Emirates News Agency – Tech giants vs small players on metaverse, victory still uncertain: Sofie Hvitved

By Binsal Abdulkader

ABU DHABI, 17th November, 2022 (WAM) — Although big tech dominates the existing digital space, the metaverse – a virtual reality space where users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users – is likely to make more room for small businesses , an adviser told the Emirates News Agency (WAM).

However, it is still uncertain whether small players will win the race against big tech in the metaverse, says futurist, senior advisor and media manager at the Institute for Future Research in Copenhagen, Sofie Hvitved.

The metaverse as an open and decentralized space?
In an interview with WAM at the World Media Congress in Abu Dhabi, she said that in addition to big tech, which has already made large investments in the metaverse, many smaller companies have also jumped into the fray. “This trend shows the potential of the metaverse to be a more open, decentralized and democratized space, but the future will reveal the reality,” the adviser added.

“I think this is one of the big uncertainties right now. Who will be the winners – those who control and build the metaverse – is very unclear now; because many different stakeholders are testing different models,” explained Hvitved.

“Because of the ongoing global economic slowdown, many businesses will collapse and die,” she pointed out, adding, “So many people who test this (metaverse) may not be successful. As we’ve seen now, the power dynamics are changing, new companies are getting bigger, big companies are getting smaller. We have to be aware of these changes”.

Consumers demand more from big technology
When asked if the dominance of big tech was still intact, despite the changing power dynamics she mentioned, Hvitved said that some tech giants’ market share had declined, although they are always good players. “They can go back up, but somehow the public starts to demand new things,” she noted, referring to consumer concerns about the management of the property by big companies. technologies, algorithms, etc. We don’t want that anymore. We want more transparency, more ownership, more control.

According to the expert, such consumer demands can push the market in a different direction. “We’re observing tectonic shifts. We absolutely have to be aware of that. Do investors believe it? Confidence in big tech is also waning a bit at the moment,” she said.

Optimistic note about the metaverse
Asked if she hopes the digital space, especially the metaverse, will become more democratic with a level playing field, Hvitved said: “I would say there is hope. The media industry needs to consider who they work with, their value systems, how they treat customers and have good relations with them,” she repeated.

She pointed out that trust is the biggest problem in the media industry and that trust in these institutions is beginning to decline. “So we have to figure out how we can start to prove that you can be trusted,” she said.

Hvitved confirmed that the trust factor is extremely relevant, as large tech companies have millions of customer data.

She spoke on “Investing in the Metaverse: How will media companies benefit from it and what is the expected return on investment?” at the World Media Congress.

First edition of the World Media Congress
The first edition of the World Media Congress was inaugurated on Tuesday in Abu Dhabi under the patronage of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Presidential Court, His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The three-day conference-exhibition event organized by ADNEC Group in collaboration with WAM ends on Thursday.

Under the theme “Shaping the future of the media industry”, the congress gathered more than 1,200 pioneers, specialists and influencers from the media sector from six continents around the world with more than 30 debates and workshops with more than 162 world-renowned speakers.

Translated by: Mervat Mahmoud.



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