Diving into the Metaverse

November 22, 2021

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Here at ResoluteAI we usually have our heads down focusing on improving search and retrieval tools for natural sciences - biology, chemistry, biochemistry - and we’re usually helping healthcare, life sciences and medical device companies. But we couldn’t resist doing some high-level ResoluteAI research on the metaverse, as it’s all the rage.  

We went through a few of our datasets to see who’s been writing and building what about the metaverse.

Metaverse in the news

Not surprisingly, with the announcement of Facebook changing their name to Meta and their aggressive move to create a metaverse, the number of news stories mentioning metaverse has skyrocketed. Below is weekly mentions of metaverse in the news:

Mentions of "metaverse" in the news since September, 2020.Mentions of "metaverse" in the news since September, 2020.

Facebook is the most frequently mentioned, often in the same article with other companies:

ResoluteAI's network graph showing companies mentioned in the news in relation to the term "metaverse."ResoluteAI's network graph showing companies mentioned in the news in relation to the term "metaverse."

 

What is being written about the metaverse in academic publications?

Mention of the word metaverse in scientific journals goes back to at least the year 2000.

Mentions of the word "metaverse" in publications starting in the year 2000.Mentions of the word 'metaverse' in publications starting in the year 2000.

Back in 2010, in the book Emerging Practices in Cyberculture and Social Networking, Melissa de Zwart and David Lindsay wrote a chapter called Governance and the Global Metaverse. Here’s the abstract, which presages much of the criticism currently being hurled at Facebook (Meta) as they try to create and dominate the “metaverse”:

The governance of emerging global online communities such as MMORPGs, virtual worlds and social networking sites, raises fundamental issues concerning the legitimacy of rule-making, including problems such as the applicability of democracy and the rule of law, issues of consent and accountability, public versus private rule making and the application of national laws to global virtual communities. This chapter will consider questions regarding the legitimacy of decisions made by private entities, especially service providers, the relevance of applying territorial national laws to global technological spaces and the rights of citizens of virtual communities. It will also consider the role of the networked ‘dividual’ within these communities and consider the relationship between the dividual and regulation and control. It concludes that governance of virtual spaces must reflect the networked nature of the global metaverse that gives effect to individual choices regarding social actions.

There are a handful of academics that have written widely about the metaverse, including Elif Ayiter and Hideyuki Kanematsu.

ResoluteAI's Network Graph showing the relationship between metaverse tags and academic authors.ResoluteAI's Network Graph showing the relationship between metaverse tags and academic authors.

 
Are there patents involving the metaverse?

There are almost 300 patents that mention the word metaverse, and some of these go back before 2007. The heatmap below shows the number of patents each year since 2007, with some of the tags we’ve assigned to these patents.

Heatmap of patents mentioning the word "metaverse" by tags ResoluteAI has assigned and publication date.Heatmap of patents mentioning the word 'metaverse' by tags ResoluteAI has assigned and publication date.

The top assignees for patents that mention metaverse can be seen below. Not surprisingly, Activision/Blizzard hold many patents in the area. Perhaps surprisingly, Facebook does not hold any patents but Winklevoss IP LLC holds five. These are related to the digital currency Metaverse ETP.

Heatmap of the top assignees of patents mentioning the word "metaverse" by assignee name and publication date.Heatmap of the top assignees of patents mentioning the word 'metaverse' by assignee name and publication date.

Facebook (Meta) does have a growing number of patents that are tagged as either Artificial Reality, Augmented Reality or Virtual Reality, which could all be related to the metaverse.

Bar graph of patents by ResoluteAI tags and company related to artificial reality, augmented reality, or virtual realityBar graph of patents by ResoluteAI tags and company related to artificial reality, augmented reality, or virtual reality

 
Clinical trials: The metaverse and virtual worlds

There really aren’t any clinical trials that mention metaverse, but if we use ‘virtual world” as a proxy for metaverse there are actually quite a few. It seems, though, that a major use of virtual worlds in the clinical trial setting is for Behavior modification.

Heatmap of clinical trials related to 'virtual world' by ResoluteAI categories and start dateHeatmap of clinical trials related to 'virtual world' by ResoluteAI categories and start date

 
What companies are involved in the metaverse?

In Crunchbase there are over 100 companies that have metaverse in either their name or their business description, with founding dates stretching back to 2011. Four examples:

  • Metaverse Property is the first virtual real estate company in the world, offering exposure to the burgeoning industry of virtual land via the metaverses. We facilitate the buying and selling of virtual property along with a full suite of services that are provided by pioneers of the blockchain and non-fungible token (NFT) industry. Metaverse Property has also created the first virtual real estate investment trust (REIT) to represent the various metaverses that are growing at a rapid pace.

  • Metaverse is a leading public blockchain based in China. Designed to facilitate low-cost, convenient transfer of digitized personal data and assets with unprecedented security and privacy, Metaverse aims to revolutionize the way financial services and transactions are processed, and to improve outdated and inefficient identity verification services with a network of Digital Assets,​ Digital Identities, and Oracle​ Intermediaries.

  • Stage11 is a technology startup leveraging cutting-edge technology to reimagine music for the metaverse. Our interactive music experiences invite fans to live inside the performances and musical worlds of their favorite artists. This forms the core of a new music metaverse that will give artists, brands, creators, and fans tools to co-create and share unique digital experiences & content.

  • Bloktopia is the virtual reality metaverse that will allow users to Learn, Earn, Play, and Create and provides a central hub for everything cryptocurrency.

Bar graph showing the increase in companies related to the"metaverse" for the last 10 yearsBar graph showing the increase in companies related to the"metaverse" for the last 10 years

Conclusion

To borrow a thought from William Gibson, “the metaverse is here, it’s just not evenly distributed.”  The concept of a metaverse or virtual world is not new.  Second Life was established in 2003 and there has been tremendous growth in applications for virtual and augmented reality. The goal of this report is to highlight some of the analytic capabilities of ResoluteAI’s Foundation, on a topical and rapidly expanding field, now that Facebook (Meta) has leapt in.

For more information on ResoluteAI’s research and analytical tools, please contact us at info@resolute.ai or drop us a line using the link below.

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Steven Goldstein

Steven Goldstein is the CEO of ResoluteAI. He has spent his career developing information retrieval tools for researchers in many industries. ResoluteAI is at the forefront of the application of AI and ML for commercial scientific enterprises.