Click here to participate in a Q&A about Making a Metaverse That Matters on Inkwell, the public conference on books for The WELL, the legendary online community forum. (Starting now and for the next two weeks.) It's viewable to everyone online, but if you want to pose questions and aren't a WELL member, you can still e-mail them to inkwell at well dot com.
We're already jamming along, here's some favorite thoughts so far:
Are multiuser online games part of the Metaverse?
No, not unless they have all the features outlined in the definition, or are striving to add them.
A perfect example here is Fortnite, which began as a multi-player online game, and gradually evolved to have more and more metaverse features — there's now a Fortnite Creative mode, where players can create completely new experiences, and also make real money from them. Also the real world economy started coming *into* the Fortnite, in the form of top recording artists like Travis Scott, and major brands like the Marvel Comic Universe. None of this was an accident: Tim Sweeney, CEO of Fortnite publisher Epic, has been inspired by the Metaverse of "Snow Crash" since the start of his career.
What's preventing VR from going mass market?
The biggest barrier to VR adoption relates to a revelation that I think is one of the most important in the book: There is strong evidence that biological females tend to get nauseous using VR headsets. danah boyd, a leading tech academic, pointed this out when Facebook/Meta acquired Oculus in 2014. But as far as we know, Meta DID NOT RESEARCH THIS FURTHER AT ALL.
I was shocked, asking danah about this in 2022. Hardly anyone in the industry contacted her about it, even after 2 subsequent academic studies validated this. So that's one major reason why VR won't be broadly adopted. Kinda hard to make that happen when it tends to make half the population literally puke!
Meta did research VR motion sickness in general but didn't look into varieties of reaction based on biological sex. I've asked several Meta engineers about the motion sickness issue, and they started talking about correcting motion sickness with better frame rates, graphics quality, etc. But then when I asked about a sex difference, they drew a blank. Except when I asked Cory Ondrejka, who got Zuckerberg to acquire Oculus — he said yep, that's an issue Meta should look into! (But hasn't.)
Much more here, especially if you ask a question yourself!
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