Meaningless metaverse? The No front has no doubts

Leading it is Bernard and Antoine Arnault, father and son and deus ex machina of LVMH. But they are not the only ones with doubts about the value of virtualization of life and shopping that is absorbing huge investments, but still does not know what it will become


“The Metaverse is the internet that nobody wants“. Or: “Is the Metaverse a bubble about to burst?”. Or: “Companies are spending billions on a Metaverse that makes no sense“. Despite all the talk and promotion of the Metaverse, the ‘no’ front is growing. More and more, in fact, are the sceptics and the perplexed, and among them, there are also leading figures, at least in the fashion world. A Metaverse that, on closer inspection, has distant roots, if we think of the Multi-User Dungeon (aka MUD) that has been around since 1978. But since Facebook changed its name to Meta Platforms Inc., interest in the Metaverse has exploded. Far too much, some argue.

The No front has no doubts

One of the first people to use the term ‘bubble’ to refer to the Metaverse was LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault in early 2022. “We have to see what the applications of the Metaverse and NFTs will be,” he says, recalling how, at the beginning of the internet era, in the early 2000s, several people wanted to create platforms along the lines of Facebook. “Only one of them worked, so let’s be careful.” Translated: let’s tread lightly, as the investments involved are very high. Some recent news also induces caution. For example, those concerning cryptocurrencies, whose price has collapsed. Or, as Revelio Labs (a US company that analyses the job market) reports, between April and June 2022, personnel searches for projects related to the Metaverse crashed: -by 81%.

I am an anti-Metaverse

Ever since Bernard Arnault expressed his wait-and-see strategy on the Metaverse, LVMH has not been idle. For instance, it created Livi, its virtual ambassador (in the picture), on the occasion of its participation in Viva Technology, a technology conference held in Paris last June. But since ‘like father, like son’, Antoine Arnault also publicly joined the ‘no’ side. “Until the experiences of an evening with friends,” he tells Gentleman, “of a dinner at a starred restaurant or shopping at Louis Vuitton in the Metaverse is at least equal to those of reality, I will say that I am an anti-Metaverse. That doesn’t mean being old‘.

Outerverse: the anti-Metaverse

Amidst much posturing, there are also those who are taking action. US company Outside Interactive has announced that it will launch the Outerverse, a digital container that will bring together an NFT marketplace, a publishing platform focused on outdoor content, and a loyalty programme that incentivises people to spend time outdoors. “The concept of Outerverse is to be the anti-Metaverse,” CEO Robin Thurston tells Fast Company. “It’s not my goal to convince people to spend more time in virtual reality.” (mv)

Read also: