Opportunities and challenges in the Metaverse
The Metaverse generally refers to an interactive, immersive, and collaborative virtual world environment that is shared among the online crowds (Kim, 2021). With the development of advanced technologies, such as virtual reality (VR)/augmented reality (AR) devices, artificial intelligence, cloud computing techniques, blockchain and 5G/6G wireless communication networks, the Metaverse offers an infusion of physical, virtual, and augmented reality to afford socialization, play, and work. As real as the reality, Metaverse is characterized by a three-dimensional (3D) virtual world that allows social connection through avatars. An increasing proportion of our daily lives has become a mix of physical and virtual worlds (Hacker et al., 2020; Srivastava and Chandra, 2018; Zhang et al., 2020). However, different from traditional online interactive environments (Haines, 2021; Sjöblom et al., 2020; Thies et al., 2016), the Metaverse is creeping towards reality and affords the embodied interactions to break the blurring lines between real and virtual reality.
The virtual world is gradually transforming from temporal immersion into a state of new normal. Second Life, as a popular three-dimensional(3D) virtual world (Chandra and Leenders, 2012), has been in service for decades. Artifacts could be designed and sold, and residents in Second Life can go to live concerts for social gatherings. Nowadays, a booming application of Metaverse lies in entertainment, including the famous Minecraft that affords amazing creations through sandbox construction and the popular Animal Crossing as an online self-built happy home paradise. Furthermore, the Metaverse can afford enterprises business by empowering a virtual space to engage customers and employees and has been advocated to be applied in the health management field (Chen and Zhang, 2022; Gorini et al., 2008). More recently, the social media giant Facebook has also claimed its grand ambitions to embrace the Metaverse for the next evolution of social connection. Furthermore, business sectors also actively embrace Metaverse. For instance, Microsoft Mesh enables geographically distributed team members discuss and collaborate in the shared mixed reality conferences. Walmart is also working to leap into Metaverse by creating its own cryptocurrency and collection of NFTs.
Online interactions in the Metaverses are featured by immersive participation from mass crowds with diverse avatars. With the embodied avatars, individuals in the Metaverse can self-present themselves to engage in distributed collaboration, voice their self-recognitions, and socialize in different scenarios. The Metaverse thus unlocks new opportunities to connect buyers and sellers. Enabled by cryptocurrencies and NFTs, individuals in the Metaverse could purchase virtual goods and trade items anytime and anywhere. With blended real and magic experiences, individuals in the Metaverse could design more fancy creations combining reality and imagination. Furthermore, the realization of Metaverse requires joint effort from business model designers, software engineers and device providers. Therefore, Metaverse has brought about several opportunities.
The Metaverse also challenges our traditional interaction and collaboration in many different ways. Due to the interconnected nature of the Metaverse, the challenge of personal privacy heightens (Di Pietro and Cresci, 2021). Hackers may easily stalk non-accessed devices to steal data and personal information. Likewise, individuals may have distrust issues regarding the deep usage of the Metaverse. Another challenge lies in the reputation and identity issues in Metaverse. Since facial features and voices can be imitated, identity authentication or verification is essentially important to eliminate potential problems with ethics. The challenges that the Metaverse brings out also include the inability of the platforms to engage users in an immersive virtual world. To form meaningful relationships, virtual world communities should thus afford visual fidelity with the ability to touch and feel. In addition, time and space perceptions might be different between real world and virtual environments, traditional business models and marketing tactics may lose effectiveness in the dynamic Metaverse (Kim, 2021).
In responding to the challenges posed by the Metaverse, this special issue aims to call for attention to the latest trends of Metaverse and the opportunities and challenges of the Metaverse. This special issue invites contributions from a variety of conceptual and theoretical perspectives. We particularly welcome behavioral studies that address the challenges and opportunities the Metaverse presents, explore the new interaction and collaboration modes, provide multidisciplinary perspectives, and/or adopt mixed methods research approaches.
Topics of Interest:
Topics that are of interest to this special issue include, but are not limited to:
- Team management in distributed virtual world collaboration
- Engagement influencing factors in the Metaverse
- Artifact design for an immersive virtual world
- User behaviors in the virtual world
- Business model innovation in the Metaverse
- Avatar designs to afford immersive online experiences
- Online communication and collaboration issues in the virtual world
- Digital marketing strategies in the Metaverse
- Online interaction patterns in the Metaverse
- Deep learning applications for a better metaverse experience
- Social media analytics about the 3D virtual world
- Metaverse and decentralized (blockchain) infrastructures
- Digital payment systems in the Metaverse
- Reputation building in the Metaverse
- Negative impacts of the Metaverse on individuals, organizations, and society
- User misbehavior in the Metaverse
- Addiction and overuse/misuse of the Metaverse
- Technostress and IT anxiety in the Metaverse
- Trust and distrust in the Metaverse
- Value co-creation and co-destruction in the Metaverse
- Governance of data and algorithm of the Metaverse
- Digital divide and information inequalities amplified by the Metaverse
- Information security, privacy and ethical issues in the Metaverse
- Unexpected effects of blurring the boundaries between real and virtual reality
Special issue Guest Co-Editors:
Prof. Xusen Cheng
School of Information, Renmin University of China
Email: [email protected]
Prof. Jian Mou (Corresponding editor)
School of Business, Pusan National University
Email: [email protected]
Prof. Xiao-Liang Shen
School of Information Management, Wuhan University
Email: [email protected]
Dr. Triparna de Vreede
Muma College of Business, University of South Florida
Email: [email protected]
Prof. Rainer Alt
Information Systems Institute, Leipzig University
Email: [email protected]
Submission system open: 1 May 2022
Submission due date: 31 August 2022
First round review decision: 15 November 2022
Revised submission due: 15 Jan 2023
Second round review decision: 30 March 2023
Revised submission due: 30 May 2023
Final review decision: 30 June 2023
Editorial Review Board
Nugi Nkwe, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Chen Yang, Shenzhen University, China
LianLian Song, Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, China
Wendy Wang, Trident University, USA
Liu Fan, Ocean University of China, China
Minghao Huang, Pukyong National University, South Korea
Yang-Jun Li, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR
Zhaohua Deng, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, China
Yongqiang Sun, Wuhan University, China
Yujie, Zhou, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong SAR
Libo Liu, The University of Melbourne, Australia
Xiang Gong, Xi'an Jiaotong University, China
Jianshan Sun, Hefei University of Technology, China
Jian Shen, Rider University, USA
Alex Zarifis, University of Nicosia, Cyprus
Shixuan Fu, Beijing International Studies University, China
Zhenjiao Chen, University of International Business and Economics, China
Imed Boughzala, Institute Mines-Telecom Business School, France
Eric T.K. Lim, The University of New South Wales, Australia
Matti Rossi, Aalto University, Finland
Stefan Seidel, University of Liechtenstein, Liechtenstein
Sofia Schöbel, University of Osnabrück, Germany
Chandra, Y., and Leenders, M. A. (2012), “User innovation and entrepreneurship in the virtual world: A study of Second Life residents”, Technovation, Vol. 32 No. 7-8, pp.464-476.
Chen, D., and Zhang, R. (2022), “Exploring Research Trends of Emerging Technologies in Health Metaverse: A Bibliometric Analysis”, available at: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3998068 (accessed 28 January 2022).
Di Pietro, R., and Cresci, S. (2021), “Metaverse: Security and Privacy Issues”, The Third IEEE International Conference on Trust, Privacy and Security in Intelligent Systems, and Applications, December 13-15, 2021.
Gorini, A., Gaggioli, A., and Riva, G. (2008), “A second life for eHealth: prospects for the use of 3-D virtual worlds in clinical psychology”, Journal of Medical Internet Research, Vol. 10 No. 3, e21.
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