Meta’s metaverse is that one slightly confusing VR platform companies pretend is already mainstream. While there is certainly interest in the metaverse, most can agree that it hasn’t exactly captured the world’s interest. However, Sir Nick Clegg — former UK Deputy Prime Minister turned Meta we employee — says the metaverse is coming whether we like it or not.
In fact, Sir Nick outright states that he wrote this online essay to encourage more conversation about the metaverse as if tech nerds haven’t heard enough about this platform.
What does Nick Clegg think about The Metaverse?
In his lengthy blog post on Medium, Clegg argues that the metaverse is simply the next step in humanity’s use of the internet. The former Prime Minister claimed that this is just a natural evolution.
“When Facebook started 18 years ago, we mostly typed text on websites,” he wrote. “When we got phones with cameras, the internet became more visual and mobile. As connections got faster, video became a richer way to share things.”
He continued: “We’ve gone from desktop to web to mobile; from text to photos to video. In this progression, the metaverse is a logical evolution. It’s the next generation of the internet — a more immersive, 3D experience. Its defining quality will be a feeling of presence like you are right there with another person or in another place.”
Listening to Nick Clegg talk up The Metaverse like it's the natural order of things is disturbing, but also somewhat humorous. For example, the former PM actually points out how the metaverse is inspired by dystopian sci-fi stories.
With this in mind, the fact he still goes to bat for the service is unreal, and he isn’t done yet.
The virtual world is more than what it seems
In a fairly humorous part of the essay, Clegg tries to tell us that the metaverse is more than just a VR environment with avatars. As Meta’s president for global affairs, he attempts to paint the virtual world as a collaborative effort for everyone; albeit one where Meta gets a 50% commission.
“The word ‘metaverse’ is actually a little misleading, as ‘verse’ implies you are transported to another ‘universe,’” he writes. “Of course, there is escapism inherent in using some of these technologies — like an immersive gaming experience. But the metaverse is much more than that. It’s ultimately about finding ever more ways for the benefits of the online world to be felt in our daily lives — enriching our experiences, not replacing them.”
What does this mean? Essentially, Clegg claims that The Metaverse is more than a VR playground or immersive video game. This is done by vaguely explaining that it’s “much more than that,” an odd sales pitch to be sure.
We’re all in this together
Despite The Metaverse being created by Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta, Clegg explained that it will belong to all of us, comparing it to the modern-day internet. While everyone uses Google for searching, Google doesn’t own the internet; Meta wants that for The Metaverse.
“The metaverse is not a single product, in the way Meta’s apps — Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp — are. Nor is it an operating system like Microsoft’s Windows, or hardware like Apple’s iPhone,” the article reads. “Like today’s internet, the metaverse will be a constellation of technologies, platforms, and products. It won’t be built, operated or governed by any one company or institution. It will take a range of companies large and small, civil society, the public sector, and millions of individual creators. It isn’t a single piece of cloth, but a patchwork quilt.”
He certainly does have a point, but keep in mind that these million-dollar corporations already have a stranglehold on the internet today. With this in mind, will The Metaverse be for the people, or just for profit?