The “real estate of the future” is plagued by buggy software, empty servers, and huge opportunities for abuse.
In other words, buying “real estate” on these platforms is like buying property in Manhattan, but in a world where anyone could feasibly create an infinite amount of alternative Manhattans that are just as easy to get to. Which means the only reason for users to buy into this Manhattan is if it offers a better service than the others.
In most respects, these platforms resemble your average video game. You control a customizable 3D avatar with your mouse and keyboard (no VR or AR here) and navigate a virtual environment. The debate over whether a virtual social world counts as a video game is as old as Second Life, but whatever you call them, the primary novel innovation in them is the use of NFTs and cryptocurrencies.
Much of this sounds like building an economy on the sale of tulips 🙂
Plus the VR headsets likely have issues. I recently bought an HP Reverb G2 – set up was problematic, instructions were nil, it does not support a diopter setting making it uncomfortable to use for most people over age 40-45 who need reading glasses, and system software start up and launch was a bit time consuming and required switching back and forth between the VR headset (then take it off momentarily) and using the mouse to select items on the computer screen.
This is acceptable for most of us geeks but is not going to cut it for widespread consumer adoption and use.
I have sincere doubts that most people will find wearing a VR headset for hours to be a comfortable experience – and for now has limits such as many of us still need to interact in the real world during that time too.
UPDATE: Oh. Facebook VP says much the same about the practical reality of using VR headsets. You can’t drink coffee while using the FB headset. Perhaps there will be future eyeglass-like VR/AR projection systems. Oddly enough, it was only a few years back that the pundits called 3D viewing glasses “3D Goggles” that were uncomfortable. Just a year later, those same pundits were raving about VR Helmets being so cool and everyone would love them!