Figuring out the metaverse’s purpose

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Here’s an interesting question. Did the crypto bubble inadvertently strangle the metaverse in the crib? TerraZero’s Brandon F. Johnson and Ryan Kieffer took to the GamesBeat Summit to talk about the metaverse, crypto, privacy and more.

We’re years into people trying to figure out what the metaverse is. By this point we should have some sort of idea. But it really feels like we just have a big list of what it isn’t.

We know the Web3 and crypto community loves the concept. We know NFTs got pushed as being a huge part of the metaverse. But nobody ever really explained why the average person should care about those.

What the metaverse isn’t

We know the metaverse isn’t a game. There’s dozens of examples of self-contained Metaverses out there that can be interacted with but not exactly played. We know it isn’t the future of crypto, either. The fatigue and negative opinions of crypto mean the metaverse can’t be, even if it’s supposed to be.

We know it isn’t unified. A unified metaverse would mean a lot of solved problems. But, even years later, everyone still wants their own slice of that particular pie, and nobody seems very interested in making any of those slices big.

“There are organizations like Metaverse Standards Forum … that are starting to do it,” said Kieffer. “There’s going to have to be a lot of coming together, at least on the start-up side and maybe the younger company side in order to come together and create these standards. Because if we don’t create the standards we definitely don’t think that the larger companies will be the ones opening their doors. I think we’re going to have to break through that.”

We know it isn’t something that will let users inherently control their own data. That’s something that might not be possible. But it’s definitely enough of an ask that everyone taking a shot at the Metaverse wants to try and guarantee it.

What the metaverse could be

It’s not all questions without answers. The metaverse might be a nebulous thing, but we do have some ideas about what it should be. We’ve got pretty commonly accepted thoughts on how to make it successful.

We know it shouldn’t be yet another avenue for big companies to harvest data. It needs unified standards. We want stuff to be able to exist across multiple virtual worlds. They could definitely use a purpose. It would be great if they were moral and ethical, and not just strange cash grabs.

“In the internet age, and going forward into the future of the internet,” said Johnson. “If we have that unification of ethics and values we can actually do a lot more, and bring a lot more value and acceleration of mass adoption.”

TerraZero’s got some ideas for a lot of those wants. Johnson points to an example of a child, waiting for a surgery, being given access to a hospital metaverse. The kid would be able to play through a simplified explanation of their impending surgery, in an effort to alleviate any kind of anxiety.

What if the reason we’re all burning out on the metaverse is because a fully realized metaverse isn’t actually for gamers? Maybe the purpose we’ve been trying to figure out isn’t even in entertainment, but in services.

Maybe we’ve got answers for a lot of the issues, if we just change how we’re looking at things.

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