Gaming and the Metaverse - why we all need more playtime.
The Metaverse is an interesting conundrum. I watched a really interesting talk about it recently where the speaker explained that it’s an old idea from the 80’s that had some traction in the gaming world and has been where VR has largely stayed since.
Now we have Mark Zuckerberg announcing that the internet is officially becoming the metaverse and that coupled with the pandemic, persuades people to believe him. Let’s face it we are all Zoomed out and need something more to do instead of just staring at our laptop screens.
For me, the Metaverse in its truest sense is still decades away. The notion that we can feel like we are truly inhabiting another space or world is reliant on tech that just isn’t there yet. Until we can connect our brains directly to a computer, we will never solve some fundamental flaws of inhabiting a virtual world. Namely the need to wear goggles, gloves and haptic suits to get anything like a credible experience, and even then, most people feel ill after a while. For the same reasons why 3D TV has never really caught on — we like to chat while we watch something, go to the loo, check our phones, get some more snacks — 3D specs just get in the way.
So I would say we are seeing the popularity of the Metaverse Lite right now. That is, things that make having to stare at a screen more interesting. The internet in 3D if you like.
Going back to the gaming world is where I think we as experience makers need to explore.
The notion of playtime is what we are talking here. From the earliest age, our days have consisted of bouts of learning interspersed with playtime. Work life is the same — we arrive at the office (home or away) and the morning session can be punctuated by a coffee break as we move towards lunchtime. During those breaks we might go to our favourite cafe or get a drink to go and take ourselves off for a walk. At lunchtime we might meet a friend who works nearby or try out that great new restaurant.
Work life is punctuated by these little daily treats — playtime. It’s vitally important to us and the way we learn new things.
We are looking for ways to make learning more fun, and given that we spend large amounts of time in front of a screen it makes sense that we want to liven that up a bit.
That’s going to be the focus for us at Broadsword in the coming months. We’ve got excellent tools and techniques for delivering the content — now it’s time to put a bit of fun back into it.
If the Metaverse comes complete with a heavens and a deity (probably not Mr Zuckerberg), they would surely agree we all need a bit of playtime right now.