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E.C. Morgan on the Vision for Metaverse & Its Future

Soma Innovation Lab Co-Founder and CEO E.C. Morgan discussed the company's history, detailed the challenges of building metaverses, and shared the vision for the future of the metaverse.


I co-founded Soma Innovation Lab in 2001, which has worked with and transitioned through the evolution of the various forms of media, from online video to mobile to short-form video and now mixed reality experiences.

Prior to Soma Innovation Lab, I founded and managed a hedge fund called Morgan Capital Management. Soma Innovation Labs has collaborated with some of the leading companies throughout the world, including Microsoft, AT&T, Sinclair Broadcasting Group, Chopard, Hanro, HTC, Italian Trade Association, Nokia, and Porsche, to provide innovative consumer engagement initiatives and activations for CES, South by Southwest, Art Basel, Hollywood Film Festivals, and online marketing campaigns. 

In 2008, we began experimenting with virtual worlds by putting our lifestyle videos into Whyville and creating activations with artists in Avakin Life. Leading up to 2018, we were researching and exploring the potential of Web3 as the next phase of the internet and began investing in metaverse development. Having invested in companies during Web1 and produced content for online video and mobile with Web2, we believe we are at an inflection point with Web3 to redefine social and consumer engagement and commerce.

The Vision For Metaverse

What we think the metaverse will become will be very narrow compared to what it will actually be. As we get more people involved and interested, new and unique use cases will start to emerge. When cars started to become mainstream, they weren't envisioning suburbia and megamalls. When researchers started creating networks to share packet information, they weren't envisioning e-commerce. As with other technologies before, its success will be based on how well we understand the human element and what people's needs and pain points are.

In terms of organization, I think we need to work towards a balance so that both large and small companies can coexist. I believe we need to be aware of ill-conceived regulations that will enable regulatory capture and unintended consequences. Additionally, we are going to want to strive for a balance between security, privacy, and consumer ease. 

Challenges of Building a Metaverse

I expect the current vision of the metaverse to be extremely small compared to what it will become when we look back in 10-15 years. As teams explore various projects, new and exciting use cases will be discovered that we can't begin to think of now, which will enable deeper and truer connections between creators and users. One of the things we must tackle to make this future a reality is establishing interoperable behaviors and protocols.

I'm a big believer that utilizing open-source principles will enable the metaverse adoption quicker and wider. Taking this approach will help democratize development and drive innovation, connect audiences, and evolve the landscape of advertising and commerce. Going hand-in-hand with an open-source approach will also be interoperability between platforms.

What Comes Next?

Monetizing content will be better balanced in the future. Value creation will still drive revenue, however, with tools for direct access between creators and users, creators will be able to better capture a larger share of capital that they were previously losing to aggregators.

The big story of 2024 will be whether brands, creators, and developers can identify pain points and use cases for the metaverse and integrate that into the Apple Vision Pro and other manufacturers' headsets. AI has already played a large part in getting us to where we are today with the metaverse and we will see subgenres like generative AI enable the rendering of unique and personalized environments and stories for the users. I think we are also going to see a renewed interest in blockchain-enabled digital assets and the adoption of virtual goods and services, which will help fuel the metaverse and personalization for users. 

E.C. Morgan, Co-Founder & CEO of Soma Innovation Lab

Interview conducted by Arti Sergeev

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