Facebook brought the metaverse concept to the mainstream after changing its name to Meta last year.
Unfortunately for shareholders, the tech giant has since been hit with a slew of challenges. Its data mining processes have landed it in hot waters with the likes of Apple, EU regulators, US politicians, and users.
Couple that with its alienation from young people and growing competition, and things are looking a little bleak for Meta.
But what about the metaverse? The idea has garnered interest from a diverse audience, including scientists, businessmen, gamers, and educators (among others).
It offers so many opportunities that simply never could have existed before. Will it be ruined if Meta falls? Not necessarily. In fact, I’ll explain why that might actually be a good thing for the metaverse.
A Few Reasons Meta Might Fail
Facebook has enjoyed phenomenal success over the years. It might be hard to imagine it ever failing. However, Meta is facing several challenges that might be even harder to overcome. Here’s a quick look at a few.
Meta’s Name and Reputation are Ruined
Meta’s privacy concerns have ruined its public image. In fact, its reputation is so bad that software engineers are turning down lucrative offers over fears of having a “black mark” on their resume. This is an alarming problem for a brand that’s drastically expanding its business model.
Meta is Facing Global Government Scrutiny
Governments around the world are targeting Meta and Facebook relentlessly. The US government has been trying to break it up for some time. The South African government has accused Meta of violating its Competition Act through abuse of dominance. Meta even considered shutting down its services in Europe over EU scrutiny. It’s hard for one entity to beat a global reckoning, even if that entity is a tech giant.
Investors Have Lost Confidence and Trust in Meta’s Leadership
Facebook’s ongoing privacy concerns have left users, investors, and even the company’s own oversight board wanting transparency that just isn’t there. Investors especially believe that the tech giant’s leaders are now doing more harm than good. Add to that the increased scrutiny from governments and users around the world.
How The Metaverse can Succeed Without Meta
First, Meta’s Vision Wasn’t a True Metaverse
Consider the internet for a moment. No one actually owns it. Anyone can create a presence on it, and anyone can add to its infrastructure.
A true metaverse will operate similarly. It will be a decentralized platform (or collection of platforms) that anyone can contribute to. Think of it as as 3D Internet that also blurs the lines between the digital and real worlds.
If Meta built, owned, and monitored the metaverse the way they do Facebook and Instagram, it certainly wouldn’t be decentralized. It would just be another virtual world competing with other virtual worlds.
The Metaverse is Something Bigger
Just as there isn’t more than one Internet, there wouldn’t be a need for more than one metaverse. Right now, our best version of the metaverse is a collection of virtual worlds, VR/AR experiences, and Web 3.0 technologies.
Those platforms and technologies largely exist independent of each other. For example, your avatar can’t travel from Decentraland to The Sandbox. Each is accessed independently.
You can, however, link from one website to any other website. In a true metaverse, you could travel (or link, or teleport, or whatever term you prefer) from one place to another using a single avatar.
This is like hopping from one website to another using the same web browser. We discuss more about what a true metaverse is in our complete guide to the metaverse.
Lower Barriers of Entry Means More Accessibility for Everyone
By removing Meta’s control of the metaverse, it can remain just as accessible as the Internet. Granted, this currently means skills in disciplines like graphic design, 3D modeling, application development, and many others.
However, some metaverse platforms already make it relatively easy for beginners to get started. Second Life and The Sandbox’s GameMaker are great examples. This is similar to how, for example, WordPress made it easier for users to create blogs and websites with no coding knowledge.
As we said, Meta’s vision for the metaverse isn’t a true metaverse anyway. The simply brought mainstream appeal to the idea. So not only can the metaverse succeed without Meta, it could actually be better.