Matthew Chapman, Vibe
The most obvious question [about the Metaverse] is whether or not any of this will ever actually replace the need or desire to travel in the real world.
Quote from Matthew Chapman, chief technical officer at Vibe, in an article on PhocusWire this week on what the Metaverse means for travel.
Each Friday, PhocusWire dissects and debates an industry trend or new development covered by PhocusWire that week.
It's so easy to scoff or chuckle at the efforts of so-called Big Tech to go all in on a new product or concept that otherwise leaves many others scratching their heads.
Think Google Wave, Google Glass or Google Plus for starters. Or, to a lesser extent, the iPad Mini. Or Facebook Poke.
There are many launches and ideas that simply were the right product at the wrong time or, even worse, the wrong product at the wrong time.
You get our drift here.
Step forward, Metaverse - Facebook's 3D, augmented-reality, version 2.0 of the internet that is being heralded a major part of the future of the digital realm and the center piece of the company's rebranding effort.
Now, some of us might be able to cast our minds back ot the mid 2000s and the emergence of Second Life, the application that allowed people to create an avatar for themselves and have a second life in an online virtual world.
It was a bit silly, buggy as hell and required a computer with above-average specifications to work, but it offered a glimpse into what a virtual existence might entail.
Beyond the strange nightclubs and other places where "people" could gather (and show off their avatar's latest, self-designed attire), Second Life did attract some interest from the travel sector.
Costa Cruises, for example, built one of its ships in the Linden Lab-created world, allowing users to wander about and get a feel for the space and services (yes, including a nightclub).
There was barely anyone on it, of course, because the vast majority of Second Life users weren't interested in a cruise ship.
And, inevitably and eventually, Second Life dwindled away from a reported high of 21 million users to just a few hundred thousand, most of whom were shopping in the virtual stores that had sprung up over the years.
The point here is that Facebook's Metaverse is - or will be - an iteration of the internet and the digital world that to many seems daft and pointless but will likely become a decent forerunner of what lies ahead, whether we like or not.
This claim can be made because of generations that are not even among the product-buying public at the moment but are already embracing new technology and how they exist in it.
Oculus devices are incredibly popular with teens and you only need to observe kids who are watching a movie such as Ready Player One to understand how energized they are by the opportunities that a digital life can give them.
We don't fully understand because many of us in the industry have not had our formative years immersed in the world of the emerging technologies that are hitting younger people at the moment.
It is when we take a step back, stop rolling our eyes at products like Metaverse for a moment and then consider what such things might mean to the consumers of tomorrow, then it all might make sense.
Scary or otherwise, Metaverse-like products and worlds will be a feature of our lives (or our kids' lives) for decades to come. Brands need to remember that, rather than dismiss them outright.
PhocusWire's editorials examine a trend or development highlighted in an article during the week.