Will big gaming eventually become big tech in the metaverse?

When people teleport themselves into the oasis, a parallel universe where they can change their identities, hang out, and forget about the troubles of everyday life, they are said to be escaping a horrendous world of global warming and economic mayhem in the science-fiction novel “ready player one,” which is set in 2045. The oasis is the creation of a gaming tycoon who has the best interests of everyone in mind, according to the book, which was published in 2011.

 Innovative Online Industries, on the other hand, is a nefarious internet behemoth that wants to take over the world and reap the benefits for itself. It is lurking in the shadows.

This “good vs. greedy” narrative is echoed by Tim Sweeney, the founder of Epic Games and developer of the online-gaming blockbuster “Fortnite,” when he speaks about the metaverse, according to the New York Times. The concept is popular in Silicon Valley, where it is hailed as the “next great thing” in the world of the internet. No one is quite sure what the term means; at its most futuristic, the oasis is a very appropriate analogue for the kind of technological utopia that some tech utopians envision. 

For the time being, suffice it to suggest that if you believe you have spent more than enough time online during the covid-19 pandemic, you should reconsider. The metaverse, which will make use of virtual and augmented reality, avatars, and lifelike computer graphics, will further blur the lines between people’s online and actual lives. It should come as no surprise that big tech is salivating at the possibility of still more spheres of human existence becoming accessible to data extraction.

Mr Sweeney creates a mini-metaverse for the 350 million monthly users of “Fortnite,” immersing them not only in fantasy, but also in virtual pop concerts and other activities. But he is adamant about not reaping the benefits of this bright future from today’s Silicon Valley elite. His mission, unlike any other, is to foster vibrant competition, equitable remuneration for creators, and economic efficiency on the internet. How genuine — or real — is it?

Do you have a lot of old Roblox?

Mr Sweeney’s apparent generosity should not be taken for granted. Epic and other gaming companies may one day strive to control a three-dimensional internet, similar to how large technology in two dimensions strives to control a two-dimensional internet. According to Daniel Newman of Futurum Research, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and Amazon began delivering distinct services in the 1980s, and by the 2010s, all of the tech behemoths were struggling for open competition against incumbents. As their positions of authority grew stronger, their missionary zeal waned. It’s difficult to imagine a world that doesn’t last, no matter how far into the future it is.


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