Exit The Metaverse, Enter MetaNesia
In the current economic climate the tech sector’s appetite for virtual worlds appears to be declining, but Indonesia’s government sees them as an opportunity to wrest back control of the online world from the likes of Google and Facebook.
Metaverse hype has been everywhere since Facebook became Meta nine months ago. But now figures from workplace researcher Revelio Labs, reported by Bloomberg, show new monthly job postings across all industries with “metaverse” in the title declining 81% between April and June.
That coincides with the tech sector’s first stumble in its previously unstoppable forward march: Meta, Twitter and Snap all recently flagged falling ad revenues while Alphabet is growing at its slowest rate in several years.
Even as Big Tech seems to be reassessing the potential of the metaverse, the Indonesian government has just heralded PT Telkom Indonesia’s launch of “metaNesia” – a virtual world that aims to act as a platform for Indonesia’s micro-, small, and mid-sized enterprises to showcase their goods on an equal footing with larger foreign businesses.
Why it matters
One person’s problem is another’s opportunity – and Big Tech certainly has plenty of problems at the moment, from regulatory issues to political ones. The Financial Times highlights new EU rules driving towards interoperability of messaging services and, in the US, moves by the FTC to prevent tech giants simply buying up emerging potential competitors; at the same time, geopolitical divisions are leading away from the global internet towards a fragmented one.
Those developments pose a potential threat to the network effect that has powered the tech giants to their current pre-eminence. Anything that loosens their grip on the ad dollars they have hoovered up along the way may occupy more of their time and effort than building new worlds (about which many people remain cynical in any case). It also creates a window for smaller, alternative players, such as metaNesia, to build a base.
As Indonesia’s State-Owned Enterprises Minister said: “Don’t let other countries create a new world with their own payment system, while the market remains in Indonesia. Then we will regret it.”