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ARC Review: Parallel Metaverses: How the US, China and the Rest of the World Are Shaping Different Virtual Worlds


Parallel Metaverses: How the US, China and the Rest of the World Are Shaping Different Virtual Worlds by Nina Xiang

Parallel Metaverses is the third self-published book from Nina Xiang. Xiang has nearly twenty years of international financial and business media experience, having reported on finance and Chinese industry for several years. She founded a website whose focus is venture capital investing in China. She brings quite a bit of credibility and insight to her work. I’ve previously reviewed her last book, US-China Tech War.

In this book Xiang focuses on the emerging “metaverse” technology and the financial challenges and opportunities around it. As the subtitle implies, she provides a deeper analysis of the state of play in the US and China, while not leaving out activity in the rest of the world.

She reports that Facebook has the largest investment and workforce currently tackling “the” metaverse. Other companies are also active, but each has tended to define and become active in  metaverse technology differently - usually in ways that leverage existing strengths. She does a good job of helping nontechnical people understand what the metaverse is. In Xiang’s telling, it represents a likely next evolution of the internet. 

The metaverse is envisioned by many as “the” virtual world, which will be accessed through virtual reality technology - the primary existing piece of which is the VR headset. In this virtual world you will be able to interact with other people and conduct business (hold conferences, buy and sell things) just as you can in the real world. Much of the potential of the metaverse is already visible in the gaming world, though the metaverse vision includes the potential for more ability for greater numbers of people to interact than can in any computer game today.

Xiang makes the point early in her book that there won’t be a “the” metaverse, but rather many metaverses. Just as the internet today isn’t made up of one website, or one set of software, and isn’t accessed by a single type of hardware, so there will be many metaverse visions and many metaverses.

Meanwhile, as the technologies underpinning the coming of metaverses evolves, there is money to be made, and Xiang gives a great rundown of the current markets and market players.

It’s important to understand that this book is not a “popular science” take on metaverse technology. Though it’s well written and very accessible, it’s also loaded with stats, numbers and occasional jargon that may challenge the casual reader. This book is meant for those who have some previous background in technology or technology investing. For those folks, it’s a handy reference as well as a step above a financial analyst’s White Paper. 

RATING: Four Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

📘 Buy Parallel Metaverses: Amazon

NOTE: I received a review copy of this book from the author and am voluntarily providing this review..