The Depth of Reality
"Le Metaverse" is providing a new depth to our reality.
Many wise people have argued that every human being is entitled to his/her own opinions but not his/her own set of facts.
Technology has been however redefining the meaning of reality.
So, what about the different experiences we experience today online?
Are they factual or opinion based? Are they really real?
There are multiple definitions of the noun “reality” depending on which dictionary you look at but all, for the most part, are anchored on the same principle which is that reality is something that is actually experienced or seen, in contrast to what people might imagine.
Hence, experiences require a sensory stimulus to take shape such as tactile, gustatory, olfactory, visual, and auditory stimuli.
Today many online activities, particularly in the gaming, virtual and augmented reality spaces, already offer tactile, visual, and auditory stimuli and hence real experiences for those that choose to enter into this immersive digital ecosystem often referred to as The/Le “Metaverse”.
The term was coined in 1992 by Neal Stephenson in his sci-fi novel Snow Crash and today the Metaverse is giving a new depth to the meaning of reality.
Neal Stephenson equated the Metaverse to a virtual reality-based internet; this is why today there are many proponents who choose to see and define the Metaverse as virtual reality experiences only.
However, the term has evolved since its 1992 birth.
To this day, there is no firm consensus as to the precise definition of the Metaverse; but for the most part the industry seems to agree that it refers to a virtual space that can be scaled, has its own economy and identity system and can operate across different devices and platforms.
I am a firm believer the Metaverse would not be where it is today but for the gaming industry.
Games like the Second Life, a digital real estate game developed by Zynga first published in 2003 brought to the mainstream 3D virtual worlds allowing players to create their own content.
Roblox followed suit with the creation of its online game platform which allows users to code and publish their own games.
Multiple new gaming platforms have since been created like Struckd, the Swiss platform created in 2016 that allows users to create, share and play games; as well as games that provide tools for its users to create content like Animal Crossing, Minecraft and many others.
Facebook recently announced the launch of a Horizon Workrooms app, which can be accessed through the Oculus Quest 2 virtual-reality headset; which allows you and your colleagues to enter virtual offices as avatars and participate in meetings. It is being seen as Facebook first important step towards building the Metaverse.
The Metaverse is opening new business opportunities and revenue streams both within the gaming industry and across other industries such as the fashion sector, the music industry with virtual concerts, the e-commerce sector and more.
Both federal and local governments have everything to gain in supporting the construction of healthy systems and a healthy economy within the Metaverse; as the Metaverse is today an inevitable future.
Switzerland + Le Metaverse
What is the Swiss government doing about the Metaverse?
Well, not much for now unfortunately.
According to recent communications I have had with the Federal Cultural Department and the Swiss Federal Statistical Office, in 2018 Switzerland spent CHF 63.3 millions in what it refers to as “Mass Media Category”.
Out of these CHF 63.3 millions approximately 53 million Swiss francs were contributions given to private companies, including a total of 50 million Swiss francs for the transport of newspapers by post at a reduced price.
At first glance none of the recipients were Metaverse or video gaming companies.
The remaining CHF 10 million came largely from OFCOM's overall budget and was largely attributable to its administrative expenses.
To my surprise video games which have already been recognized officially, at least on paper, by the Swiss federal government as being a cultural asset are not expressly mentioned in the key wording used to define what the “Mass Media Category” encompasses, nor have immersive digital environments per se.
Pertinent Facts about the Swiss & Global Gaming Industry
- Over 33% of the Swiss population plays video games
- Switzerland has over 48 Swiss esports organizations competing nationally or internationally
- Switzerland has over 130 gaming studios
- In 2021 there will be 2.9 billion players across the world generating revenues of USD 175.8 billion - this is more than the music and movies industries combined; both of which are highly subsidized in Switzerland
- GAMING IS MAINSTREAM MEDIA AND THEREFORE A MASS MEDIA
- Last month Blindflug Studios took the initiative the draft an open letter, which I’ve signed, asking the Swiss federal government to invest in its digital culture, as COVID 19; the limited funds, lack of subsidies and tax credits available to gaming & Metaverse studios in Switzerland is slowly killing the Swiss gaming industry and exporting our talent.
So why are both the Federal and Cantonal governments ignoring these predominant cultural realities and choosing to invest more in the past than the future of our culture?
Without investing substantially more in our Digital Culture how can the Swiss Culture remain relevant in the coming years?
If you wish to know more about culturally relevant exhibitions, check out the Numerix Gaming Festival happening this weekend in Yverdon, where I have been invited to discuss the positive impact video games have in our societies and where many conferences and exhibitions pertaining to the Metaverse and gaming are taking place.