“The Metaverse is dead”… That’s the bold claim made by Ed Zitron in an article for Business Insider. Several people sent me this article and asked if I felt like I wasted my life. Frankly, it made me laugh. The article garnered so much attention because the assertion is utterly absurd, and it highlights our tendency to skim attention-grabbing headlines rather than delving into the full context.
People tend to only read headlines.
According to The Washington Post, a staggering 60% of individuals admit to solely reading news headlines. This presents a significant problem in our clickbait-driven world, where catchy headlines and fear-inducing captions often lead readers to form opinions based on a single sentence rather than empirical data from authorities. We must develop a habit of inquiring whether people have read the entire article or statement, rather than relying solely on the headline.
Fads are not always fads.
Throughout history, there have been numerous instances of things being dismissed as fads, only to become integral parts of society. Examples include TV, radio, newspapers, electricity, hip-hop, airplane travel, and, of course, the internet. At one time or another, some individuals saw these innovations and confidently proclaimed that they would never last or be inconsequential. However, these naysayers simply lacked the imagination to comprehend the profound impact these advancements would have on the world. Opinions do not always align with facts. As a futurist, I base my predictions on data, trends, and historical cycles. While a “gut feeling” may occasionally play a role, it would be foolish to rely solely on intuition when making predictions.
What exactly is the Metaverse?
The Metaverse is a byproduct of the third generation of the internet, which we are still years away from fully realizing. It is challenging to declare something dead, failed, or inconsequential before it has even had a chance to come to fruition. For the Metaverse to exist, we still require significant technological advancements, such as interoperability, widespread adoption of tokenized assets, and the development of robust infrastructure capable of handling the vast amount of data necessary to support these systems. Currently, we have virtual worlds that are often confused with the grand vision of the Metaverse. Platforms like Meta Horizons, Decentraland, and Spatial will eventually contribute to the Metaverse, but they should not be mistaken as standalone “Metaverses.” Many of the technologies Zitron claimed to replace the Metaverse are part of the same ecosystem that will help make it.
On a side note, I have written a comprehensive newsletter called “Defining the Metaverse,” where I delve into this concept in greater detail.
The Business Insider article made a critical assumption. While Meta Horizons may not be performing as well as anticipated, it does not represent the entire industry. It seems peculiar to evaluate an entire industry based on the success of a single company. That would be akin to claiming that if Yahoo were to collapse, the internet would cease to exist. In the early years of the internet, many deemed it a failure due to its lack of mass adoption. However, a few years later, the internet experienced a significant boom, followed by the dot-com bubble burst. Eventually, it firmly established itself as a vital component of our world. While the internet faced challenges along the way, those who dismissed it early on are now recognized for their poor judgment in reporting. Similarly, anyone who currently asserts that the Metaverse is a fad or makes premature judgments will likely be proven historically incorrect.
The Metaverse is still in its conception stage, and while it faces technological hurdles, it holds immense potential to revolutionize the way we interact with technology and the world. So let’s not fall into the trap of premature judgment and declare the Metaverse dead before it’s even had a chance to thrive.