The metaverse is, in essence, the future of the internet. A virtual reality in which people interact through the use of 3D avatars, the metaverse will take place in augmented and virtual reality besides conventional computing. Many companies are diving into metaverse development, with many predicting the metaverse will replace the internet we know today.
Beijing-based tech company Baidu began its foray into the metaverse with the launch of its virtual app, XiRang. According to Baidu vice president Ma Jie, despite the app being in development for just over a year, XiRang is still “negative six” years from a full launch, reported CNBC on Thursday.
Alvin Graylin, president of HTC, also weighed in on the development timeline for a metaverse stating, “A full metaverse will take five to ten years of development.” Graylin admitted, however, that he could not comment specifically on Baidu’s metaverse app.
Baidu’s First Metaverse Conference
The first Chinese conference to be held via the metaverse, “Create 2021,” began on December 27th, 2021, through the XiRang technology. According to Ma, XiRang can currently host 100,000 developers virtually over the three-day conference.
Ma explains Baidu’s goal is to build an infrastructure for the virtual world by developing an open-source platform aimed at metaverse developers. Despite its use of technologies like blockchain, Baidu has announced XiRang will not support cryptocurrencies or the trade of virtual assets. Baidu’s decision isn’t all that surprising considering China’s ban on digital currencies.
Demonstrations on Tuesday displayed how the app simulates the real world. Avatars can walk and take public transit to navigate. However, the demo also showcased some current issues, such as avatars walking through solid objects. The metaverse app also flashes black or purple momentarily while loading, proving that the app’s development is still in progress.
Accordingly, CNBC reports Graylin stating via email, “The key challenge of achieving the full Metaverse ecosystem will likely be less about specific technology or products, but more about the underlying infrastructure, international regulatory agreement, and global standards. It will take a joint global effort across many companies and governments to deliver on the promise of the metaverse.”