Will it ever be possible to easily switch between universes in the metaverse? In any case, this is the meaning of an initiative launched by several players in this nascent sector, who have decided to form a group called the Metaverse Standards Forum. Its objective: to promote the development of standards aimed at making the virtual worlds of these companies compatible with each other.
Among the founding members, we find in particular Adobe, Alibaba, Epic Games, Huawei, Ikea, Meta, Microsoft, Nvidia, Qualcomm or Sony. The World Wide Web Consortium as well as the Web3D Consortium are also stakeholders in this initiative which should make it possible to overcome the lack of interoperability hindering the deployment of the metaverse. The first meetings of the group are scheduled for July 2022.
Apple, conspicuously absent
On the other hand, no trace for the moment of Apple, which is nevertheless working on a virtual reality helmet expected in 2023, or of platforms already advanced in the metaverse, like The Sandbox, which relies on the blockchain and its decentralized nature to stand out. However, things could change, the consortium indicating that any organization working directly or indirectly on the construction of the metaverse can join for free. A speech that translates an evolution towards more inclusiveness in the position of Meta, which has tended to occupy the media space in recent months.
Because not content with having renamed itself Meta last year to mark its shift towards this parallel world, Facebook’s parent company is not skimping on the means to establish itself as a world leader in this market, its division dedicated to virtual reality and the metaverse having already swallowed up 13 billion dollars in just fifteen months. Mark Zuckerberg has set himself the goal of welcoming one billion people to the metaverse by the end of the current decade, the horizon at which this parallel world, considered the “future of the Internet”, could become profitable, according to the boss of the social media giant.
Building an open and inclusive metaverse at scale will require a constellation of open interoperability standards.
With broad support, the Metaverse Standards Forum will seek to establish industry-wide cooperation to define and align Metaverse standards requirements and priorities. “Several industry leaders have stated that the potential of the metaverse would be best realized if it is built on a foundation of open standards. Building an open and inclusive metaverse at scale will require a constellation of open interoperability standards”says the organization.
In this context, the Metaverse Standards Forum, hosted by the Khronos group, will be on hand to carry out projects such as prototyping tests, hackathons or the deployment of open source tools, in order to accelerate the adoption of standards in the metaverse. The challenge is immense, because the sector is at the confluence of several fields such as interactive 3D graphics, virtual and augmented reality, digital twins, geospatial systems, the online economy, gaming or e-commerce, which must be seamlessly integrated into this real-world digital double to achieve “new levels of scale and immersion”.
A $5 trillion market in 2030
Market still in its infancy, the metaverse should generate 5000 billion dollars by 2030, according to a report by McKinsey. In this document, the American cabinet reveals that companies, venture capital firms and private equity funds have already invested more than 120 billion dollars in the sector since the start of the year, more than double the 57 billion dollars invested over the whole of 2021.
It must be said that expectations are growing. 95% of executives surveyed by McKinsey believe that the metaverse will have a positive impact on their industry within five to ten years, and 31% say it will fundamentally change the way their industry operates. From a financial perspective, a quarter of executives believe the industry will generate more than 15% of their organization’s revenue over the next five years. According to a Gartner study, one in four people will spend at least one hour a day in the metaverse by 2026.