Metavers. Some see it as the future of the Internet, or even the future of all of us. Like the boss of the fire Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg who, last October, announced with fanfare to make it the new hobbyhorse of his company, renamed “Meta”, precisely. But what is it really about?
Forget the laborious investigations on your search bar. The best pedagogical gateway to the subject is currently on Prime Video, and is called Ready Player One. Yes, yes, the little SF gem by Steven Spielberg. A parallel virtual reality film, colorful avatars and thrilling adventures – in short, a work that paints the (jubilant) portrait of a possible metaverse. And announcer.
2045. A spectacle of desolation unfolds before the inhabitants of a world ravaged by the energy crisis, war and insecurity. Like so many others, Wade Watts, an orphan teenager living in a dumping ground in Ohio, wanders. “There is nowhere to go”he summarizes in the trailer of Ready Player One. Nowhere except… the Oasis. A sprawling virtual reality device operating like an MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games) in which all you have to do is put on a VR headset, a jumpsuit and gloves to dive into a truly digital world, but then really, fun.
It is in the colorful landscapes of this gentle outlet that the last owner of the Oasis stashed a easter eggs. Either a kind of “bonus” that will allow whoever has unearthed it to inherit an immense fortune (we are talking about 500 billion, all the same). And especially to acquire the rights of his company.
Not a little seduced by this prospect, Wade launches at the same time as thousands of counterparts as well as armed arms of an organization with dark intentions in this “hunt for the egg” punctuated with car races, sentimental enigmas and of gun fight titanic where several iconic figures of pop culture put themselves on the face. An entire program.
A truly “SF” film?
That Ready Player One gives to see, it is nothing less than what could well be one of the greatest revolutions of the Internet. Or the possibility, for the entire population, of being immersed in an interactive digital universe. A world where everyone has the opportunity to make friends, do gaming and – why not – work.
This (as the film shows) thanks to glasses or virtual reality helmets. And so-called “haptic” devices allowing communication between a human and his digital environment. Whether Ready Player One belongs to the SF register, the technologies that are mobilized there are for the most part already on the market, or in the experimental development phase on the “Meta” side, for example.
In other words, the film no longer has much fiction. Even less crazy. For the best – who would refuse to drive the car ofAkira ? –, but also for the worse. After all, the (real) society in which Wade and his friends live is a dystopia. And seeing hundreds of thousands of humans escaping morning, noon and night, abandoning political struggle and “flesh and blood” encounters in favor of magical artificial universes is enough to kick the ass. Right, Wade?
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Ready Player One: A Prophetic User’s Guide to the Metaverse
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