Metaverse developer: the new Eldorado ?
The transformation of Facebook into Meta has caused quite a stir in the IT world. More than a simple name change, for Mark Zuckerberg it is a question of changing the whole environment of the internet. From now on, the web will no longer be limited to watching content, but will be part of it. Meta plans to create a fully interconnected world in which work, social life and leisure will all take place within virtual infrastructures. But the skills and talents needed to develop this metaverse are real.
The American firm Meta plans to recruit for 10,000 highly qualified jobs within the next five years. These will be engineers, researchers and, above all, developers. So is metaverse developer the new IT job of the future?
The metaverse: what are the opportunities for developers?
The metaverse does not only refer to Facebook. This term comes from the contraction of "meta" and "universe" (meta universe) and refers to a shared virtual space resulting from the convergence of virtually enhanced physical reality and virtual space.
Physically persistent: this convergence includes the sum of all virtual worlds, augmented reality and the internet. It is therefore a combination of various technologies and environments.
Technologies and development of the metaverse
The metaverse is a combination of several technological elements, led by virtual reality, augmented reality and video, where users live in a digital universe.
In concrete terms, developing a metaverse application means designing a cross-platform game or "experience" that may combine:
VR systems such as (for example) the Oculus Quest;
emerging virtual worlds (such as Fortnite)
social platforms such as Sensorium Galaxy;
All of these platforms are based on tools that are often already well known to developers, particularly in the world of video games, such as Epic's Unreal Engine, Unity, Amazon Sumerian or Blender.
The skills of metaverse developers are therefore very similar to those of augmented virtual reality or 3D game developers, but not exclusively so.
No matter what your specialties and role in software development are, there will always be a link to the metaverse, as this concept is very broad and constantly evolving.
While the metaverse is back in the spotlight following Facebook's announcements, this environment is far from new. Virtual office meetings with augmented reality glasses or immersive video games with augmented reality headsets are already widely used by internet users and gamers. Above all, other companies have long since created their meta universes.
The best known is probably Microsoft's "enterprise metaverse". In this virtual world, employees can, according to Microsoft, "come together to communicate, collaborate and share with a personal virtual presence on any device". The aim is for companies to create their own immersive spaces within Teams.
Nvidia also created a free version of Omniverse, the company's metaverse, at the beginning of the year, capable of connecting to other virtual universes. The challenge is to help millions of creative professionals and artists around the world collaborate around 3D design and virtual reality environments.
The metaverse is therefore the latest buzzword in the technology industry and offers for metaverse developers should proliferate to accelerate the design and deployment of these virtual worlds. Unless the metaverse does not find an audience...
Metaverse developer: what if it doesn't work?
The metaverse, potential fail?
Whatever Facebook may say, the metaverse is not the long-awaited innovation of recent times. This technology has been developing for several months or even years. Moreover, Mark Zuckerberg's meta universe had already faced a lot of criticism even before its official launch. At the top of the list of criticisms is the vagueness that surrounds the development of this virtual universe in terms of economic model and data protection.
According to Yast Siu, Chairman of Animoca Brands (investor and builder of virtual platforms): "What Facebook is doing with the Metaverse is a fake metaverse unless they can provide a real description of how we could actually have it. "
Meta's share price fell by more than 20% on the stock market on 3 February, shortly after its CEO announced that he was focusing on the metaverse and, above all, after the publication of financial results that were well below shareholders' expectations.
Finally, there is the problem of user acceptance of virtual environments. Augmented reality headsets have not been the commercial success that was hoped for. Major studios such as Viacom have simply stopped developing VR projects. Microsoft also categorically refuses to associate virtual reality with its new Xbox.
Metaverse developer: just a fad?
The metaverse is recruiting a lot of engineers and developers primarily from GAFA companies like Facebook, Microsoft or Apple, but also from start-ups focused on crypto-currencies and blockchains. But in the end, these metaverse developers will mostly focus on a specific platform, technology or environment. A metaverse developer could for example be a C# developer hired to work on the Unity platform, a 3D designer, a blockchain expert, etc.
Whether it's a fad or the future of the web and video games, the metaverse remains a major opportunity for developers. However, it will not reshape the IT market and may only accentuate current trends.