For the latest edition of our Metaverse Minute series, we thought we’d share some of our thought leaders’ answers to this question, as we contemplate new approaches for making the metaverse a more inclusive and holistic place to be.
I’m hopeful that the metaverse will be more inclusive and accepting. I look around the XR department at Unity and see the immense cultural diversity of the team I work in. We bring our life experiences and perspectives to work together on the foundations that these spaces will be built on, and that representation makes a difference.
Connect with Roxy on LinkedIn.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) issues are key to the success of the metaverse. These values are foundational for a great user experience and will certainly affect user adoption. What is true in our reality and all of the issues that we already face in our day to day, as a society, will transition to the metaverse; That’s why we need to prioritize tackling them as we build these platforms.
We must enable users to live immersive experiences, and an important part of that equation is inclusivity and safety. For instance, we must see that all languages are well-represented and accessibility norms respected. On the question of representation, we should allow for diversity in avatars too. And not just in terms of race and gender, but in terms of all personal preferences, to guarantee an experience that people want to come back to.
If the metaverse is truly the next evolution of the internet, then everything that is currently true (and not being addressed or prioritized) in the world of web 2.0 will remain true there as well. It would be foolish to think that we can take on these problems in the metaverse if we still can’t solve them in our current context.
To conclude, I truly hope that the new opportunities offered in the metaverse will be a catalyst that prompts more focus on the things that matter in our lives so that we can make the entire world a better place – not just the digital side of it.
I imagine the metaverse as a parallel world where everyone is included, regardless of their physical presence – removing real-world geographical constraints and offering near-limitless capabilities for self-expression. An inclusive and accepting metaverse like this cannot be built by a single company, country, or culture. In order to build this metaverse, we need to reflect the diversity of the real world and embrace collaboration with the goal of us all being architects, builders, participants, and creators at the same time.
I see the metaverse as a place that can really open the world up to a lot of people who previously lacked access. There are many people who cannot engage with others in a typical fashion. The metaverse offers a solution to connect in a way that might work better for them. Maybe they cannot meet with people in person due to a disability or mental health concern, but they can potentially engage with others via the metaverse more easily. If done right, this can be really powerful.
With the social media and technology we have today, we are already starting to see more and more people creating content that shows the world their authentic selves. It’s exciting to see that, given the choice, a lot of people are choosing to normalize the things that make them unique. I believe this can lead to a more inclusive society overall – and with the metaverse, this effect could be magnified.
Connect with Tricia on LinkedIn.
My hope for the metaverse is that it will be inclusive for underrepresented creators right from the start. There are so many people investing in the talent for this digital future. I only hope that they’re not forgetting to invest in some of the most creative and brilliant minds these communities hold.
Connect with James on LinkedIn.
I’ve been involved in meetings with people from different companies and organizations regarding accessibility in XR (AR/VR), and have been exposed to many initiatives taking place in that area. A lot of our current technology is already inaccessible to so many, and if we’re not careful, we’ll continue this trend going into the metaverse. I’m hopeful that Unity can help put a stop to this and lead the way toward inclusive technology.
As someone who cares about accessibility, not even I had considered certain aspects until I was exposed to them. By focusing on accessibility in XR development, more people will understand and care, hopefully taking their newfound understanding into the real world as well.