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In the metaverse, will big gaming eventually become big tech?

MeN “READY PLAYER ONE”In a science fiction novel set in 2045, people can teleport themselves to escape the dreaded world of global warming and economic turmoil. oasisA parallel universe where you can change your identity, hang out and forget about the misery of everyday life. In the book published in 2011, oasis Is the idea of ​​a game tycoon that everyone is most interested in. But behind the scenes is an innovative online industry. This is an evil internet conglomerate that takes over it all and tries to earn its own rewards.

The way Tim Sweeney, the founder of Epic Games, the creator of the online game phenomenon “Fortnite,” talks about the Metaverse, has the repercussions of this “good v greedy” story. This idea is popular in Silicon Valley and is considered the second largest on the internet. No one knows what this term means. Its most futuristic, oasis This is a pretty good analogy to what technology utopia has in mind. For now, if you think you’ve spent enough time online during the covid-19 pandemic, think again. Metaverse uses virtual reality and augmented reality, avatars, and realistic computer images to further eliminate the boundaries between people’s online and physical lives. Not surprisingly, Big Tech is booming with perspectives in more areas of human existence open to data extraction.

Sweeney, who creates a mini-metaverse for 350 million monthly Fortnite users, is also devoted to virtual pop concerts as well as fantasy games. But he is determined to stop the Silicon Valley elite today from creaming all the rewards from this visionary future. His ambitions are vibrant competition, fair wages to creators, and unparalleled economic efficiency on the web today. How realistic or honest is it?

Epic, a privately held company partially owned by Chinese tech Goliath Tencent, has already portrayed the creation of the Metaverse as a huge killing contest. This is part of the background of the recent court battle against Apple (which is expected to be verdicted soon) and Google (trial has not yet begun). Primarily, antitrust proceedings are related to the iPhone App Store and Google’s Android Play Store, with Epic specifically reducing in-app purchases by up to 30% and allowing developers to use alternative payments. Indicates that you are rejecting. Processing platform. But in court, Sweeney told the Apple judge that the issue was “existential” in the creation of the Metaverse. The purpose of Epic was to turn Fortnite into a platform where independent developers could distribute games and other forms of entertainment online and make more money on their own. “It’s very difficult for Epic and creators to be in this future world, as Apple is 30% off the top,” he said.

Both Apple and Google have denied that claim. In court, Apple argued that the committee was an industry standard and invested in creating a user-friendly environment. But it has been forced to justify elsewhere. In a recent partial settlement of a class action in the United States, Apple has agreed to make it easier for app developers to contact customers about other payment methods. Then, on August 31, South Korea passed a law allowing smartphone users to pay developers directly. Google calls Epic’s claim groundless. Where does this leave Sweeney’s new web vision? And how likely is that to happen?

The vision certainly looks attractive. “Megacorporations” are not dominant. Instead, the Metaverse is built by millions of creators, programmers and designers and earns more rewards than the current tech giants allow. Instead of the siled state of the Internet today, he says there should be free play movement between gaming networks like Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s PlayStation. The state-of-the-art “engines” that the gaming industry uses to perform real-world simulations must be based on common standards so that they can also interoperate. Decentralized tools such as blockchain and cryptocurrencies can increase economic efficiency.

Mr. Sweeney has no difficulty in contrasting such open competition with the current situation. It does not discourage Silicon Valley giants from seeking a major role in the future. Gaming companies such as Epic, Roblox and Minecraft are the most advanced in bringing a metaverse-like aspect to the platform. Minecraft has a virtual library of censored news articles to promote freedom of thought in a dictatorship. But the tech giants are just behind them. Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg believes that the Oculus Quest headset will be part of the future of virtual reality and augmented reality that could replace smartphones. In August, Facebook introduced Horizontal Workrooms on its headset, allowing workers to join virtual meetings as avatars. Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO, Talk about building the “Enterprise Metaverse”. Undoubtedly, they want the Metaverse to be a more walled garden than Mr. Sweeney.

Old Roblox load?

It would be wise not to take Mr. Sweeney’s apparent altruism at face value. Epic and other gaming companies may one day pursue control of the 3D Internet, similar to what Big Tech has on the 2D Internet. As Daniel Newman of consultancy Futurum Research says, from Microsoft in the 1980s to Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon in the 2010s, all the big tech companies are launching their own services that consumers love. , Fought for more open competition. Incumbent. Over time, their missionaries’ enthusiasm diminished as their leadership position strengthened. It’s hard to imagine a world where this pattern doesn’t last, no matter how futuristic.

For now, big game companies can’t think of themselves as cartoon villains. And the Metaverse is certainly too wide to control any company. But whatever the parallel universe they build, the desire to create not only fantasy dystopia, but also a moat against competition is typically a method of capitalism. ■■

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This article was published in the printed Business section under the heading “Epic Battle Royale”.

In the metaverse, will big gaming eventually become big tech? Source link In the metaverse, will big gaming eventually become big tech?

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