Hermann Narula, co-founder and CEO of Improbable, speaks during a session at the Web Summit in Lisbon.

Henrique Casinhas | Soba photos | Light Rocket | Getty Images

An unlikely SoftBank-backed startup developing massive virtual worlds on Friday launched its plans for a network of metaverses it hopes will someday be able to host thousands of users and compete with platforms from US tech giants like Meta and Microsoft.

The British company, founded in 2012, has released a white paper detailing its vision for MSquared, a “network of interoperable Web3 metaverses,” or three-dimensional spaces in which people can live, work, and interact with each other virtually. MSquared, a separate business entity from Improbably, It raised $150 million from investors last year.

Google, Nvidia and Japanese cloud gaming company Ubitus will serve as technology partners for the launch, he said Improbable, providing “cloud infrastructure, cloud pixel streaming, and video and audio technologies to enable unique, high-quality, easily accessible, and seamless experiences in Metaverse.”

Behind MSquared is a complex feat of technical engineering with great computing requirements. The service aims to be accessed via the cloud, which means you won’t have to download any software to jump into one of its worlds, similar to how you access movies and TV shows on Netflix.

What is not likely to be released is not a public release of its network of metaverses, but rather developer tools that will enable programmers to build their own metavers. Developers had access to its programming language as of Thursday evening, enabling them to begin creating objects in its digital worlds.

“The purpose of the metaverse is to enable new interactive entertainment experiences,” Herman Narula, co-founder and CEO of Imperrobable, told CNBC.

Narula cited the video games Roblox, Minecraft, and Fortnite as examples of metaverses that have already achieved “incredible success”.

This is because they have enabled people to participate in community and entertainment events, from parties to shared gaming experiences to live music concerts.

Entities will be able to build metaverse experiences using Improbable’s Morpheus technology, which is designed to host multiplayer online multiplayer games, Improbable said.

It was very unlikely It was previously able to host 4,500 players In a presentation in partnership with blockchain firm Yoga Labs.

What is improbable build

Improbable said there will be four categories of participants who participate in MSquared: metaverse owners, content creators, service providers and users.

He watches: Improbable SoftBank-backed startup launches MSquared metaverse

Improbable SoftBank-backed startup launches MSquared metaverse

Metaverse owners are the entities that build the metaverse, content creators are those who produce experiences or objects within the metaverse, service providers are those who provide storage and computing power and users are those who visit metaverses and consume content.

The idea is that eventually, more than 10,000 people will have access to MSquared. It will initially only be accessible via desktop, however, Improbable said the plan is to expand this to mobile devices and consoles by the end of the year.

Narula said that MSquared is something that can survive independently of an Improbable—in other words, if an Improbable ceases to exist, then MSquared will continue uninterrupted.

“It’s really not about the improbability of it happening,” he told CNBC. “We’re very much involved in that,” he said, “but over time we’ll become less involved with the entry of other partners and developers,” he said, adding that this is necessary so that users, developers, and brands don’t feel constrained in working with the unlikely.

“I agree with that,” Narula said. “It’s not just that I’m okay with it – it’s a key aspect of making this an economic reality.”

To make MSquared a success, the company will need brands to build experiences with its technology. The company hasn’t mentioned any of these brands yet, but said it expects to announce its first partner, a major sports brand, as soon as next week.

Improbable will compete with the likes of Meta and Microsoft, which are building their own rules, as well as Roblox and Epic Games.

What is not likely?

The London firm, one of Japanese technology investment giant SoftBank’s biggest bets in Britain, was founded by Cambridge computer science students Narula and Rob Whitehead with the aim of developing large-scale computer simulations and ‘synthetic environments’.

Improbable’s original business plan was to apply its technology in games, and the company has partnered with several studios including Bossa Studios to develop massively multiplayer online games using its SpatialOS technology.

These games have struggled to achieve volume, though, stalling many game projects from a few years ago as a result.

South Korea is making its way in the metaverse with K-pop culture: the virtual gaming platform

The company subsequently shifted its focus towards deals with the military and defense departments of governments in the United Kingdom and the United States. That project has similarly struggled, and Improbable recently sold off its defense portfolio.

The technology industry was betting that virtual and augmented reality would prove to be a paradigm shift in technology similar to the invention of the internet or the smartphone.

Some call it the technology’s “iPhone moment,” a reference to the impact Apple’s now-ubiquitous phone has had on consumers and businesses globally. Apple recently announced its first virtual and augmented reality headset, called the Vision Pro.

Improbable goes a different route for companies like Meta, which owns its Quest headset and Horizon Worlds digital community software, and Microsoft, which is behind its HoloLens mixed reality products.

First, you won’t need a headset to jump into the MSquared space, as the program will be desktop-based. The experience will be more “decentralized,” Narula said, adding that existing platforms such as Meta and Microsoft are “walled gardens.”

Improbable aims to “decentralize” its metaverse where users can exchange goods directly and across different platforms. The company has made a big bet on cryptography and blockchain and supports digital assets such as non-fungible tokens or NFTs, which aim to allow users to prove ownership of virtual items.

Narula suggested that Improbable might launch its own digital token, but said that this is yet to be decided.

This is not to say that it will not have aspects of centralization, and Narula has explained that some parts of its virtual universe require centralized controls to prevent people from abusing its systems.

Civil rights advocates and regulators have raised concerns about exacerbating side effects from some of the ills plaguing the Web. Improbable He launched his own research center Dedicated to discussing what the metaverse should look like and its social and ethical implications earlier this year.

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