Facebook risks missing the point of metaverse – and a coming shift in consumers’ behaviour – if it fails to permit digital ownership, according to some of the virtual world’s pioneers.
The social media giant made waves last month by changing its name to Meta Platforms and announcing a focus on the buzzy “metaverse”.
However, with few details beyond the rebrand, metaverse participants doubt it is ready to embrace the spirit driving creativity and profit in the space.
“What Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is doing with meta…is a ‘fake metaverse,’ unless they actually have a real description as to how we can truly own it,” said Yat Siu, chairman and co-founder of Animoca Brands, an investor in and builder of metaverse platforms, speaking on a panel at the Reuters Next conference.
“Until then, it’s just Disneyland. It’s a beautiful place to be, but we probably don’t want to really live there. It’s not the kind of place that we can actually build a business.”
The metaverse refers to an array of shared spaces accessed via the internet. Some use augmented reality, via smart glasses, though current platforms often look more like the inside of a video game than real life.
Serious money is sloshing around in there, with a patch of “real estate” in an online world called Decentraland changing hands for the equivalent of $2.4 million last week.
Such plots and other virtual objects typically transact blockchain-based assets called non-fungible tokens (NFTs), sales of which topped $10 billion in the September quarter, according to market tracker DappRadar.
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