My current take on the metaverse is that it’s like smart cities. Promising technologies are being wrapped together in a package large companies are hoping to use to gain control of a collective space (real or dreamed about). Control on budgets, attention, data, etc. They are selling it to cities or selling it to investors and users, plans for a boiling pot sold to naive frogs.
When their vision doesn’t work, proves boring, or gets pushed back against, and they move along to the next shiny toy, the technologies, possibilities and small players will still be there, still trying things. Maybe that coalesces into a whole that looks something like a collection of virtual spaces that interoperate. Maybe it just means software eats and remixes the intersection of gaming, tv, movies, digital art, architecture, and urban planning, with a side of extended reality experiences.