We are currently on two technologies, augmented and virtual reality, which are not mature at all. At first, there may be attempts at the least expensive technology or the easiest to learn technology for developers, hence augmented reality. On this, there are a few today devices quite advanced, more for professional use, like Microsoft’s augmented reality glasses. The fact remains that where augmented reality comes in greater support, virtual reality can be completely immersive. We can also imagine that virtual reality, in several decades, could be enhanced with olfactory sensors to immerse you even more. Virtual reality will always be something that researchers will exploit as much as possible because it matches their fantasy.
So, do augmented reality experiences, which are less immersive and more limited, have applications behind them that enable monetization? Microsoft has shown, in several fields (such as medical imaging, industrial engineering) that augmented reality is very useful, but it does not come from the metaverse. It is a technological support for commercial activities. Virtual reality can go much further. For a brand, having visibility in a virtual universe through a helmet and allowing virtual avatars to touch the product, to see their logo as if the brand were in their garden, can have more value.
It depends on the ways to monetize the metaverse. If we resume the Ariana Grande concert, Fortnite did not charge users. It has been monetized in other ways, through media word of mouth and product placement. On this there is no need for a means of payment, because everything is decided upstream, between the platform and the various advertisers. Now, let’s say we go to a virtual universe with a virtual currency, where the avatars may also have virtual “work time” to “mine” the currency. We will therefore be in a persistent universe and everything is possible there. It can be imagined that as such universes take shape, the regulatory status of cryptocurrencies will have changed. One can also imagine having state cryptocurrencies. In the current state of the regulations, the most likely thing would be to have a virtual currency indexed to a very real currency, which would facilitate exchanges in the virtual universe, and why not the opposite way: to transform this virtual currency into real money. Everything is imaginable.