Technode recently reported that Chinese marketplace giant Alibaba recently registered various metaverse-themed trademarks such as “Ali Metaverse”, Taobao Metaverse” and “DingDing Metaverse”. The move follows a similar decision bu CHinese tech company “Tencent Holdings”. It is now clear that the race to the creation of metaverse is a global story. Facebook is not alone anymore.

What is the goal of the race? 

Possibly, the path of metaverse will follow the same development step of social media. At first, people believed that it made sense creating proprietary social interaction platforms: each company or brand was supposed to build its own following on its website. Then, everything was scooped up by Facebook: accessible, scalable and ever-present.

The same thing is bound to happen for metaverse. Companies – be them Chinese, German or American – might try to develop their own metaverse for immersive interactions related to their need. On this extent, companies are being serviced by providers of bespoke metaverse universes, be it for example for a conference, the launch of a product or a fashion show.

Some architectures/systems have avatars already in place (take for example the avatars in the Oculus system or on the Switch) and the providers create just the environments and the interaction rules for them (I spend two weeks on an island created by this company to attend a VR seminar by the Venice Biennale). Also Berlin-based Journee offers similar services.

Still, this is just the beginning.

The real, final step in the metaverse will be the creation of a single system with the following characteristics: 

  • An accessible and UX friendly programming language, so that everybody (or almost everybody) can program portions of the metaverse. Metaverse designers will therefore be more skilled in design, than in programming. You will have architeture studios creating meeting environments and so on.

  • The possibility of creating worlds defined by one or more specializations (gaming, entertainment, business, etc) with the opportunity of setting different sets of rules. Most basically, in certain metaverses you can kill other avatar (like in Fortnite); more broadly, a metaverse can be made communist or capitalist

  • The creation of a single Avatar that will be allowed into the different worlds with perfect compatibility – a bit like the facebook login

This is bound to happen because it is the most logical, consequential and efficient situation.

Creating this universal architecture will therefore shape the future metaverse as an unlimited collection of different worlds with different rules, and their sum will create a “Metaverse Galaxy”. It is like in Star Wars: we will travel from one world to another, experiencing different rules, customs, freedoms, rulers, politics, fashions and even laws of physics.

Still, it is an open question whether the development of this system will be an open-source projects or it will be controlled by private/public subjects. Entering the metaverse will mean providing an incredible amount of information about ourselves and our behaviors, and this information can be used for any purpose. This is not just a privacy topic, but also a question of avoiding malicious manipulation of our behaviors. For example, our avatars could happen to interact with AI powered avatar-bots that will be very efficient at manipulating our opinions and beliefs.

The possible solution is that of making sure that our most sensible data will be stored through secured blockchain systems in order to prevent their misuse. We are entering a new frontier and we have still all the chances to create a digital future exactly how we like it.