The metaverse means a lot of things to a lot of people, whether it’s Meta’s “virtual reality office”, Fortnite’s combination of gameplay and social space, or Decentraland’s NFT-powered virtual world.
But for Robby Yung, CEO of investment firm Metaverse and game publisher Animoca Brands, one fact is inescapable.
“There is no metaverse without Web3, because you need that transaction layer to have interoperability between content and you can transport it from place to place,” he said during a panel discussion at the Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal.
“As an industry, we are working on setting standards for this,” he added. “We have set up various consortia to try to solve these problems.”
Animoca Brands is a founding member of the Open Metaverse Alliance, an industry group launched this month that pushes for interoperability standards in the metaverse. These standards would allow NFT content purchased on one metaverse platform to seamlessly integrate with another, so that an NFT purchased on Decentraland could be used in The Sandbox, for example.
But one key player in the Web3 space has yet to commit to joining the Open Metaverse Alliance: Bored Ape Yacht Club owners Yuga Labs, which revealed this week that it is hard at work on its own open metaverse NFT standards.
Yung acknowledged that there is a long way to go for investors in the metaverse. “We have to be realistic that this is a long-term plan,” he said. “I mean, we’re building the 3D Internet, it’s probably going to take 10 years or more.”
VR a “great distraction”
Yung, like Animoca’s founder and executive chairman Yat Siu, rejects Meta’s metaverse approach, particularly its efforts to create a virtual reality-centric metaverse. “My personal take is that I think VR is a big distraction,” he said, adding that VR is “just a platform” through which the metaverse can be accessed.
Meta, he said, focused on defining the metaverse as “virtual reality-like,” which Yung described as “a mistake.”
Admittedly, Meta’s full foray into virtual reality has been costly so far; last month, its metaverse division reported a quarterly loss of $3.67 billion.
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