Author Neal Stephenson initially used the phrase “Metaverse” in 1992’s science fiction book “Snow Crash.” In the book, characters explore the internet world using digital avatars to escape a dismal reality. In his 2011 book “Ready Player One,” Ernest Cline expanded on the Metaverse concept. Director Steven Spielberg adapted the novel into a movie in 2018.
The Metaverse combines two concepts: Virtual reality and digital second life, two ideas that have been around for a while
It is a virtual world or space that you can enter, “live”, and participate in using virtual and augmented reality headsets or glasses. It may incorporate social media, online gaming, and cryptocurrencies to allow users to interact. Users can collaborate, meet, game, and socialise in these 3D spaces. It is a more advanced method of connecting in a virtual space. You can consider it a future version of the internet.
The term metaverse also describes a shared gaming world in which users have a character that can move around and interact with other players in the same space.
Furthermore, the exchange of goods can refer to a type of Metaverse that employs blockchain technology and allows users to purchase virtual land and other digital assets with cryptocurrencies.
“We are at the beginning of the next chapter for the internet, and it’s the next chapter for our company too. The next platform will be even more immersive — an embodied internet where you’re in the experience, not just looking at it. We call this the Metaverse, and it will touch every product we build.” Zuckerberg said.
The Metaverse does not yet exist in its entirety. However, several platforms feature metaverse-like aspects. Video games presently give the closest metaverse experience available.
Some characteristics of the Metaverse exist already in current virtual video games such as Second Life and Fortnite. Alternatively, with platforms such as Sandbox, Decentraland, and Roblox, users and players may engage with other avatars by using their customisable digital representations. While these applications are not the Metaverse, they are relatively close.
You are already a part of the larger metaversal experience if you hold a non-fungible token (NFT), virtual-reality headset, or cryptocurrency. Users can make and construct objects, including property. They may also accrue virtual currency, which allows individuals to buy stuff for their avatar.
Zuckerberg’s proposed metaverse technology is years away from becoming a reality. He expects the Metaverse will be completely operational by the decade’s end. The infrastructure and technology are outstanding. However, they need to evolve further to serve the Metaverse sector.
The entertainment sector was ravaged in April 2020, at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. Concerts were cancelled, and shows went off. At least in the so-called real world. One concert drew a larger crowd than the previous 20 biggest shows combined. Fans entered the video game Fortnite as avatars and got up close and personal with rap legend Travis Scott while he performed live.
The best-selling traffic physical event could hold 180.000 people. However, the Fortnite equivalent could hold 11 million. The show was magically done. It was completely immersive. The music star reportedly made $20 million, along with other digital merchandise.
The Metaverse is constantly evolving. There are fragments already all around us: whereas on websites and social media, your identity is reduced to an uninspiring username or thumbnail image, in the Metaverse, you are a tailored avatar.
In the Metaverse, you can be whoever you want. You can create a new identity from scratch, regardless of who you are in real life.
The game industry is a pioneer in imagining what the Metaverse might look like. The experience of living, purchasing, selling and earning in digital worlds has been around for decades, thanks to SecondLife, Minecraft, Roblox or Fortnite.
But these games aren’t actually Metaverses and the reason is simple: they’re not interoperable; this means that if you buy something in one game, you won’t be able to use it in another game.
The real prize that a fully developed Metaverse has to offer is an entirely new decentralised digital economy.
A new generation of games is already showing how this will operate. Decentraland, for example, is perhaps the first example of a genuinely decentralised social network in the Metaverse: you can buy, trade, and meet up there. There is no organisation behind it, and it belongs to the community.
Eth is the go-co currency of Decentraland. Because the vast majority of these new global games are based on the Ethereum blockchain. Players can pay for digital goods with this and other cryptos, quickly becoming a new economy.
Trading digital collectables via NFTS can potentially be the key to the metaverse economy.
An NFT is a product that may be purchased with cryptocurrency. It is essentially a bit of code that proves you own a specific digital asset, ensuring its validity and exclusivity. This includes art, real estate, music, apparel, entertainment and anything else that may be represented digitally.
Quentin Tarantino is auctioning off seven uncut scenes from his renowned film Pulp Fiction on the NFTs marketplace.
Some NFTs are linked to real-world items: Mila Kunis’ upcoming animated TV show is entirely NFT funded, she revealed: “In Quarantine, some people stick up baking and knitting. And I deep dived into crypto and NFT”. The NFT you purchase gives you ownership of a digital image of one of the cats, which can be used as a ticket to watch the TV show.
NFTs are becoming more common, even on the runway, with Dutch fashion label “The Fabricant” leading the way. They create digital-only clothing for avatars in the Metaverse, which they sell as NFTs.
“Dressing yourself in the digital realm is going to be as important, or even more important, than in the physical life. You can go completely crazy in your own identity curation. You can wear a fire jacket without getting burned and be a dinosaur for a day.”
Adriana Hoppenbrouwer, Co-Founder of The Fabricant Digital Fashion
It’s no surprise that significant apparel brands are following: Nike has entered the NFT market by registering various trend marks for virtual goods.
“The future of fashion will be digital. We are going to have a very small physical wardrobe because our fashion is going to be augmented in our lives.”
Adriana Hoppenbrouwer, Co-Founder of The Fabricant Digital Fashion
However, NFTs aren’t the only method to profit in the Metaverse.
Let’s see the example of the world’s most prolonged lockdown: in the Philippines. That led to one of the country’s worst economic recessions. With unemployment at around 17%, people have been forced to find more creative ways of paying the bills.
“Axi Infinity” a money-making game where the players could earn a higher wage than they would in the actual world. Some make $500 to $800 per month from battling and trading Axi avatars. That’s more than double the salary in the Philippines.
These online jobs are excellent candidates for future metaverse implementation because they demonstrate that individuals are willing to spend time living and earning in virtual environments. This illustrates how the Metaverse democratises the world. We no longer need to travel to find a better job and compensation. Instead, there is a global playing field where people can earn money regardless of where they are.
Covid-19 has also changed how most people operate on Zoom, Google Meet, or Teams. This will be much larger in the Metaverse: you can travel from London to Australia to Singapore in a matter of hours by switching rooms in the Metaverse.
The schooling organisation has not evolved in centuries, but classrooms in the Metaverse could look drastically different. For example, if you study the Roman Empire and have the opportunity to visit the Roman Empire, your absorption of that information will be considerably higher. Who knows if the future children will attend university or simply jump from one Metaverse to the next?
It’s better to be prepared for the new reality: Not Digital, Not Physical. But, Phygital. See our article related to this subject.
Alibaba is one of the most prominent firms to have actively entered the Metaverse by establishing a full-fledged firm in Beijing. Many other major eCommerce businesses, like Amazon, Etsy, and Walmart, have made inroads into the Metaverse. Alibaba is participating in Metaverse because it wants to build a metaverse for communication and trading.
Roblox is currently the most prominent solution for the entertainment and gaming industries. Disney, Netflix, Ubisoft, EA, and Atari are other big entertainment companies experimenting with the Metaverse.
to enter the metaverse realm. On the Roblox gaming platform, the top athletic footwear manufacturer has built its virtual environment, “Nikeland.” The virtual environment provides a free space for gamers to explore games and try on new sports shoes. In Roblox, players may also run marathons in Nike’s Metaverse.
As one of the largest firms investing in Metaverse in the tech sector, NVidia has developed its software platform. Omniverse is a software platform perfect for generating various distinct virtual places.
The online dating service has capitalised on the concept of dating metaverse and meeting through digital avatars to maximise the Metaverse’s possibilities. In addition, it intends to launch Tinder coins to explore its crypto potential.
In January 2022, the firm announced the acquisition of Activision Blizzard, the massive video game developer and publisher, as a prelude to obtaining a significant position in the Metaverse. The $70 billion investment is Microsoft’s largest ever, allowing the business to produce Microsoft-backed games and services in the Metaverse over the next few years.
Meta has invested a total of $10 billion into acquiring and developing both hardware and software that will be used to provide VR capabilities within the Metaverse.
After seeing several of its competitors invest in the Metaverse, Google decided to do the same in January 2022. Though Google suffered significant public humiliation in 2014 due to its unsuccessful AR spectacles, it does not appear that this has stopped them from investing in AR. Google has also put $39.5 million into a private equity fund to fund all metaverse ventures.
The company is particularly interested in augmented reality shopping, which would entail consumers visually putting on garments or examining products in their homes before making a purchase.
The corporation has established an extended reality (XR) lab in Europe and cooperated with Microsoft to increase AR adoption in both the consumer and enterprise sectors.
Are you ready for the Metaverse?