The subtitle of Matthew Ball’s new book “The Metaverse” makes a bold claim: “It Will Revolutionize Everything.”
But the insight Ball, a venture capitalist and former Amazon executive, has to offer has less to do with proving that revolution is coming than in providing an overdue, comprehensive explanation of how it will happen. The book expands on his “metaverse primer,” a series of essays published last summer (ahead of Meta’s big rebrand, it should be noted) that explore the technological changes that will characterize, and are necessary to create, a fully immersive 3D internet.
I called Ball this week to talk about misconceptions around what the metaverse actually is, why the world’s biggest corporations — and Ball himself — are investing so much money in it, and what role real-world regulators might play in shaping said “revolution” in the digital one. An edited version of our conversation follows:
What inspired you to write the “Metaverse Primer,” and why do you think it’s important for people outside the industry to understand this technology?
My experiences with Fortnite and Roblox in 2018 led me to believe that it was starting to become a practical business opportunity. I learned a ton in three years about these hard problems that are of extraordinary significance to the global economy, whether you believe in the metaverse or not — around what networks can do and the problems that computing processors can solve, and will be able to solve.So I just decided to formalize that into the primer.