During this pandemic, I can't think of anything more exciting than exploring the metaverse, the universe of virtual worlds that are all connected, like in novels like Snowfall and Ready player one.
It is that the same goal as Epic GamesThe Fortnite maker is reportedly chasing as well as numerous other companies that spoke at our recent GamesBeat Summit event. I've thought about it and get impatient when someone does this. So much so that I would like to organize a special GamesBeat Summit event that is exclusively devoted to the idea of building the metaverse. (Ping me about it.)
The only problem is that nobody has exactly the same idea of what the metaverse is.
At our event, Matthew Ball from Epyllion Industries said that opinions differ and the most complete version of it is not technically achievable today. Those who say they do have not yet delivered all of the substance. Still, it should be a constant, living, synchronous, living universe where you feel like you are in a different place.
An advanced version of Fortnite may not be too far from the early version of the Metaverse. Epic Games recently hosted Travis Scott's concert in Fortnite, which attracted 27.7 million viewers. And last night Epic premiered in Fortnite where Christopher Nolan showed a trailer of his new film principleand said he will premiere the entire film in Fortnite this summer. While other companies are still debating the metaverse, Epic just goes out and builds it, one big event after another.
This makes us feel so temptingly close to the metaverse. Still, it came forever. I'm just wondering if we'll get it sooner because the pandemic will push us, including game developers, to the limits of boredom. I mean, wouldn't it be disappointing if Zoom turned out to be the only practical metaverse? Something has to be better than zoom, right?
I don't think this newfound hope for metaverse is just my own imagination. In an interview, I asked Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia, if he thought the metaverse would come soon – and maybe earlier because of the corona virus – and what it would look like.
"The answer is absolutely yes," he said. "I think it's time and it won't be. We'll have a whole bunch of metaverses. Everyone will be based on the stories you like. There will be some based on Minecraft, Fortnite, Battlefield or Call of Duty "There are all sorts of styles and personalities. You will see one based on The Witcher, one based on Warcraft and all sorts of genres. There will be hundreds of metaverses. That is the exciting part of it."
At the summit, Sam Englebardt, managing partner of Galaxy Interactive, agreed that he believes we would see a "multiverse" or a collection of many different worlds or universes.
What has to happen
Roblox has his own view of building the metaverse, as Matt Curtis, vice president of developer relationships, said at our summit.
This is one of the most important requirements for metaverse. You need to have a large audience that can lead you through the desert to the promised land of the Metaverse. Roblox has more than 115 million active players per month enjoying over 2 billion hours of UGC gameplay per month. Roblox raised $ 150 million in February based on its user base in a round led by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. You can lead many users into their version of the Metaverse, and Curtis' lecture has shown that they are serious.
As he said in his speechCurtis noticed that a lot of things have to happen. First, it has to be a constant world or a place you can visit it again and again, and it's the same world. You need a sense of identity. You need an underlying social fabric. It has to be big and diverse. The experience must be haunting and smooth. The economy has to be integrated and the places have to run according to rules and order.
To get there, Roblox is working on platform technology, developer tools and developer economics. Curtis said that immersive 3D experiences have to be dynamic, where the worlds can change, even though they are persistent. These should run on any platform, such as consoles or PC or cell phones, he said. Everything you create in these factories should work seamlessly with these platforms. It's hard to solve this problem, but it's the key, Curtis said.
Identity is also a fundamental element of the metaverse. You should be able to create a high fidelity avatar with little difficulty. This avatar should be able to express real emotions, which is a prerequisite for really immersing yourself in a world. The developer tools must enable players to build worlds quickly and easily. Large teams should be able to work on things together, even if they are in different places.