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Cannes 2023 – Marché du Film

Rapporto industria: Realtà virtuale

I visionari europei del metaverso scendono a Cannes NEXT

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CANNES 2023: Un gruppo di relatori ha esplorato il pensiero a lungo termine, la convergenza di mondi fisici e virtuali e il potere di trasformazione dell'IA generativa

I visionari europei del metaverso scendono a Cannes NEXT
Un momento durante il panel

Questo articolo è disponibile in inglese.

The concept of the metaverse has sparked immense curiosity and debate amongst industry professionals, generating excitement and scepticism in equal measure. At Cannes NEXT, part of the Marché du Film, a panel discussion featured European metaverse visionaries who shed light on the potential of this emerging technology to reshape the entertainment landscape.

Sofie Hvitved, futurist and senior advisor at the Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies, set the tone for the panel by emphasising the importance of long-term thinking. She highlighted the tendency of various industries, including media and film, to focus on short-term returns, rather than envisioning future possibilities. Hvitved urged the audience to look beyond the present and consider the transformative potential of generative AI, which has already demonstrated explosive changes. She stressed the need to explore the metaverse with a serious and ambitious mindset, acknowledging its capacity to revolutionise storytelling, communication and media interaction.

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Miikka Rosendahl, CEO of ZOAN, emphasised the continued interest and investment in the metaverse by major brands. He acknowledged the initial hype surrounding the concept and its subsequent decline, but emphasised that the metaverse is far from dead. Rosendahl highlighted the growing popularity of gamified experiences among younger generations and the increasing demand for immersive entertainment. He discussed ZOAN's work with global brands like Nike and Meta, indicating a clear interest in building metaverse experiences and preparing for the future. Rosendahl also touched upon virtual entertainment, historical modelling and the creation of dynamic virtual worlds, showcasing the diversity of opportunities within the metaverse.

Julie Šislerová, who works in New Business Development at Brainz Immersive, presented the concept of mixed reality as the logical next step in immersive experiences. She touched upon the power of virtual reality (VR) in transporting users to new worlds, but emphasised the potential of merging physical and digital elements. Šislerová showcased a mixed-reality game called Trek Craft, which transforms real-world surroundings into a virtual racetrack. This demonstration illustrated the possibilities of blending physical and digital objects, offering an immersive experience beyond the confines of VR headsets. She emphasised the importance of marrying physical and digital worlds in the metaverse, foreseeing it as a significant development in storytelling and user engagement.

Anssi Komulainen, project director at the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, delved into the key aspects of immersiveness and persistence within the metaverse. He explained that while traditional metaverse experiences involve diving into virtual worlds for short periods, the future lies in persistent worlds that continue to evolve even when users are not actively engaged. Komulainen highlighted gaming as an example of persistent metaverse experiences, where users can immerse themselves in a continuous and dynamic environment. This perspective emphasised the potential for the metaverse to offer lasting, immersive experiences beyond isolated moments, contributing to a more democratised and inclusive form of entertainment.

As the panel discussion progressed, moderator AC Coppens drew attention to the imminent arrival of XR glasses, which are expected to catalyse the accessibility and quality of metaverse experiences. The panellists agreed that while the initial version of XR glasses may not bring about a revolution, they will undoubtedly enhance the level of content and storytelling capabilities. Coppens and the participants emphasised the fact that the metaverse is not a single company or technology, but rather a collaborative effort that involves multiple stakeholders, including artists, developers, policymakers and users. They stressed the importance of fostering an open and inclusive ecosystem that encourages innovation, creativity and diverse perspectives.

Building upon this idea, Hvitved proposed the concept of a “metaverse sandbox” where creators can experiment, collaborate and iterate on ideas. This sandbox environment would provide a space for artists, developers and users to co-create and shape the future of the metaverse. The panellists expressed their optimism about the potential of such an approach, envisioning a metaverse that evolves organically based on collective input and experimentation.

Komulainen brought up the need for ethical considerations and responsible design principles in the development of the metaverse. He raised concerns about potential negative impacts, such as addiction, privacy breaches and inequality. The panellists agreed that a proactive approach is necessary to address these challenges and ensure that the metaverse benefits society as a whole.

The discussion also touched upon the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in the metaverse. Hvitved made mention of the transformative power of generative AI in creating dynamic and personalised experiences for users. She noted that AI algorithms can analyse user data and preferences to generate content tailored to individual interests, allowing for more immersive and engaging experiences.

Rosendahl expanded on this idea by discussing the potential of AI-driven virtual characters or avatars within the metaverse. He described how AI algorithms could enable virtual characters to interact and respond intelligently to users, blurring the lines between reality and fiction. This level of interactivity would enhance storytelling and create deeper connections between users and virtual experiences.

Finally, the panellists also explored the economic aspects of the metaverse. They acknowledged the potential for new business models and revenue streams, such as virtual real estate, digital goods and virtual events. However, they cautioned against a purely profit-driven approach, emphasising the importance of maintaining a balance between commercial interests and the integrity of the metaverse experience.

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