Vishal Shah, Meta’s VP of Metaverse, believes the “metaverse hype is dead,” suggesting global conglomerates including Disney, Microsoft, and other firms, are putting their metaverse ambitions on hold for the moment.
Is Metaverse Really Dead?
At the Fortune Brainstorm Tech event in Utah on Tuesday, Shah specified in 2021, Facebook rebranded as Meta, hoping to make its mark on the virtual realm with its very own metaverse, pumping a staggering $36 billion into its Reality Labs division. However, despite the hype, things didn’t go as planned and the entire metaverse turned out to be a financial sinkhole for the company.
Vishal Shah has new priorities amid the metaverse bust. https://t.co/l1Gty4fkWf
— FORTUNE (@FortuneMagazine) July 12, 2023
Regardless of the metaverse woes that have continued to batter the tech giant, Shah clarified that “it’s not the metaverse itself that perished, but rather the hype surrounding it.” He noted the metaverse market appears bleak from an outsider’s viewpoint, as divisions continue to shut down at an alarming rate, including Disney and Microsoft.
For instance, Disney recently abandoned its metaverse ambitions, leaving behind shattered dreams of a virtual wonderland. Microsoft also bid farewell to a social virtual-reality platform it acquired in 2017, putting an end to its own metaverse adventure.
Disney has abandoned a plan to develop its own membership program like Amazon Prime, according to @RWhelanWSJ.
— Scott Gustin (@ScottGustin) March 28, 2023
Many other tech companies have also inched away from the metaverse. In February, a Reuters report said that the world’s largest video game publisher Tencent Holdings would be shuttering plans to venture into virtual reality hardware.
The Metaverse isn’t Dead, the Hype is
Despite a long line of metaverse mockery and skepticism, Shah believes the metaverse isn’t dying or already dead, He claimed that everyone has just been looking in the wrong direction. The VP asserted there are a lot of exciting new developments in store for Meta’s metaverse in the near future including the hotly anticipated “Meta Quest 3”, a next-generation virtual- and mixed-reality headset.
Commenting on the current state of the metaverse, Shah feels the metaverse is still an inconceivably vast and massive opportunity that is at a fledgling phase. He described the virtual realm as an iterative process that will take a definitive shape over many years.
In addition, the Meta vice president stated he is happy to witness the hype surrounding the Metaverse is dead and not the actual Metaverse. He added,
“I think the metaverse hype is dead. I think we were in a hype cycle. Like any new thing, and those invested last year, because it wasn’t the hype. We didn’t invest for the hype, we have been investing in the space for years.”
The Definition of Metaverse is Not Clear
This comes shortly after Meta CTO Andrew Bosworth – who runs the company’s metaverse development division, Reality Labs – hosted an “ask-me-anything” session, suggesting the term “metaverse” isn’t clear and people are still confused, citing “It does lack definition because we haven’t given it full definition yet.”
Meta's CTO was asked whether the term 'metaverse' did more harm than good. He chuckled and compared it to the early confusion over the word 'internet.' https://t.co/mWvfmgH0jo
— Insider Business (@BusinessInsider) July 12, 2023
He, further, explained the confusion, comparing the ambiguity around the definition of the metaverse to the confusion people experienced in the early 1990s when they were making sense of the internet. Chiming in along the same tune, Frank Guan, Assistant Professor at the Singapore Institute of Technology explained,
“Some people try to say that it’s just like virtual reality and also augmented reality. But some people also link it with something like Web 3.0. It is quite common that different people (when) they talk about metaverse, they have a different kind of a definition or understanding.”
Global Firms Amplify Efforts to Build Metaverse
Over the recent few years, the metaverse has been witnessing explosive traction with Fortune 500 companies investing tens of thousands of dollars in the space. As per a recent survey, the global metaverse market size is poised to grow to a whopping $322.02 billion by 2030, at a CAGR of 47.2%.
The report also stated the burgeoning virtual world is attracting significant investment from venture capitalists and other investors. This investment is driving the development of new products and services within the metaverse, and is likely to continue as the market matures.
These recent developments cement the fact that the metaverse is not dead, instead, use cases will continue to grow as it has the potential to change the way users and businesses connect, interact and enhance digital security.