When Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced in October that he was changing the name of the social-media network’s parent company to Meta Platforms in order to help create an alternative digital reality known as the metaverse, he was mercilessly mocked. To some, he was generating a smokescreen to distract attention from a political furore. To others, he was merely the latest middle-aged tech billionaire to chase a childhood fantasy, much as Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Tesla’s Elon Musk were doing with space rockets.
The British newspaper “Economist” said – in a report – that other technology giants such as Microsoft are planning to weave on the metaverse, but only major companies that are still under the control of their founders have better chances of becoming a leader in this the field. At the top of this list is Mark Zuckerberg, who has a net worth of $125 billion and almost completely controls a company with a market value of $908 billion.
We also find Jin Soon Huang, co-founder and CEO of Nvidia, a graphics processor company, with a market capitalization of $722 billion. This is in addition to Ma Huateng, CEO of Tencent, a Chinese technology giant with a market value of $550 billion, whose gaming investment portfolio includes a 40% stake in Epic Games. Adding to the list Epic Games’ founder Tim Sweeney, who recently told Bloomberg that metaverse represented a multibillion-dollar opportunity, and that companies like his were racing to reach a billion users in order to define future Metaverse standards.
The magazine stated that the battle of billionaires over Metaverse is on its way to become like a race for the conquest of space between Bezos and Musk, but instead of competing in rocket science, they will compete in the manufacture of virtual reality headsets, “Blockchain”, cryptocurrency and computing capabilities.
Will there be a futuristic world entirely consuming virtual reality, “Avatars”, ocean mansions and other electronic games that will make the real world a boring place compared to the virtual world? Or will Metaverse be just a richer and more impactful version of our current reality, a way to socialize, work, shop and play online even as life continues in the real world as usual?
The magazine reported that a look at the ambitions of the owners of Meta, Nvidia, Epic and Tencent companies gives us an idea of the scope of this project. For example, Zuckerberg has committed $10 billion this year to developing virtual and augmented reality headsets and glasses that he hopes will provide a dominant access point to Metaverse, much as Apple’s iPhone do with the mobile web.
For its part, NVIDIA has focused on what it calls “Omniverse,” a technology that helps bring engineers, designers and other creative professionals virtually together to make products mostly in an industrial setting. Epic Games has been working – for years – to create virtual worlds, including the game Fortnite.
The magazine pointed out that the Unreal Engine may be the killer app for Metaverse, a platform that gives its and other developers the ability to create lifelike 3D experiences including games, movies, architectural models and industrial designs.
As for “Tencent”, which specializes in the field of games and the Internet, it is one of the dominant companies in China in this industry.
Ma Huateng is cautious in this market, given the apparent hostility the ruling Communist Party has shown to tech companies. But his company’s super popular We chat app, including We Chat Pay, is already a 2D version of what 3D metaverses could become.
Behind these companies’ future ambitions are some common experiences. First, the era of the mobile Internet appears to be coming to an end. In America and Europe, politicians threaten to impose tougher rules against monopolies and privacy violations, particularly against Facebook and Google.
In China, the technology industry is facing a crisis due to the government’s attack on it. Many factors have prompted first-generation technology leaders in America and China to distance themselves from the sector. As for the companies that have been able to withstand and resist, they need to invent products that enable them to impose their presence and dominance.
The magazine noted that Apple is a particular concern for Mark Zuckerberg and Tim Sweeney; The iPhone maker uses the iOS privacy settings to control how much Facebook can sell digital ads. For its part, Epic Games is fighting a monopoly against Apple over the fees that the App Store charges game developers, but its efforts have not been successful. That is why they both pledged to develop a common operating system as well as other common standards in order to be the architects of the operating systems of the future.
But competition will not remain monopolized by these companies for long. There is no doubt that telecom companies also want their share of this market, after they invested heavily in the fifth generation network, which is characterized by its high speed and short waiting period.
The magazine reported that fast-growing platforms such as ROBLOX offer their own gaming model that attracts 200 million monthly users, and has already captured the hearts of young adults. But many of the industry’s dislikes are proponents of developing more distributed technologies known as the third generation of the web, who argue that blockchain and cryptocurrency platforms are industries of the future.
But technology analyst Ben Thompson confirms that the use of these technologies will be greater in the world of metaverse.