The Seven-Year “Metaverse” Hype Cycle

As the buzz fades and the pattern emerges, the next return of VR comes into focus.

With the news of Microsoft sunsetting AltspaceVR and the marketing industry laughing after only six people showed up to EU’s $400,000 “metaverse” party, it is becoming clear that the “metaverse” shine is fading.

Since I still posit that “metaverse” is just a more fun way to say “Virtual Reality Worlds” or “Social VR” (and some disagree), this latest news shows how another round of virtual reality (VR) buzz is on the way out.

Throughout my working age lifetime, the VR buzz has come in waves.

The 1995–1998 wave had VR activations at malls and gaming companies’ first at-home VR attempts. During the 2005–2008 wave, Second Life peaked. The 2013–2015 wave brought us Oculus Riff, AltspaceVR, and my old team’s (April Fools) launch of “VR for dogs.” The current 2020–2023 wave was a ramble of excitement over all things “metaverse.”

Each wave came about seven years apart and lasted about three years. Each wave aligned with a broader computing-meets-cultural change. And each wave puttered out as the fundamental limitations of VR failed to draw mainstream users.

Today, as the virtual tumbleweeds roll through sunset metaverse platforms, we are starting to say goodbye to the current wave.

Yet, as the cycles of history like to repeat, I expect this newsletter will be filled with VR stories again in seven years. So, VR, we will see you buzzing again in 2030.

More to Peruse

Brent is a member of the executive team for Opus Agency, partner to world-shaping brands.
Connect on LinkedIn or send an email.

Brent Turner's avatar image