‘Facebook, Google in, but Metaverse only gets real when Apple joins'

Facebook and Google may have ventured earlier than many into the next big thing, but Apple holds the key to success, Morgan Stanley says.
By BLOOMBERG
| Updated on Nov 13 2021, 12:20 AM IST
Facebook and Google have been investing in VR and AR tech, gateway to the “Metaverse,” but mass market adoption will occur when Apple enters the race.
Facebook and Google have been investing in VR and AR tech, gateway to the “Metaverse,” but mass market adoption will occur when Apple enters the race. (HT_PRINT)

Facebook-owner Meta Platforms Inc. and Alphabet Inc. may have ventured earlier than many into the next big thing, but Apple Inc. holds the key to success, Morgan Stanley says. Facebook and Google have been investing in virtual reality and augmented reality technologies -- a gateway to the virtual worlds in the “Metaverse,” but mass market adoption of “either AR or VR will occur when Apple enters the race,” a research note from the bank said. The consensus belief was based on a survey and chats with a number of upcoming VR/AR companies.

The hardware market for these gadgets is seen as being $100 billion in 2030 and growing another five-fold by 2040, according to Morgan Stanley.

Mark Zuckerberg renamed his company Meta to highlight a shift in focus to virtual reality, signaling the company is an early mover. But there’s merit in Apple’s inclination to wait, the analysts said.

“The benefit of Apple’s more patient approach to entering new markets is that the chances of success increase with a more informed approach to disruption,” wrote technology analysts Katy Huberty and Erik Woodring. Though Apple is “notably absent” on AR/VR hardware, analysts highlighted how Apple didn’t enter the smartphone market until 2007, much later than Nokia Oyj and BlackBerry Ltd.

Big tech aside, the bank sees the trend providing upside to the following stocks in the AR/VR ecosystem: Entain Plc, EssilorLuxottica SA, Teamviewer AG, Ubisoft Entertainment SA, Vodafone Group Plc and Xiaomi

Disney wants to become the happiest place in the metaverse 

(Reuters) - Mickey Mouse is poised to venture into the metaverse. Walt Disney CEO Bob Chapek said the entertainment conglomerate is preparing to make the technological leap into a virtual reality world first imagined by science fiction writers.

It is a popular destination these days, ever since Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the future of his company would be devoted to creating a robust, three-dimensional environment where users’ digital avatars would work, hang out and pursue their hobbies.

Other big companies, including game-makers Roblox Corp and Epic Games, and software giant Microsoft Corp, are working on their own metaverses. Disney’s plan was notably devoid of specifics, beyond dropping a buzzword that has animated Silicon Valley.

Chapek told investors Wednesday that entering this new digital frontier is consistent with Disney’s long history of technological innovation, dating back nearly a century to Steamboat Willie, the first cartoon to feature synchronized sound.

“Our efforts to date are merely a prologue to a time when we'll be able to connect the physical and digital worlds even more closely, allowing for storytelling, without boundaries in our own Disney Metaverse,” Chapek said during Disney’s fourth-quarter earnings call.

In an interview with CNBC, Chapek said he envisions it as an extension of streaming video service Disney -- through the “three-dimensional canvass” he envisions for new types of storytelling.

Disney’s former executive vice president of digital, Tilak Mandadi, wrote on LinkedIn in 2020 about creating a theme park metaverse, where “physical and digital world converge” through wearable devices, smartphones and digital access points.

Not all of Disney’s digital forays have had happy endings. Its online children’s social network, Club Penguin, shuttered in 2017, after 11 years. Its entry into social gaming, via its $563.2 million purchase of Playdom in 2010, resulted in a write-down. Its efforts to capitalize on the galloping popularity of short-form YouTube videos through a $500 million acquisition of Maker Studios in 2014, resulted in the operation being absorbed into other parts of the company.

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First Published Date: 12 Nov, 11:49 PM IST
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