What new features are expected in 2023?

The metaverse didn’t really live up to all of its promises last year. Despite huge investments by several giants, digital worlds accessible in augmented or virtual reality have not yet broken through. The general public, gripped by economic crisis and inflation, is finding it difficult to care about the metaverse. Sales of VR headsets in 2022 prove this. In the last year, this market has decreased by 12% worldwide.

This lack of interest shows itself in France. According to a study by the publisher GetApp, 49% of French people do not know the metaverse and only 8% of respondents are already connected to the digital world. Brands will have to roll up their sleeves in 2023 to convince consumers of the revolution represented by the metaverse. great innovations in manufacturers’ boxes for the next twelve months.

Also read: Orange and major European operators want to pay Big Tech to develop the metaverse

Major improvements to the meta

Metaverse is the big obsession of Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO and founder of Meta. To make his dream come true, the billionaire injected Over $21 billion in Reality Labs, a section of the metaverse, for two years. So far without success.

Horizon avatars © Meta

Horizon Worlds, a virtual reality world imagined by Meta, is the laughing stock of internet users… and company employees. They neglect to join the platform regularly, believing that it is not up-to-date. In this context, the metaverse did not achieve its goals. Horizon Worlds is No Different 200,000 monthly active users, is far from Meta’s expectations. Initially, the firm hoped to reach 500,000 users by 2023.

To raise the bar, Mark Zuckerberg announced a handful of innovations. First, the firm will improve the experience offered by Horizon Worlds. The giant will be in the spotlight improved performance and graphics. Meta really committed to posting ” major Horizon graphics updates », with several supporting illustrations.

Horizon Worlds avatars also need to evolve. Mark Zuckerberg, who was ridiculed on social networks, promised this enable more realistic 3D avatars in the near future. Above all, Meta plans to offer a pair of legs to the avatars of the metaverse. It is clear that the Californian firm is trying to move away from simple images that deter internet users.

meta horizon world wide web
Link to Horizon Worlds web version preview shared on Messenger © Meta

In the second step, Meta will launch a version of Horizon Worlds accessible through a web browser, without the need for a virtual reality headset. Thanks to this Web version, Meta will still be able to bridge the gap between its very popular social networks and the unloved metaverse. Therefore, this version should help the company attract more internet users. After piqued the (moderate) interest of technophiles, the Meta now needs to catch the attention of the general public… and it doesn’t necessarily want to invest in a helmet.

The long-awaited arrival of Apple

Is this time correct? According to a series of leaks, Apple is finally set to enter the virtual and augmented reality industry. Will present the brand mixed reality headset From June 2023. The first presentation of the accessory is planned at the WWDC 2023 conference for developers before marketing in the fall. Observers expect Apple to strengthen the VR market.

To accompany its hybrid headphones, the Cupertino group intends to deploy its own metaverse. This digital world would consist of a wide range of 3D experiences that Internet users could interact with. Apple would also develop a video-on-demand service with 3D programs produced by big names in Hollywood cinema.

The rise of augmented reality

Augmented reality, driven by Apple, should continue to gain popularity. The American company has never hidden its appetite for AR experiences. For Apple CEO Tim Cook, augmented reality is elsewhere As important a breakthrough as the Internet :

“In the future, people will wonder how we live without augmented reality. Like today, we wonder how people like me grew up without the internet.”.

Therefore, it should be the first helmet of the brand is a hybrid accessory, combining virtual and augmented reality. Meta should also be involved in the popularization of augmented reality. Last year, Mark Zuckerberg’s group also introduced the Meta Quest Pro, the first headset for mixed reality. Designed primarily for professionals, the high-end headset is primarily designed to showcase AR experiences. Focused on meta communication joint workwith a virtual desktop superimposed on reality.

In parallel, the outsider continues to enrich the range of HTC AR accessories. The Taiwanese company has also raised the curtain VIVE XR Elite, a solution between VR headset and AR glasses. Priced at over $1,000, it competes directly with Meta’s Quest Pro.

It should be noted that augmented reality has confirmed itself as one of the main trends in the world CES 2023. In Las Vegas, industry giants and many startups held demonstrations related to augmented reality. These include TCL’s AR/VR glasses, the RayNeo X2. Equipped with the Snapdragon XR2 processor, they allow, for example, to display instant translation right in front of the user’s eyes. You will understand: almost everyone is getting into augmented reality.

Snapchat, a video sharing app, will also continue to contribute to the popularization of AR technologies. The app will introduce a number of new experiences later this year. In collaboration with Orange, Snapchat has planned to develop fun AR solutions, especially based on 5G networks.
For Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel, it’s more of a reality that represents the future of the metaverse. A virtual reality company that cuts the user off from the real world cares less. Notably, AR experiences have also proliferated on other social networks, including the now-important TikTok. Through filters and other effects, the general public is gradually introduced to this technology.

“Over 250 million people use augmented reality on Snapchat every day”Snapchat explains in a press release.

That’s just about itis the first step to augmented reality. By 2025, connected AR glasses will flood the market. Meta planned to launch its first AR glasses in 2024. To achieve its goals, the Menlo Park company turned to specialist Ray-Ban. Apple is rumored to compete with Meta glasses from 2026 Apple Glasses. Even if the latest news from this front indicates that the project will be shelved indefinitely, it is time for the available technologies to mature. When it arrives, the project should increase sales of AR glasses and accessories and increase the adoption of the metaverse.

future sales of vr headsets
Projection of sales of VR/AR devices. CSS Insight

Blockchain metaverse competition

At the same time, blockchain-based digital worlds should continue to offer strong alternatives to Horizon Worlds. Despite the crash of cryptocurrency, there are many new things on these platforms. early January Sandboxmetaverse Made in Francealso announced the new version GameMakerthe frame Facilitates the design of experiences and games on the blockchain.

Less well known, the metaverse Somnium Space It plans to release its own virtual reality headset, the Somnium VR1, later this year. The firm will allow buyers to design accessories that go with the helmet using 3D printing.

In addition, another blockchain metaverse will see the light of day in 2023: xWorlds. Based on the blockchain of MultiversX, formerly Elrond, this virtual world promises high-flying graphics and tons of features for cryptocurrency and NFT holders.

The invasion of brands has been curbed

Between 2021 and 2022, a number of brands launched into the metaverse under the influence of Meta. For example, Samsung opened a virtual store in Decentraland. In the same world, Netflix created a space dedicated to the movie Gray Man. We also remember Nike’s virtual reality store inside Roblox.

These brands have paid significant sums buy plots of land and install virtual buildings on them. Asked by 01net, Philippe Buyens, managing director of real estate agency Capifrance, believes that brands had no choice but to invest in land in the metaverse:

“Some players, especially those who missed out on the e-commerce revolution, are positioning themselves to be meeting places for their customers.”

This trend is expected to continue later this year as technologies like virtual reality hit the mainstream. The economic crisis should be despite this to partially curb the urge brands. Therefore, the looming recession risks hampering the virtual real estate boom. However, this would only be a failure, believes Philippe Buyens:

“The crisis may slightly slow down the democratization of the metaverse, but it will not stop its development”.

An inevitable merger with AI

In recent months, there has been a lot of talk about generative artificial intelligences such as ChatGPT, Stable Diffusion or Character.AI. Thanks to machine learning, these tools can simulate a conversation, compose images in seconds, or answer an infinite number of queries.

We can expect that it won’t take long for this trend to merge with the metaverses trend. By combining technologies such as AI with mixed reality, the Internet user can interact with an intelligent and realistic simulation, for example in VR/AR. These are chatbots can care customer support in virtual stores.

Given recent advances in language modeling, this is no longer science fiction. It is with this in mind that software publisher Freshworks specializes chatbotsworks, explains its director Simon Ma Tech Wire Asia:

“In Metaverse, users will interact not only with other users, but also with digital avatars that are 3D versions. chatbots. Equipped with conversational AI, these digital avatars will be able to react […] helping customers shop online”.

We’ll conclude this article with a prediction from Nvidia CTO Michael Kagan, who is responsible for Nvidia Omniverse, the collaboration metaverse in the cloud:

“If 2022 was the year the metaverse gained global attention, 2023 will be the year it becomes a reality for all types of users: consumers, workers, researchers, and more.”

See you on the same date in a year to see if this optimistic momentum is grounded…

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