When we wrote about investing in the Metaverse we noted that today the Metaverse is more of a concept than a finished product. The state of the Metaverse today has been compared to the internet in the 1970s.The founder and CEO of Meta (Facebook) has made the point that a fully functional Metaverse needs better networks as well as the necessary programming. Meta is betting heavily on being the leader in the Metaverse and would be greatly disappointed to develop software and hardware applications that the world of telecoms cannot support.
What Meta and others want to do is create virtual worlds experienced with VR headsets and smart glasses. They want that world to be as realistic as possible. For gamers and others working from software on their home computers the issue is to develop novel experiences as well as practical applications for work, recreation, shopping, and interaction with friends and family. But, the goal of those working in this arena is to provide online experiences for which they can charge and make a profit. According to Meta’s VP of Connectivity speaking at the Mobile World Congress cellular and home networks are wanting in their ability to support the sorts of applications that Meta is developing.
Current State of the Metaverse
You can get a clue about where the Metaverse experience is going via the Meta Oculus headsets for virtual reality. The images are real and impressive but latency is low and upload and download speeds are wanting. The Oculus Quest 2 uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 chip with 6 GB RAM which is up 2 GB from the earlier model. The answers to headset performance issues will be faster chips with more memory followed by more efficient programming. It is of note that Intel’s change in top management and expansion of their chip making facilities in Ohio are being combined with an effort to reclaim the top spot in chip processing speed.
Network Speed Versus Network Profitability
Private companies providing internet services tend to optimize their profits. This means they will provide faster service with greater ability to transfer data when doing so makes money. In 2019 The Wall Street Journal looked at American usage of the internet and found that the majority of households in the USA do not use the bandwidth that they have and benefit only marginally from increased internet speed. To the extent that people are paying more for speed increases that do not benefit them, we might expect consumers to shy away from plans that offer a service they neither use nor want. In regard to the fact that the Metaverse needs better networks the Metaverse will need to convince people over time that such services are worth the price for the majority of users. The good side of all this for developers of the Metaverse is the lag time involved. Because it will take years to create a functional Metaverse the telecoms will have years to upgrade their services to be ready, providing that doing so is sufficiently profitable.
Metaverse Needs Better Networks – Slideshare Version