Why is a “large and complete” metasverse impossible?
Almost every meta-universe study has Neal Stephenson’s “Avalanche” or Spielberg’s “Ready Player One” at the beginning of the article explaining what the meta-universe is.But this ignores the fact that science fiction is different from the real world: art is the first principle of science fiction, and there are also limitations of the time.Artistry is the story, drama and philosophy of science fiction.To tell a good story, to be lively and interesting, to have conflicts and reversals, to have deep philosophical thoughts, science fiction must sacrifice some truth.For example, in Avalanche, the main character Hiro fights a merchant with a samurai sword, and Hiro cuts off the merchant’s leg. Do you think this will happen in Meta’s Horizon Worlds?There’s no katana, no legs.None of this is necessary for Horizon Worlds.Limitations mean that science fiction works are affected by the limitations of The Times and cannot fully reflect the real law of scientific and technological development.In Asimov’s Final Questions, for example, future supercomputers will still use paper tape for input and output.In Doraemon, if the phone in the phone booth is still dial-up cable;The “snowflakes” often seen in “Avalanche” actually refer to the electromagnetic noise received by the analog TV antenna, which is almost unheard of by the post-2000s generation.The reality is that it is cheap and easy to use and can be commercialized.Using the meta-universe of Avalanche and Ready Player One as a guide to the design and development of the real meta-universe is not a good idea, and it’s easy to go in the wrong direction.One obvious example: the meta-universe in both Avalanche and Ready Player One is a single, vast, all-encompassing virtual world.But is there a need for such a single centralized meta-universe?”There is no single centralized meta-platform, and there shouldn’t be,” Microsoft CEO Nadella said during a conference call announcing the Activision blizzard deal. “We have to support many meta-platforms.”The big boys have spoken. Is he right?In fact, there are many cases and data to prove that a single centralized meta-universe is technically impossible and unnecessary.Here, I’ll start with the familiar robot sweeper and analyze why a single centralized metasomes won’t exist.Science fiction writer Isaac Asimov mentions a phenomenon in the Elevator Effect:A person living in 1850 would have imagined a skyscraper of more than 100 stories in the 20th century. He would have thought that since the building was so high that it was difficult to get up and down, there must have been a self-contained community system in the upper floors of the building, including schools, businesses, restaurants…But no one would have thought of the elevator, which was invented in 1852.Elevators eliminate the need for self-contained community systems.This is known as the “elevator effect” : our imagination of the future is easily limited by our established thinking.Similar things have happened in the field of robots. Household robots in early science fiction movies were basically humanoid robots that could sweep the floor, do the dishes, do the laundry and so on.But that’s not how it works in reality.Considering the technical difficulty, use effect, production cost, stability and cost-effective, these housework were respectively by sweeping robot, dishwasher, washing and drying machine to complete.Some chores, like Laundroid, went out of business, not because they were technically unattainable, but because they were too cheap.Some housework, comprehensive consideration is not suitable for robot, such as washing and drying machine is sometimes better than a combination of washing machine + dryer.These highly professional machines, is the real household robot into our life, rather than humanoid all-round household robot.The housework robot in the science fiction movie has head and limbs like human beings, can think like human beings, they work like human beings, and then it is often the robot has the sense of power, abandoned the job, began to resist the tyranny of human beings…This is how the robot sweeps the floor in real life, and it does it all year round.What kind of robot do you need?You need the mopping robot to think “Who am I?”?To be practical, do you want to buy the average sweeper for $2,000, or the sweeper for $200 million that can discuss Nietzsche and Kant?Universal robots are common in science fiction works. Firstly, there were no robots in the era when the author wrote the novel, so he naturally thought about the form of robots from the perspective of servants.The second is to consider the art of the work, from “human made robot” to think about “God made man”, “whether robots have human rights” to discuss racial equality, so the robot should be designed like a human.But in reality specialized robots in specialized fields are more feasible, and this is reflected in the metaverse.Single Metaverse × Multiple Metaverse √ In many metaverse scenarios, there will be a single giant metaverse platform where players can log in and play a variety of games, like Avalanche and Ready Player One.Why is Roblox considered a meta-universe?Because it is such a platform.The reality, however, is that the universe faces business model, technical, and legal constraints that make it almost impossible.First, the business model is not mature.The games on Roblox are basically young versions of classic gameplay.This is true both in terms of the data and in terms of the content of the game, as I discussed in “Don’t Listen to the reports, Meta-cosmic Studies are enough.” Jailbreak, for example, is a Jailbreak clone of a game from Jailbreak.But as an adult or teenager, do you want to play Jailbreak, a boxy Jailbreak, or do you want to play the original, beautifully painted Jailbreak?The gap is clear.In addition, the quality of games produced by amateur developers is difficult to compete head-on with commercial games, and commercial games face limited revenue and unclear copyright issues, which limit Roblox’s expansion.For now, the path for Roblox-like platforms is to serve as incubators for game development, cultivating creative but unskilled developers and then turning them into full-time employees.Half-life MOD CS, Warcraft 3 MOD DOTA, and DOTA2 MOD Doduo Self-Move are all examples of this.Roblox, with games like PIGGY: Hunt that eventually made it to Steam, is a viable route.Second, a single, technically “large and complete” universe is also unrealistic.The above three MOD games such as CS are all developed based on the system of the original game, and there are shortcomings in the development efficiency, gameplay and scalability of cross-system development games.For example, if you do a FPS MOD with DOTA2, it’s not impossible, but why not do it with an FPS game?Efficiency and extensibility are often incompatible. The more specialized an engine is, the more efficient it is, but the less scalable it is, and vice versa.Roblox’s physics engine is great for action games, but not for Japanese-style RPGS;RPG Maker’s event scripts are handy, but don’t make much sense for action games.Then the “big and complete” meta-universe has to put all these games together, and the amount of game code is huge.Development costs aside, think about whether your computer’s hard drive will fit.Cloud gaming, you say?Considering the current download rates for multiplayer on the web, it’s hard to see a mature commercial experience of meta-party, let alone the meta-universe.Technological development is a relay race, and many of the basic technologies of the universe are not yet mature, but more imaginary.Third, the mononuces are hard to legally permit.This is easy to say. It is hard to believe that the government will allow a large and complete metasomes to exist under increasingly stringent antitrust regulations, and with competition among the tech giants, it is highly unlikely that a single metasomes will dominate.To sum up: the single centralized metaverse of science fiction does not conform to the objective laws of reality.One disadvantage of a single centralized metasurverse is that it is not necessary.In gaming, people who love turn-based strategy games don’t necessarily like fast-paced action fighting games, and there’s no need to force players of the two games together.Different styles of games, such as medieval Dungeons & Dragons fantasy and cyberpunk near-future science fiction, also don’t mix well and break immersion.The meta-universe of randomly designed avatars described in Avalanche would feel weird in real life.The same is true in the social space, where Momo is able to survive among the giants because many people want to keep their relationships separate from their flirtatioussocial networks to protect their privacy.Some features also don’t fit together, as Meta developed Horizon Workrooms, which focus on the workplace, after developing Horizon Worlds. Entertainment and work don’t fit together, otherwise how can you sneak under the boss’s nose?Professional pluralism is the way to go rather than a single centralized one.