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The author Neal Stephenson who envisioned the Metaverse 30 years ago, on Wednesday sat down with Chris Cox, the Chief Product Officer at Meta and explained the engineering breakthroughs needed to perfect the virtual world experience at the World Economic Forum Panel held in Davos, Switzerland.
Mark Zuckerberg, the Meta Chief Executive, had expected his investments in the metaverse to take around ten years to pay off and by then Cox believes people would take a walk with their friends and family in the virtual worlds as willingly as they currently make video calls.
Meta had incurred a loss of 9.4 Billion USD from its Reality Labs metaverse unit during the period of January to September and they expect the number of losses to grow more in 2023. This loss has contributed to the decision to cut 11,000 jobs.
Cox at the World Economic Forum Panel said, “We’re in the very early version, the Xerox PARC era.” in reference to the company that innovated the mouse and other fundamental computer gadgets fifty years ago.
According to Cox whose company (Meta) is investing billions of dollars to develop software and hardware for the metaverse, one of their biggest challenges with the metaverse is the relation between speed and graphic quality. For a virtual environment like a comedy club in the metaverse to be successful with a good user experience, a large amount of support is required. To engagingly simulate the real world atmosphere a number of avatars should be able to chatter and laugh, updating these avatars simultaneously to match the movement of the real person is necessary. However, this limits the processing power that is available for high-quality graphics. On this Cox commented “We’re trying to figure out if comedy can work.”
Stephenson is trying to address the issue about moving fluidly between experiences in different virtual worlds while retaining the avatar’s accessories, clothes and other items through working with a company he founded for blockchain application development. During the panel discussion he shared that according to him the key question about the metaverse is if it would be built from the bottom up or be created completely by a single company?
To this, Chief Executive Enrique Lores said, “A more open metaverse is better”. He added, “If someone controls the full metaverse the ability for others to add value is much smaller.”
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