There is No Metaverse Without a Killer App
Go ahead, build your 3D VR worlds and then, please, let’s figure out what to do in them
In the 1989 film Field of Dreams, a disembodied voice tells Kevin Costner to build a baseball field where he’d normally plant crops “and they will come.” Not to spoil the movie, but Costner is building the ballfield for the ghosts of a Chicago Black Sox team and, more importantly, his dead dad. The purpose is to have a psyche-healing game of catch.
For the Field of Dreams, that simple game of catch is the Killer App. It’s the reason and the undeniable utility of the act and the place.
Right now, companies around the world (digital and otherwise) are hearing a similar call. The phrase “The Metaverse,” is being spoken in boardrooms and earning calls, in chatrooms and investor meetings, around developers’ desks and engineering tables. Axios’ Sara Fischer described it as a “Metaverse Bull Market.”
Let’s hope it’s not a Metaverse Bullsh*t market.
Reading Fischer’s story, I had flashbacks to the early days of the Internet, circa 1992–1994. This was before the World Wide Web was a thing (at least for most consumers — we had a tiny collection of sub-par apps that tried to make sense of the Internet). As I noted on Twitter, companies would come into PC Magazine’s mid-town Manhattan offices (where I was a young editor) and, while showing off their next big release, promise that they, too, had an Internet strategy.
Most of the time, these were formless notions that meant connecting to the Information Superhighway but without any idea of how to or which direction to drive. Those that understood the Internet’s potential, though, drove fast, leaving the competition in their dust. Early adopters were part of the Internet Revolution.
That revolution, though, was powered by what is often called a Killer App, an activity, piece of software, application, even hardware that makes you cry out, “Yes! This is what [INSERT PRODUCT OR TECHNOLOGY] was built for and why I must have it!” For the Internet, it might seem like such a singular thing is impossible. The Internet is not a single app or activity. However, I think there were two (maybe three) killer applications that drove the…