The’metaverse, perhaps the biggest buzzword in global tech, business, and finance, has recently attracted worldwide attention from corporate executives and CEOs to your grandmother.
The renaming of Facebook as Meta signaled a dramatic shift in the Silicon Valley powerhouse’s future focus, and other key Internet companies and businesses are following suit.
With Microsoft, Google, and Apple all investing heavily in the metaverse, it’s no surprise that it’s expected to be an $80 billion business by 2024. This will undoubtedly be boosted by Qualcomm’s recent announcement of a $100 million fund geared at virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies to kickstart the metaverse. In addition, Gartner expects that by 2026, 25% of individuals will spend time in the metaverse for entertainment, retail, work, social media, and education.
But what precisely is the metaverse, and what does it represent for our future society?
What exactly is the metaverse?
It is simpler to think of the metaverse regarding how we described the Internet in the 1970s and 1980s. A new system of networked information and communication was slowly emerging, and no one knew exactly what it would look like or how it would function. But here we are today, a digitally literate, networked global civilization that benefits from the Internet, constantly transforming our reality.
The same can be said for the metaverse: it is undoubtedly the “new internet,” but no one knows what it will look like once completely embraced by society. But we have a look into its early beginnings, and here is what we know thus far:
The Metaverse Development Companies represent a significant shift in how humans engage with technology. It is a shared virtual place where physical and digital virtual realities combine, similar to the 3D Internet or cyberspace. Virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), head-mounted displays (HMDs), the Internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), spatial technologies, and 5G enable it. It is, however, device-independent, which means that it persists at all times, whether you are in the metaverse or not.
There is no solitary metaverse.
The metaverse is not held by a single vendor and operates on a non-fungible token-enabled economy and virtual digital currency.
The metaverse is currently defined as an open digitally upgraded virtual area where users can work, play, and socialize using a customized avatar. Consider it a video game in which, instead of quests, people live their virtual lives as they normally do online, but through a more immersive experience.
It is simpler to refer to the metaverse as the Internet. It is a type of virtual world (verse/universe) that will welcome users in the same way that social media platforms did in Web 2: creating an online profile, engaging with other shapes, and so on, but this time in immersive 3D environments. As a result, users will be able to engage with many metaverses. It is critical to understand that the term “metaverse” refers to a virtual open place.
Popular platforms for the metaverse
There is now a significant distinction between metaverses: centralized and decentralized. This means that centralized metaverses are owned and operated by a business, implying that all data and assets owned by users are also under the jurisdiction of this entity. There is no single owner of a decentralized blockchain, and users interact with it via a public blockchain wallet.
The Sandbox is an Ethereum-based game metaverse where users can design, sell, use, and monetize their virtual reality NFTs. It is currently one of the most popular metaverses. Visually, it is heavily influenced by the popular video game Minecraft. It powers the in-game economy with its native crypto coin, SAND.
The Sandbox has grown in popularity, with a flood of celebrities and businesses purchasing virtual land to create experiences or own digital real estate. HSBC just acquired NFT land in The Sandbox metaverse, following previous high-profile acquisitions such as Warner Music, Snoop Dogg, Adidas, and Ubisoft games.
Decentraland, another popular metaverse based on the Ethereum blockchain, lets users purchase and sell digital real estate, play games, and engage with other users in its virtual environment. The metaverse platform supports interactive apps and in-world payments via two distinct tokens. MANA is the in-world cryptocurrency that underpins purchasing LAND and other virtual products and services in Decentraland. LAND NFTs are used to facilitate the purchasing, selling, and evidence of ownership of digital land.
What’s all the hype about?
Well, judging by the original, the impact of the “new internet” on society will undoubtedly be a game changer for how we live our lives. The Internet began as a script/text-based medium, then added visual media (pictures and movies). Now, VR and AR will take it to a degree of immersion previously only imagined by futurists.
Technology corporations are undoubtedly driving much of the metaverse hype because they will develop technologies to augment and enrich our physical and digital realities. But, despite the hype, the possibilities seem limitless because of the convergence of these technologies, which have dramatically advanced in recent years.
According to Gartner, hitherto isolated activities will soon take place in the metaverse, including:
- Purchasing online avatar clothing and accessories
- Purchasing virtual land and building virtual residences
- Taking part in a virtual social experience
- Virtual mall shopping via immersive commerce
- Immersive learning through the use of virtual classrooms
- Purchasing digital artwork, collectibles, and assets (NFTs)
- Interacting with virtual humans for employee onboarding, customer service, sales, and other business interactions
The metaverse will provide collaborative, consistent, decentralized, and interoperable commercial prospects and models that enable enterprises to develop digital businesses.
The metaverse is currently benefiting industries.
Currently, video games are the best example of the metaverse in action. Games like Fortnite and Minecraft are open-world virtual settings where users interact with other players in real-time and purchase stuff like guns and apparel using the Fortnite currency (obtained by using real money).
The key difference is that in the metaverse, users will own their items as NFTs and can use them in other metaverses as long as they operate on the same blockchain. In this sense, these games are exactly what the metaverse is: an entire online community interacting, socializing, and buying/selling virtual objects in a shared virtual space/verse.
However, there is substantial uncertainty about the compatibility of NFTs between metaverses. There are bold assertions that all NFTs can work across other metaverses. However, this is not the case right now. Some NFTs, such as photos, can already communicate between platforms, but things become more complicated when it comes to 3D assets. Because 3D assets need a lot of development and certain game creators use different elements. It is currently exceedingly difficult for complicated digital assets to interoperate across metaverses. Furthermore, these assets have IP concerns, which generate interoperability challenges.
Fashion and retail
VR and AR are already changing the way we purchase products online. These technologies enable shoppers to virtually try on things and peruse catalogs in a virtual realm, creating a one-of-a-kind and immersive digital shopping experience.
The metaverse will allow the retail and fashion industries to elevate the digital shopping experience by enabling consumers to virtually walk through shopping malls and clothes stores from the comfort of their homes.
For example, Decentraland recently hosted the Metaverse Fashion Week, when renowned fashion labels such as Tommy Hilfiger, Dolce & Gabanna, and Cavalli (to mention a few) displayed their Spring 2022 collections. Items could be purchased as NFT assets, which owners could then redeem for tangible products delivered to their houses.
Virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), head-mounted displays (HMDs), the Internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), spatial technologies, and 5G are enabling more immersive and engaging learning experiences without the need for infrastructure. The metaverse will allow learners worldwide to access educational content, removing geographical, social, cultural, and economic barriers.
VR technology has already substantially aided the teaching of hard skills and work simulations (such as flight simulators for pilots), allowing these talents to be advanced faster and at a fraction of the cost. However, in an era of remote learning where employers still need to upskill their staff, VR is increasingly assisting in teaching soft skills such as leadership and resilience.
Universities are using virtual campuses worldwide to enable remote access to higher education while providing an immersive learning experience. The University of South Korea recently held a Minecraft-based virtual student admittance ceremony. The sandbox game has an Education Edition that allows teachers and students to connect through the game.
Hilton, the world’s largest hotel company, has recently turned to virtual reality technology to improve staff learning and development through interactive and immersive virtual environments. Hilton team members (from management to front-line workers) use the Oculus for Business platform to learn hospitality skills in a virtual environment that simulates real-world settings to improve services.
What the future of the metaverse might look like
“…everything that can become an NFT will become an NFT,” says Brian Trunzo, Metaverse Lead at Polygon Studios (creators of NFTs, games, and different metaverse initiatives for the Ethereum sidechain).
This means that stores will join the metaverse NFT bandwagon, creating catalogs of NFTs that will only exist within the metaverse. More branding and marketing opportunities will arise when omnipresent NFTs are offered to metaverse users.
The metaverse’s creation of user-generated, decentralized financial ecosystems will most certainly transform the future of money. This will open up new chances for converting virtual to physical funds, which will aid in AR/VR, revolutionizing the way finance operates in both the virtual and actual worlds.
The metaverse’s destiny is intrinsically related to the future of modern society. Businesses and brands will undoubtedly attempt to use the metaverse to influence both the physical and digital worlds. The convergence of today’s technology that enables the metaverse will continue to evolve, as will the metaverse’s promise. Need more information, contact our metaverse consulting company directly