12 votes

Silicon Valley is racing to build the next version of the Internet. Fortnite might get there first

10 comments

  1. wakamex
    (edited )
    Link
    Them quoting the CEO of Epic warning against walled gardens is rich, when their store is the one that took a lot of games off other platforms (Steam) and paid developers to launch exclusively on...

    Them quoting the CEO of Epic warning against walled gardens is rich, when their store is the one that took a lot of games off other platforms (Steam) and paid developers to launch exclusively on theirs.

    I don't see anything like a metaverse coming out of Fortnite. it's a simple game, with limited instances, that doesn't act at all like a platform, except for a few bespoke events coded in, and as the article showed, failed as impractical stunts. Because they've added a bunch of paid skins from other IPs has nothing to do with actually merging those IPs in any meaningful way. They still all operate completely separately.

    CCN: The Fortnite Phenomenon is Dying – is it Dragging Epic Down?

    It’s no secret that Epic has invested a lot of money into the Epic Games Store. Most of that money almost certainly came off of the success of Fortnite. While public perception is starting to turn, people are still not completely happy with the Epic Games Store.

    If Epic ends up losing the Fortnite revenue they could be in trouble. The store is nowhere near finished enough to stand on its own. With some pretty big promises made to developers, they could find themselves rapidly becoming unprofitable.

    I thought its popularity was waning, as its novelty wore off and people got bored with stale mechanics, and competitive fortnite never taking off.

    Looks like they've had a recent uptick in popularity however. Google Trends

    9 votes
  2. [7]
    onyxleopard
    Link
    Isn’t this what MMOs have been doing for a while? How was Second Life not an instantiation of this idea of a Metaverse? Personally, while the idea seems neat in theory, actually having a single...

    Isn’t this what MMOs have been doing for a while?

    How was Second Life not an instantiation of this idea of a Metaverse?

    Personally, while the idea seems neat in theory, actually having a single instance for the whole world seems not so easy. Most MMOs solve this by having multiple instances, and potentially multiple groups of instances by geographical region. This makes sense for technological reasons, but also for legal and political reasons as well.

    8 votes
    1. [3]
      dubteedub
      Link Parent
      It seems like Second Life was a promising metaverse example. This article seems to go into some of the details for how companies are trying to build on the Second Life model as a foundation to...

      It seems like Second Life was a promising metaverse example. This article seems to go into some of the details for how companies are trying to build on the Second Life model as a foundation to realize a full metaverse.

      The promise of virtual reality, or VR, is often summed up by its proponents in the fictional “metaverse,” a digital space that replicates — and in some cases surpasses — the physical world. It’s clearly science fiction (Neal Stephenson coined the term metaverse in his 1992 novel “Snow Crash”), but it has also become a critical touchstone for developers and engineers working in VR today. They have to reach for something.

      A perfect metaverse, then, is more than just a video game or an application. Like a Web browser, or an operating system, it would offer users a means to do many things, and likely pay for them in many ways. That’s the Big Idea — that VR would be as transformative to the Internet as the World Wide Web — and it’s why so many companies are testing the waters. If one or more of them can crack it, they would unlock a great deal of virtual reality’s long-term potential.

      5 votes
      1. [2]
        Greg
        Link Parent
        I think they might be onto something much bigger than they realise with that last part of the quote. Tim Berners-Lee didn't bring the web into existence from nothing, he built on top of TCP and...

        I think they might be onto something much bigger than they realise with that last part of the quote. Tim Berners-Lee didn't bring the web into existence from nothing, he built on top of TCP and DNS. He also built in a way that made content creation a first class function of the system for every user.

        Why not go a step further with the technology we already have? The web already supports an arbitrarily large number of simultaneous users across millions of servers; we have mature methods of shared authentication, data transfer, and synchronisation to make use of. In an abstract sense, the web is the metaverse, in all of its anarchic, corporate dominated, social, antisocial, wildly contradictory glory - it just doesn't feel like it. It's a thing we look at, not a world we exist in.

        VR is the missing link. You can see it every time a person tries it for the first time. I'll never forget the first time I got to walk through a five minute demo on an early revision Rift dev kit: it was closer to reality than anything I'd experienced before, and it still sticks with me seven years later.

        We've already got WebXR, which also allows the vast majority without headsets to be included, and in turn maybe see a compelling reason to buy one. So what else do we need?

        • An entry point to set the scene. We already have at least one dedicated VR browser, but I would say that VRChat comes much closer to what I'm thinking of as a multi-user lobby and jumping off point. The difference is, they're trying to be the virtual world, and that centralisation and top-down limitation can never scale far enough. With the right visual metaphors and the willingness to accept it, a "world" like theirs could be the entry point to an infinite array of other VR worlds. It could literally become the Google of the metaverse.

        • A usable toolkit for content creation. 3D content creation, world building, soundscaping, and the rest is hard. To some extent it always will be. That doesn't mean we shouldn't give users the tools they need to try it. We can go through a Geocities phase, we can go through a MySpace CSS phase, we can let the absolute gems put together by the occasional exceptional Blender artists and indie game developers shine out and become known.

        • A way for websites to define their external representation in the VR world. In the same way that a flat link preview shows you a title and (often) a photo, a virtual link preview should be an object that allows you to move from the world you're in to the one you just "clicked on".

        • A protocol to seamlessly share avatars between virtual worlds. Unlike our current experience of peering in through a window, the virtual world brings a visible "self" into the picture. Keeping that consistent among sites (at the option of the site owner) does a huge amount to maintain continuity and immersion.

        That's not a small list of tasks, but it's also not an insurmountable one. We can build the metaverse with the tools we have now, and we can build it in a way that any single organisation couldn't hope to match.

        5 votes
        1. moocow1452
          Link Parent
          Yes, and the open web gave way to AOL, which took a chunk of the open web, made a tour guide and a garden out of it, and said "we are the internet, enjoy your stay and if you need anything, just...

          Yes, and the open web gave way to AOL, which took a chunk of the open web, made a tour guide and a garden out of it, and said "we are the internet, enjoy your stay and if you need anything, just ask."

          A vast amount of people prefer that experience to the wild blue yonder, and if given the choice between slumming it with Hatsune Miku, Ugandan Knuckles, and Kermit the Frog at a dive bar, or on whatever Facebook iteration exists with all your friends and community guidelines, a significant portion of the populace would choose the latter, companies want to be that location, and the best way to become the place to be is to become everywhere. It's why Reddit took off from the forums and bboards, and where the FAAAMN companies want to be in the next ten years. They're consuming everything in self defense, and if they are the last ones standing, it means they are still standing.

          3 votes
    2. [3]
      skybrian
      Link Parent
      I had a Second Life account for a while and played around with physics a bit in a sandbox zone. Although some of the virtual architecture was pretty spectacular, as a game, it was pretty crude....

      I had a Second Life account for a while and played around with physics a bit in a sandbox zone. Although some of the virtual architecture was pretty spectacular, as a game, it was pretty crude. Downloading new zones was slow. You could get a car or airplane and they might look nice but they didn't actually work very well. I played Minecraft later, and although it's blocky, it's a step up. And these days you could do a lot better.

      I expect Fortnight is more interesting, given the hype and popularity, but I haven't played it.

      2 votes
      1. [2]
        onyxleopard
        Link Parent
        I’m not saying Second Life was that great. I’m just always surprised when people talk about building Snow Crash’s Metaverse as if it’s some distant sci-fi ideal. I always thought the problem was...

        I’m not saying Second Life was that great. I’m just always surprised when people talk about building Snow Crash’s Metaverse as if it’s some distant sci-fi ideal. I always thought the problem was getting a compelling, aesthetically pleasing, persistent world that was actually large enough and flexible enough that it would be fun for more than one kind of audience.

        E.g., Minecraft and Second Life are very flexible (up to a certain level of detail), but not aesthetically attractive (at least with their out-of-the-box engines, textures, etc.).
        World of Warcraft (and EVE online, etc.) has better aesthetics, but is much less flexible and mutable.

        The problem with building rich, mutable, digital worlds is that it takes nearly as much effort to build them as it takes to build things in the real world. It just takes different sorts of resources. And you really need a critical mass of content creators who are also users, which becomes a chicken-and-egg problem.

        If someone can create a rich enough sandbox simulation that can be persistent and allow massively multiplayer simulation, I think the missing piece will still be content. I’m skeptical that FortNite will be the thing to do it, but I also would have bet against Minecraft becoming as popular as it has.

        5 votes
        1. skybrian
          Link Parent
          Once you get used to its look, Minecraft has really nice procedurally generated landscapes. They are often breathtaking, like visiting a national park. (This might possibly be due to leaving...

          Once you get used to its look, Minecraft has really nice procedurally generated landscapes. They are often breathtaking, like visiting a national park. (This might possibly be due to leaving something to the imagination.) Eventually you notice a certain sameness to them, but it takes a while.

          Although better graphics would be nice, I would rather see better physics, particularly for water. I haven't yet seen a game that literally simulates a sandbox, allowing you to build a town and then flood it.

          2 votes
  3. dubteedub
    Link
    I think this is a fascinating topic and really enjoyed reading the story. ... The idea of a concept of a metaverse or something similar has been present in tons of media, from Futurama's depiction...

    I think this is a fascinating topic and really enjoyed reading the story.

    The next version of the Internet is often described as the Metaverse, a term borne from science fiction, describing a shared, virtual space that’s persistently online and active, even without people logging in. It will have its own economy, complete with jobs, shopping areas and media to consume. The Metaverse is inevitable, many believe, and the Silicon Valley C-suite has been obsessed with the idea — as has a video game company in Cary, North Carolina.

    ...

    The most widely agreed core attributes of a Metaverse include always being live and persistent — with both planned and spontaneous events always occurring — while at the same time providing an experience that spans and operates across platforms and the real world. A Metaverse must also have no real cap on audience, and have its own fully functioning economy.

    The idea of a concept of a metaverse or something similar has been present in tons of media, from Futurama's depiction of the internet to the Oasis in Ready Player One. I always thought of it as a pretty far out topic with no chance of being implemented in my lifetime, but it seems like things are coming together much faster than anticipated.

    The author of this article, Gene Park, added on Twitter that he got inspiration for this story from this article:

    And also recommended this piece for further reading:


    I am interested if any folks on Tildes had heard of this concept before now and their thoughts on its future, particularly through a company like Fortnite.

    6 votes