Maybe older brains can’t handle the metaverse?
I read a lot about the metaverse these days, and in a few recent columns authored by my colleagues, I’ve seen different points of view. One of them stood out for me: A colleague wrote that maybe we aren’t the audience for the metaverse, because we’re too old and not as interested in it.
I think she may be right, but I think there may be more to it.
It’s truly not fair for me to write about the metaverse. For me, it is a construct for gaming or meetings, and that’s it. I love the idea of meetings in the metaverse, if they are more photorealistic or live-streamed rather than avatar-driven. To me, the avatars are too cartoon-y and ‘90s gaming-esque.
From a gaming perspective, the metaverse is “real.” I see how much my kids engage with the three-dimensional worlds they play in, and I know this is normal for them.
This is a generation raised on Minecraft. While Minecraft may be the most simplistic of the metaverse worlds in terms of graphics, it is immersive, and my kids love it. I personally have trouble following the action because it is so non-linear. The perspective changes rapidly and constantly and it can become unnerving to follow. That is a visual and mental construct my kids have been trained to understand, and which my older brain has not.
One thing I know: The metaverse is inevitable. As with most technological advances, the younger you catch on, the more it is likely to evolve with you as you mature.
The internet was like that for me and my generation. We operated in a world pre- and post-internet. I know what the world was like before cellphones and browsers, but as a proud member of Generation X, I know when this all started and what it was like to be an early adopter in a business sense. I know what lines were drawn in the workplace when some people understood a technology and others did not.
I know what it's like to be partially responsible for the advancement of an entire global platform, and the metaverse is like that with the next generation. They will know a world pre- and post-metaverse, and can lend a unique point of view that will further its advancement.
The metaverse makes even more sense when you consider the global economy that was gripped in a recent pandemic. A post-pandemic world operates differently, and new technology that advances remote engagement and communication gets adopted faster. The metaverse became tangible during COVID, and when the next pandemic rolls around, the metaverse will be ready. Virtual at-home concerts will be more immersive. Entertainment options will be expanded. The world wants ways to get together, even when you can’t do so in-person.
So for me and my colleagues to write about the metaverse seems inappropriate. The right people to write about the metaverse are somewhere between the ages of 13 and 21. These are the people whose points of view are most applicable, although their points of view are driven less from a business experience perspective and more from that of a sociable, naïve point of view. But keep looking out there. There are young minds that are focused on telling the story of what the metaverse will be in years to come. Those are the voices of the future, which you should be seeking out.