Welcome to eXchange where we discuss what’s next for intentional experience design with expert change agents. This season focuses on demystifying the Metaverse and explaining how the foundations of this emerging reality will change how we all come together. In this podcast summary, we’re visiting with change agent, Stefano Corazza, Head of Roblox Studio at Roblox and former VP, Fellow of Augmented Reality at Adobe.
Does the Metaverse exist?
The lowercase “m” metaverse – there are so many out there today [where platform providers have their own separate metaverses and control much of the user content and experience]. The uppercase “M” Metaverse doesn’t exist yet. The uppercase ”M” Metaverse assumes that all the lowercase “m” metaverses are interconnected, which they aren’t. So, for now it’s lowercase “m” metaverse only. There are two diverging forces. One tends to aggregate everything toward one [interoperable] uppercase “M” Metaverse. Then, there’s another breaking them down into silos [lowercase “m” metaverses with no interoperability]. They can’t talk to each other. It’s going to be a long battle, but at the end, some level of interconnection will be achieved.
Who benefits the most from the interconnected Metaverse?
Movement toward the Metaverse includes developing file formats for interconnectivity, pushing an extension of the current GTLF standard and avatar systems that work across multiple worlds. The big brands may push for this interconnected Metaverse. For example, a brand may want that Gucci purse to exist with total fidelity across as many metaverses as possible. The metaverse platform owners, at some point, may allow for more of that. It also depends on the overall sentiment of the people because just by visiting one metaverse versus another it is, in itself, a statement that people support more open metaverses over less open metaverses.
The Metaverse, as a truly immersive interactive environment, has a mix of internet and online gaming, amazing special audio, and maps. It’s the convergence of all this into something that feels natural, although there are a few missing pieces. One of them is the ability not only to represent your digital identity, but to move your digital identity accordingly – feeling natural movement, being able to apply your facial expression to your avatar, being able to wave, do all the nonverbal communication that we do with other people. It’s going to feel really good.
Implications for business
It feels like the new work environment in the Metaverse may be an extension of our leisure time experiences in a way that is a bit unpredictable because those two worlds have always been very separate. Do you want to do a video conference, or do you want to play a game? The lines are getting blurred. A lot of the technology built for gaming is fantastic for real-time collaboration for work that you don’t have when you use a video conferencing tool. We’ll see a lot of the real-time collaboration infrastructure built in these metaverses. They could provide a real-world solution for work and B2B in the future, more than we expect.
What is remote work missing?
One thing that’s missing is the random encounter in the corridor. You don’t have it because everything is so prescripted when you’re working remotely. If there’s a way to hang out in this type of virtual world, then there’s a way to have these encounters. It would require that everyone be persistently in these platforms.
What’s the next stage?
Visualization and embodiment through wearable devices. Combine the viewable Metaverse with wearable technology so you can move around. I have wearable technology that I can put on, move and broadcast my facial expression in real time, but I’m stuck to a monitor. Once glasses are here and you can connect with your phone, that means you can move with a lot of freedom. The wearable device and the experience are all in the same location, and it feels much more natural. You must learn less about how to operate in the Metaverse because the real-world rules apply perfectly, one-to-one.
Why is the Metaverse inevitable?
It’s the natural evolution of communication.
What’s the best part of what the Metaverse is or will be?
The same platform that you use to hang out, you can use it to make movies.
What’s missing in digital communication right now?
The ability to stream everything about your body and your facial expression seamlessly.
What would it take for people to want to work in the Metaverse?
It needs to be fun and efficient, and I’m not sure where there yet.
What’s a positive change to the world through the adoption of the Metaverse?
It can bring a lot of empathy for other people.
What people should be worried about with the onset of the Metaverse?
Make sure you get your information from the media straight and support open standards.
Listen to the podcast.
Guest Bio – Stefano Corazza
Stefano Corazza is very passionate about new and immersive media and animation.
Backed by more than a decade of innovation, Allseated sets the standard in 3D virtual reality solutions and digital experiences for the events industry. Allseated powers virtual and hybrid events for some of the world’s leading corporations. In 2022, the company launched Meetaverse, a platform that makes it easy to build corporate metaverses. Allseated.com.