The metaverse was once touted as the future of human interaction, a virtual world enabling users to live, work and play in a fully immersive virtual realm seamlessly blending physical and digital worlds.
But the metaverse has hit a snag, and leading technology companies such as Meta, Microsoft and Apple have reduced their focus on the R&D behind the virtual world. Despite substantial investment, the metaverse still faces technical challenges such as latency, infrastructure and content creation.
Moreover, the return on investment remains to be determined, as the metaverse is still largely an untested market.
Despite these obstacles, many experts say the metaverse is still alive and will continue to evolve. Industrial and consumer product companies are among the types of organizations placing sizable bets — and, in some cases, already reaping the rewards.
What happened to the metaverse?
Just three years after the metaverse generated a frenzy of excitement, interest seems to be fading, according to Google Trends and other real-world indicators. The Oxford Word of the Year 2022 has seen hard times.
What early implementers have discovered is that building a metaverse requires high levels of expertise and innovation, with technical challenges that can be frustrating and demotivating for developers. This has led some tech companies to shift their focus to other areas, leaving the metaverse on a back burner.
Meta, which experienced consistent losses in — and Wall Street criticism of — its Reality Labs Metaverse vertical, has shifted its focus away from the metaverse. Last month, the company followed others in unveiling a large language model, dubbed LLaMA (for Large Language Model Meta AI). This model is the fundamental software behind a new artificial intelligence system that aims to extract extensive amounts of text from its text dataset to produce condensed information and generate content. The AI personas that may result from this work will be designed to aid individuals in various ways. Such AI applications may in fact lead back to metaverse applications.
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