult changes in the history of the company. Meta’s investments in the metaverse market, which is valued at more than $120 billion, is expected to reach the level of the world’s third largest economy by 2030, behind the United States and China.

The metaverse project exceeds the ambitions of a single company, however large it may be. Virtual reality headsets can be used to enter metaverses and renowned retailers and brands such as Nike, Balenciaga, or Louis Vuitton have already positioned themselves in these virtual spaces. Companies such as Microsoft, Amazon, or Google have also confirmed their investments in the metaverse.

The perception of the metaverse is ambivalent and the factors that will contribute to its success are still being investigated. It’s important to note that the Metaverse is not just a virtual world, it’s much more than that, it’s the world of the future, where people can work, learn, play and socialize in a virtual environment where they can experience real-life like scenarios.

Why is the Metaverse Failing to Meet Expectations

One source of ambiguity surrounding the metaverse is that there is no consensus on its definition. The metaverse is still a developing concept, and it is unclear what it will ultimately encompass. The web 3, non-fungible tokens (NFT), and blockchain are all modern innovations that are closely related to the metaverse, but the lack of understanding of these technologies and the blurred boundaries between them and the metaverse make it difficult for the general public to comprehend.

In May 2022, a survey by Ipsos found that only 28% of French people were familiar with the concept of metaverses. Despite investments from large groups, states, and the EU, 62% of French people still do not see the value in virtual worlds. It is crucial to educate citizens to better understand the metaverse and its associated technologies. An interministerial report from the mission on the development of metaverses, published in October 2022, defines the metaverse as “an online service giving access to simulations of 3D time spaces that are real, shared, and persistent, in which we can experience immersive interactions.”

This definition places a focus on the virtual experience, but it’s worth noting that virtual reality headsets are not yet widely adopted and have limitations such as cost, battery life, and weight. In an effort to make the metaverse accessible to everyone, major players are offering the option to access it through a virtual reality headset, as well as through a web browser or mobile application. While immersion is seen as necessary by some, others argue that it could hinder the democratization of the metaverse.

An example of a metaverse: Roblox

file 20230122 24 l37y4i ixlib rb 1.1.0 q 45 auto format w 754 fit clip Challenges and Opportunities of the Metaverse

The figures circulating on the success of the metaverse are inflated by the popularity of massively multiplayer online games, but it’s worth considering whether these games can truly be considered as metaverses. This is a topic of debate, especially since some reports have highlighted low attendance on platforms commonly cited as metaverses, such as Decentraland and The Sandbox. Even if these figures have been contradicted, the level of engagement is not yet as high as expected.

One of the main challenges for the success of the metaverse is slow adoption. Major players have invested early and made long-term bets, but despite reaching a record 400 million monthly active users in 2022, mass adoption is still a long way off. Mark Zuckerberg has even suggested that the metaverse may not be profitable until 2030 at the earliest.

A study by Gartner estimates that 25% of people will spend one hour per day in the metaverse by 2026, and that its productivity peak will be reached in over a decade. Companies looking to improve productivity could drive adoption, as well as the acceleration of remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a report by Forrester, at least three of the four major solutions – Zoom, Slack, Webex, and Google Apps – will add metaverse-like functionality in 2023. A recent survey by PwC found that 51% of companies are integrating or have

Metaverse, the concept of virtual worlds, is still not meeting the expected success despite the high expectations from major players and investors. One of the main reasons is the lack of agreement on the definition of metaverse and the blurred boundaries between it and other technologies such as web 3, non-fungible tokens and blockchain. The lack of knowledge and understanding of these technologies among the general public is also a hindrance to its adoption.

For the metaverse to be successful, it must be interoperable, offer real-time interactions, and be energy efficient. Additionally, the tools should be easy to access and use, and not present unnecessary complexity. The metaverse must also address issues such as data theft, security and privacy concerns, and cybernetosis.

The gaming industry is a gateway to the metaverse and is popular among the younger generation, but struggles to attract other audiences. The future of the metaverse is in the hands of the younger generation, who are already actively participating in its construction.