The Metaverse Arms Race

Mark Zuckerberg has recently come out with a plan to rebrand his social media company, Facebook, as a metaverse. With the advancements in web 3.0 and blockchain technology, this comes as no surprise. Everyone is trying to get a piece of the future world, but who will dominate. Between Apple, Facebook, and a growing number of gaming universes like Decentralland and Sandbox putting their bid in, it’s hard to tell who will win.


In recent years the topic of collecting consumer data through our smartphones has been a red hot topic, and Facebook has been in the forefront of this debate. It’s no secret that social media has taken over our lives in more ways than one. We use it for our businesses, to connect with loved ones, and even more so to “kill time.” If you have watched “The Social Dilemma,” then you know that this has been both damaging to society's psychological health and widening the wealth gap as corporations profit from user data.


What does this have to do with the metaverse arms race?


Whether we like it or not, society is moving from a physical world to a virtual one at a rapid pace. Even before we deal with the ethical problems of harvesting data. Social media has been proven to be very addictive with horrible side effects. Body dysmorphia, feelings of alienation, constant comparisons we make to other people’s virtual lives are all exacerbated by these platforms in the name of profit. The metaverse would be like social media times 100. Right now there is still a separation between real life and online, but that line is getting thinner and thinner everyday.


Apple has been the leader when it comes to moving technology forward for the past three decades. They have infused themselves into our everyday life so much that we forget that they are everywhere. How many people do you know with an iphone, apple watch, macbook, ipad, or some other smart device that runs on the apple network? I recently watched an interview on The Breakfast Club, where Ian Dunlap talked about Apple being closer to metaverse status than anyone. They can track our screentime, our health data, where we go and how long we are there, our musical preference, and more. They know EVERYTHING about us. And in recent years, their team has been working on coming out with apple glasses to infuse us even more into a new virtual world.


Although Apple may have a leg up consumer wise, platforms like Decentralland and Sandbox are gaming networks built on a decentralized platform. Blockchain technology is revolutionizing how we interact with people around the world by making connecting more secure without the lure of big brother. With so much talk about big corporations hoarding money and information, decentralized platforms are beginning to look more and more appealing. Blockchain cuts out the middleman, corporations, and puts the power back in the hands of the general public.


As my grandma used to say, “there is more than one way to skin a cat,” and there are a few ways the future metaverse can play out. What are your thoughts on the new emerging technology, and who do you think will win this race?