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The Metaverse: A niche within XR technology gets disproportionate attention

Metaverse Hype

Yesterday I took part in a workshop on the topic of metaverse. While I was skeptical at first whether this topic is still relevant at all, I decided to attend anyway. Here are my impressions and thoughts on the topics discussed and their implications.


Expectations and reality

As soon as I saw the workshop description, I wondered whether the Metaverse is really still a hot topic. Interest in the workshop was moderate, but this was possibly due to the nice weather and the European Football Championship. Although the moderator made an effort to convey the topic in an appealing way, much of the content presented was very reminiscent of the discussions and forecasts that were already circulating four years ago.  

Recurring arguments: The evergreens of the metaverse

It was noticeable that many of the arguments and statistics used to demonstrate the financial success of the Metaverse were hardly changed. It was repeatedly emphasized that companies should invest in metaverse solutions in order not to be left behind. This rhetoric does not seem to have changed for years, although the actual success of these technologies has so far remained limited.  

The metaverse as a niche

The metaverse, despite all the attention it has received in recent years, remains a Niche within VR technology. Although the concept of social interactions and meetings in virtual worlds is interesting, it has many fundamental challenges that hinder its widespread acceptance. These aspects are often swept under the carpet during presentations.  

Ergonomics and user experience

A central challenge is the Ergonomics of VR. While it was claimed that meetings in the metaverse are more intense and personal, I questioned this. For many users, interacting with avatars feels rather unnatural. Despite the advances in avatar technology, such as those seen at Apple with the so-called personas, the experience often remains distant with current VR glasses. The avatars are comically or simply anatomically strange. This has a lot to do with the lack of performance of the glasses. Although this technical explanation is obvious to anyone who has ever dealt with real-time 3D, it doesn't make things any better. Another aspect is the discomfort that many people feel in virtual environments. Simulator sickness is a well-known problem that has yet to be solved. This significantly impairs the usability of VR glasses for longer sessions and represents a significant barrier to widespread acceptance. Incidentally, Apple was also unable to solve this problem with its Apple Vision Pro glasses.  

More exciting and tangible use cases. It doesn't always have to be the avatar.

While the metaverse has received a disproportionate amount of attention, there are many other areas within VR technology that offer much more tangible and exciting applications.  


VR offers enormous advantages in the area of Simulations. Whether in medicine, where surgeons can train complex procedures, or in aviation, where pilots experience realistic flight simulations, the possibilities are many and varied and have clear practical benefits.  


The entertainment industry has already begun to exploit the potential of VR. From immersive video games to virtual concerts, VR enables experiences that are not possible on conventional media platforms. These applications are not only exciting, but are already widespread and successful.  


In the area of the Trainings VR also offers unique opportunities. Companies can train their employees in safe, controlled environments, which is particularly beneficial in high-risk professions such as firefighting or the military. These training methods have proven to be extremely effective and offer clear added value.  

The virtual world has more to offer

The virtual world has much more to offer than comical avatars who meet for virtual coffee chats in sparsely designed 3D worlds. VR technologies enable profound, immersive experiences that go far beyond simple social interactions. They offer innovative solutions in various areas such as Education, medicine and industrial manufacturingthat have the potential to fundamentally change the way we work and learn. Do we need the metaverse for this? Not necessarily.  

Do we need the utopian narrative of the metaverse?

A key question that arises is whether we really need the utopian narrative of the metaverse to get people excited about virtual reality and spatial computing. Do we need to exaggerate and conceal disadvantages in order to convince our audience? Or is it our job as a provider of expertise in this field to inform the public comprehensively about the strengths and challenges of the technology?  

Honesty and education

It is essential that we, as experts in the field of VR and spatial computing honest and transparent communicate. Instead of raising unrealistic expectations and concealing potential disadvantages, we should present the technology in all its facets. This includes both the impressive opportunities and the existing challenges. By painting a realistic picture, we create trust and enable users to make informed decisions. This will ultimately lead to a more sustainable and wider acceptance of the technology. Exaggerations and unrealistic promises may generate attention in the short term, but in the long term they could lead to disappointment and skepticism.  

Retreat from the metaverse narrative

Interestingly, many companies that previously paid heavily into the metaverse narrative pushed by Meta have now backed away from it. Meta itself barely talks about it anymore. Apple completely avoids the term "metaverse" in relation to their VR glasses. This indicates that the exaggerated expectations and the reality of the market often do not match.  


The workshop reminded me once again that the metaverse is still a polarizing topic. While the technology has undeniably progressed and offers clear benefits in certain areas, it remains a controversial topic. Niche within the broader VR technology. The focus on the metaverse has meant that other, far more tangible and exciting applications of VR are often overshadowed. The discussion about the metaverse remains exciting and it will be interesting to see how this technology develops over the coming years. In doing so, we should always strive to provide a balanced and realistic picture of the opportunities and challenges of VR and spatial computing.  
clarence dadson

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Clarence Dadson CEO Design4real