A metaverse or promise of a brand new gold rush for internet giants

A greener and more fraternal world, less unequal and proud of care … As soon as the Covid-19 pandemic hit in 2020, everyone projected their “world after”, acting as a horizon for overcoming the crisis. No one imagined that everything could converge on metaverses. Immersive platforms that have crystallized the achievements of the last ten years: social networks, online games, e-commerce, the cloud and therefore telecommuting.

The last attempt at a metaverse dates back to 2003 with “Second Life”, before it collapsed due to the 2008 financial crisis and competition from young Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg’s social network is maneuvering on its own to create this impressive world, this time in virtual reality, and with a lot of dollars: 13 billion has already been invested in thirteen months. And he is not the only one pushing in that direction. Epic Games, the publisher of Fortnite and considered a forerunner of the metaverse – especially after Travis Scott’s virtual concert amid the health crisis – followed suit with $ 2 billion invested with Lego to create a new platform. The Andreessen Horowitz Fund has completed a record $ 4.5 billion fundraiser so as not to miss the next lump in the sector.

The next big platform

Spread the word. “The Metaverse is the next major technology platform to attract social media and online game publishers,” predicts Bloomberg, which estimates the sector at $ 800 billion in 2024 versus $ 500 billion in 2020. At this stage, it must be understood that this is a market that is shaped at the crossroads of two worlds: the one of Web 2.0, embodied by Meta here, but also “Fortnite”, “Roblox” and “Minecraft” or “World of Warcraft” – the latter belongs to Microsoft. And Web3, a new blockchain-based paradigm.

Metaverse is the next big technology platform that attracts social networks and online game publishers.

Bloomberg

For Pierre-François Marteau of BCG, Web 2.0 players combine three main strengths: “an already very strong installed base, the best talent and a lot of resources.” Facebook has 3 billion accounts, Fortnite has 350 million users, Minecraft 140 million and Roblox 25 million. For the expert, in addition to the funds raised, these are indicators that must be looked at. But now such energy has whetted the appetite of new actors supported by the blockchain, who also claim to have their own version of the metaverse.

Open a new era

In the shadow of the Silicon Valley giants, a decentralized Promised Land is forming around a new matrix: the blockchain. The technology, which is the source of several innovations such as NFT and cryptocurrencies, is opening a new era: that of digital ownership. On The Sandbox or Decentraland, two of the most promising Web3 platforms, a user can create their own virtual experience from scratch on a digital plot that they will share with other users. We identify through a wallet, a digital wallet that guarantees ownership of assets and secures transactions. A break with the attention economy, where users ’personal data is centralized and cashed in by platforms to generate revenue.

“Each user owns their own digital assets. It is an open metaverse, unlike Roblox and Facebook, which hold the content and therefore use it as they wish, ”Frenchman Sebastien Borget, co-founder of The Sandbox, told Echos. This new field quickly attracted a multitude of brands that promised to renew their user experience. More than 200 brands, from AXA to Carrefour, through Gucci and Warner Music, have already stepped into “The Sandbox”. Decentraland has also attracted dozens of brands to JP Morgan, Atari and even hosted Fashion Week.

Rain billions

Startups that may not speak to lay people, but that still have deep pockets. Sandbox has already raised $ 93 million, and could raise another $ 400 million, for an estimate that Bloomberg estimates at $ 4 billion. Yuga Labs, the studio behind the Bored Ape Yacht Club of Monkey NFT – valued by show business stars – has already raised $ 450 million to build its Otherside metaverse.

These resources testify to new potential economic models. They must enable these actors to face several challenges. First, interoperability, so that users and their resources can move freely between platforms. Also, to simplify their approach to attract a wider audience. Therefore, these decentralized platforms would be well advised to reproduce the ingredients of their Web 2.0 rivals: simplicity and accessibility. The golden recipe that Gafam made necessary.

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