The term metaverse refers to the virtual worlds in which remote users gather. Well-known metaverses are, for example, the 3D worlds Roblox and Minecraft, which are popular with young people. Major tech parties are also working in metaverses with broader applications, such as Facebook’s parent company’s Horizon Home, Meta, and Microsoft Mesh.
At the new Metaverse Workshop at Media Park, students will work alongside faculty and employees from media and production companies on applications for this ‘immersive technology’. Six vocational schools are working together with Media Perspectives and ClickNL, among others. “Students learn in this hybrid learning environment by doing things and companies have the opportunity to experiment with new technologies. It’s good for students to work close to media companies. We want to be close to the fire with this,” says Mayor Rufus Baas.
The metaverse applications that are being worked on in the Media Park will not only be aimed at the media sector, but also urban planning, aid and education, for example. “It goes far beyond entertainment. These 3D experiences are increasingly being used for urban renewal decision-making, for example, to present citizens with plans for their living environment,” says Ton Van Mil, director of Media Perspectives. “And more and more companies are creating virtual reality training, such as fire and accident drills. For first responders, there are entire scripts they can experience in metaverse-like worlds. This technology is an important way to work smarter.” “.
According to Baas, the rise of the metaverse also shows how the role of media technology is changing and how the young generation is dealing with it differently. “Ten years ago, new students used to say that they mainly wanted to make funny or beautiful movies. Now they come to us with plans for documentaries about things happening around them. They want to add value and social benefit. We see it in the metaverse apps too.” they’re back. It’s about much more than just providing entertainment,” says Baas.
The new generation grows with him.
Many media companies are still eyeing the cat in the tree around the metaverse. “They mostly pay attention to reach and you can still reach few people in the metaverse. There are also not enough people with VR or AR glasses yet. But in sectors like art and games, virtual worlds are emerging more and more. and they already have a right to exist,” says Van Mil.
In the past, Dutch media companies have been slow to respond to the rise of social networks and must learn from them, says Baas. “We have to avoid that this time. We see these new virtual worlds emerging, it’s just a matter of time. We shouldn’t wait for a large number of people to use them, we have to start working with them now.”
The metaverse could eventually attract a large audience, Baas thinks. “Before YouTube, we never expected so many people to watch videos online for so long every day. Now you see kids growing up en masse making movies, but also 3D worlds like Roblox, Fortnite and Minecraft. The generation gets bored of passive content, such as videos. And soon they will also want to communicate in their work environment with interactive tools, and not with a ‘flat’ video call in Microsoft Teams”.
Media Park as a ‘animated campus’
Participating MBO vocational schools are Mediacollege Amsterdam, Graphic Lyceum Utrecht, Graphic Lyceum Rotterdam, Nimeto, Cibap and Sint Lucas. Collaborations with more technical courses and relevant startups are also being studied. There is still no collaboration with big technology companies. “We don’t opt for one or more fixed metaverses that we work with. In practice, you also see that companies also use different platforms and tools for different metaverse applications,” says Baas.
The new workplace follows the arrival of the MBO College Hilversum with a thousand students at the Media Park. There is also already a training center of the Hogeschool van Amsterdam. Van Mil: “The Media Park is becoming less of a media and production factory and more of a lively campus and a center for knowledge development. With the arrival of all these students, it can become a vibrant place” .
Tony van Ringelestine