Estimated at 4,460 billion euros in 2019, the global digital market continues to develop: in 2022, it is expected to grow by 7.1%.
This sector, which is the present and future of our societies, is the mother of the largest global companies such as Alphabet, Tencent, Microsoft, Meta or Google. These companies are now betting on a new sector that is supposed to compensate for the loss of growth of social networks that have reached the end of their profitability : the Metaverse.
The metaverse is a persistent online world with a developed economy, which can be experienced in virtual reality by a (theoretically) unlimited number of people. Initially intended more for the world of video games, it is now reaching the world of business and cryptocurrency, offering great growth prospects.
Indeed, if the Covid-19 crisis has widely democratized telecommuting and videoconferencing, these practices have many disadvantages, especially regarding team cohesion.
The metaverse could well remedy this by allowing employees to exchange effectively more or less formally, without sacrificing non-verbal communication thanks to virtual reality. The American management consulting firm Accenture already has a similar virtual space, while in France, it is the business schools that are innovating by offering their students virtual campuses.
However, not being an exception in the digital sector, the metaverse remains mainly American and Chinese. Despite the uncertainty of its potential, the investments of the two major players are multiplying, while Europe is struggling to impose itself. Despite E. Macron’s desire to create a European metaverse, Brussels, which lacks a “European Giant”, is unable to centralize investments and is content, as it often is, to follow its American ally.
In addition to the financial and legal issues that are currently being debated, the technical limits, particularly those related to the number of simultaneous participants and the quality of the image, will not be overcome any time soon. The metaverse, sometimes fantasized as an escape from reality, will develop at the expense of reality, consuming ever more bandwidth, materials and energy. Elon Musk dreamed of building a new world on Mars, man may be creating a new one to measure, at the expense of the old one.