Meta, formerly Facebook, has decided to invest $150 million in an immersive learning project, which is basically to make courses and teach in the metaverse with virtual campuses.
For this, it appears that as many as 10 virtual college campuses will be opened for more than 45 thousand students. To do this, Meta has decided to establish a partnership Victoryxr, an American virtual reality company.
Daniel Mintz, head of the computer science department at the University of Maryland (UMGC), said:
“We’ve never had a campus before, and now we have our first. It has a duck pond.”
The 10 college campuses that will be created in the metaverse correspond to 10 as many American universities that have joined the initiative, namely the University of Kansas School of Nursing, New Mexico State University, South Dakota State University, Florida A&M University, West Virginia University, Southwestern Oregon Community College, California State University, Dominguez Hills, and Alabama A&M University.
A total of 5 degree programs will be structured, which are free as they are already included in the normal course fee.
Steve Grubbs, founder of Victoryxr, said:
“Education is an exciting use case for the metaverse, and Meta Immersive Learning will help creators around the world gain skills for the metaverse and create immersive experiences for learners.”
The social side of the metaverse
Surely campuses can accommodate a lot of people, but having the ability to accommodate students remotely could welcome even more. Moreover, this application of the metaverse is very interesting for all students with disabilities, children, or those who are momentarily unable to reach the campus and attend classes every day for other reasons.
Economic problems for Meta
According to July data, Meta is reportedly losing money. Indeed, the company’s second-quarter 2022 financial results were not particularly positive; the cumulative loss was $5.7 billion.
This would also be due to Facebook: in fact, the social network has lost 6 million average daily active users and 20 million average monthly active users in Europe since the end of 2021, with a decline that is continuing into 2022.
Despite this, or perhaps just to innovate and gain acceptance, in August Meta had announced the launch of a new identification system, with new accounts and profiles for the metaverse with Meta Horizon. Specifically, new users of Meta VR devices will need to create a Meta account using an email address or link an existing Facebook or Instagram account, facilitating integration between social profiles.
The benefits of the metaverse in the tourism sector
Web 3.0 is slowly gaining momentum, and many companies and startups are trying to get into it, with a wide variety of applications.
In addition to teaching, one of the sectors that could be interesting for the metaverse is tourism.
In this case, in addition to a social aspect for those who do not have the possibility to move from home, there are also other possible developments, such as doing surveys or simulations of the physical experience, viewing options for setting up an event, but also giving tours of closed places to protect the heritage from the tourist crowd.
Pros and cons of the metaverse
Of course, there are also detractors of this technology. For example, recently Phil Spencer, head of the Xbox brand and CEO of Microsoft’s gaming department, declared himself skeptical regarding the metaverse seen not only as nothing new but also as a technology that could confuse users and their relationship with reality.
The Bank of England (BoE) had also taken a position in August against the adoption of crypto and NFTs in the metaverse, which the bank said would pose a systemic risk to financial stability.
Last but not least, former CEO of Google Eric Schmidt also expressed skepticism regarding applications of the metaverse especially in the real estate sector, explaining that people will not really need to have virtual land.
The real estate market in the metaverse
Real estate is perhaps one of the most thriving sectors in the metaverse if we think of all the virtual land and houses purchased in recent years on platforms such as The Sandbox.
Whether it is to build virtual stores, hold events or whatever, the first step in being able to play or have a business in the metaverse is in fact to buy land or game assets.
In fact, one of the sales records is actually held by an NFT of a virtual yacht that cost its owner a whopping $12 million.