Metaverse, a futurist concept brought forward by Neal Town Stephenson, a distinguished American Novelist, becomes one of the most popular words used in 2021. In his science fiction, people can enter an amazing virtual world by wearing headphones and goggles and connecting with terminal servers. The movie, Ready Player One (2018), is a vivid reflection of the Metaverse concept. With VR devices equipped, people can log into a virtual world. Players can create a role in that world, setting their own identities, including ages and appearances, playing and experiencing. Even space traveling from one planet to another is not just a dream. And all these different planets make up the "Ready Player One" Metaverse.
Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, pointed out that, in the Metaverse, people can do whatever they can imagine, for instance, working, studying, shopping, creating, and other stuff. Ma Huateng, the CEO of Tencent, also brought forward a similar concept called Cross Reality Internet. He believes that a new round of reshuffles is about to begin as the AR/VR techniques evolve, like the last round of reshuffles during mobile Internet transformation. If companies cannot catch up with the trend, they will be eliminated by the times.
Metaverse has also become the hottest topic in the capital market. Luo Yonghao, a Chinese entrepreneur and internet celebrity, said the next venture is Metaverse Corporation. Even Mark Zuckerberg renewed the name of Facebook as META and claimed to enter the so-called Metaverse Industry.
Currently, when people browse the stock market, almost all the stocks of companies that are engaging Metaverse are dramatically soaring. Many hold positive attitudes towards those stocks. Nvidia has risen by nearly half since October, becoming the seventh-largest listed company on the U.S. stock market. And in China, ZQGame, a Chinese company that makes massively multiplayer online games and other browser games and mobile games, had its stock price doubled in merely six days. The motives of speculators can be concluded into one word, future.
But how far away is the Metaverse? Many Chinese industry experts think there should be no substantial breakthrough in terms of the current level of technology in the upcoming 5~10 years.
Nowadays, the biggest challenge for scientists is to install a computer into goggles, according to Mark Zuckerberg. This is a complicated technology, but it is also the key to connecting the real world with the digital world. Although this idea has not been achieved, many companies are actually developing such kinds of products. For instance, A company in California has already created an advanced tactile glove that can help augment reality in the virtual world.
However, it is also noticeable that many gaming and hardware enterprises use newsjacking to gain higher share prices. On March 10 of this year, the Sandbox Games went public on the New York Stock Exchange and was valued at more than $40 billion on its first day of trading, while the Metaverse concept also had extensive coverage on the media.
The Metaverse represents a more disturbing turn in the history of capitalism on a broader level, as well as a distraction from it, notes a Harvard history professor. The world's tech billionaires are forging a new kind of capitalism, Muskism, an extreme form of alien capitalism, in which stock prices are driven not so much by earnings as by the fantasy of science fiction.
Xingyuan, a host of a podcast, while discussing why people are crazy for Metaverse, he had impressive opinions. He would instead think it is because people are dissatisfied with the injustice and suffering of the real world.
"We look forward to living in a new world where there is no bitterness, affections, poverty, where the disabled can be strong, lonely can get supports. However, you should know that when people really feel good in their lives is because something really happens there, not because of people's imagination or being a rich man in their dream. The Metaverse makes stock prices rise. When it comes to individuals, it is like asking people to make a choice. A choice that you want to be a smart hypochondriac or a happy little fool."
So what is your choice?