The name of a project sometimes tells you everything you need to know about it, no matter how specialized it is. Take Kryptomon, one of the NFT games that recently completed a 24-hour one-second sale. As the name implies, you get the idea that a kind of monstrous beast that develops and fights against each other must participate, and you know that this must be based on the blockchain. It is clear, concise and precise.
Facebook’s new name, Meta, does not quite fit on the shelf itself. Of course, this shows that the company is heading into Metaverse, but that destination is still unclear. As several commentators have pointed out, Metaverse at this point is as mysterious as it is seductive or mysterious, depending on who you ask. A hint of a heavy virtual reality (VR) / augmented reality (AR) element from gadgets like the haptic glove still tells us a lot about what the future brings.
The only thing that is clear about the metasplay title is that it is an expression of ambition. The company has already tried this trick with Libra, its bullish stablecoin supported by other technology giants, when it was investigated as Meta now. Renaming the coin to Diem was meant to highlight her desire for independence, which did not help, given that the project was eventually scrapped. As with Google and Alphabet or Snapchat and Snap Inc, rebranding Facebook heralds an intention to bypass – by the way in Greek – the original platform.
About the topic: One Currency That Rules All: A gloomy Facebook has global ambitions
But there is something else here: an echo of a broader technology trend that could have catastrophic consequences for the internet itself, as well as for those of us who use it.
rules for you and me
Earlier this year, we saw Epic Games, one of the world’s largest gaming companies promoting its own ambitions, take over Apple and accuse it of monopolistic practices that circumvented the App Store rules. Although the monopoly complaint has not spread, the court still agreed to Epic’s request to refer users to their payment methods in the app. Epic Games has also come into conflict with Google in a case that similarly affected the market for the latter’s apps. Facebook itself has more than a few angry words to Apple about its dispute with the technology giant, which has focused on updating the privacy rules on the latter’s platform.
You may have caught the central theme here. Being tied to a particular ecosystem of products and services has its limitations – just think of how Apple removed the standard 3.5mm audio connector in 2016. Sure, it can help with water resistance, but it was just as important to market your connector as to increase your income. By the way, this rule also applies to small developers who release their products on other platforms, as well as to giants such as Epic and Facebook. You get a manual distro, but it comes with more than a few terms and conditions. Assuming that conditions remain the same in the long run would be unreasonable to say the least.
Few people these days really expect Big Tech to advocate for a more free and open digital ecosystem, where interoperability is the law and users can choose the best tools and services without being restricted by vendors. They prefer to connect users to their platforms, while at the same time having the maximum flexibility inherent in your ecosystem and setting all the rules. This makes sense from a business perspective, but it hardly promotes collaboration based on trust, and one of the main reasons for building your own platform is that you do not trust anyone.
This is exactly what I see in Facebook’s name change to Meta as a desire to create its own global ecosystem, which will probably include many components, from all the VR / AR tools to the operating system. However, it makes me wonder if other giants who claim that Metaverse will follow suit and build entire technology clusters, possibly for the internet itself, because if they do, things can get ugly.
Related: Metaverse: Mark Zuckerbergs Brave New World
trapped in the network
It is alarming that this platform game, if posted online, could contribute to segregation and apartheid.
When you visit a website, your device downloads the building blocks from a remote server, ideally with a set of instructions for customizing the design and functionality of different types of devices, such as a desktop computer or a mobile device.