The future is upon us. It is called the Metaverse and will be a form of 3D internet where our physical reality will be shored up with both Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR). The Metaverse is the new buzzword of this year, with technology behemoths and engineers burning the midnight oil to create a virtual world that will knock your socks off.
Imagine wearing an AR helmet and taking a walk down one of the innumerable streets of the Metaverse. You will not be in your physical self; instead, there will be avatars of you who look the same or completely different. Not only that, you can meet other avatars and interact with them as you do in real-time with other people made of flesh and blood.
The Metaverse will include a wide set of social and economic systems where your avatar can make the most of a huge range of immersive content. While with a video game, the user experiences an end to the game, it is never-ending in the Metaverse. Interoperability is one of the key features of the Metaverse, where for example, you can purchase a Roblox skin to use in a Fortnite game or other games.
The Metaverse was named as one of the top 5 emerging technologies and trends of 2022 by Gartner. The overall global expenditure on AR/VR is projected to rise from $12 billion in 2020 to $72.8 billion in 2022. That’s a six-fold increase, and it means that we are on to something big. Consequently, the leaders of industries like blockchain, games, art, retail, and healthcare are all trying to determine their positions in this rapidly developing Metaverse.
The concept of the Metaverse is huge, and initially, you will have access to a number of metaverses, with some focusing on particular interests like sports or gaming. Meta has a vision of a 3D social media channel; it will have AI-driven messages that are tailored for each specific user. Again, the Metaverse has the potential to become a hub for entertainment, work as well as education. In all probability, it will be the next version of the internet.
Some Metaverse Specific Words Explained
Because of the evolving nature of the Metaverse, most people are still at a loss to understand how it operates. However, once it arrives, it will change the nature of human interaction, travel, leisure, and work.
The Metaverse gives you a 3D environment through headsets, watches, and glasses. Resultantly, the Metaverse becomes a true mirror of your perceived reality and opens the doors to a new universe. This has led experts to call this digital copy a mirror world.
This is a virtual representation of any object or aspect of a real-life situation. One of the most attractive aspects of the Metaverse is that you can be whatever you choose to be; call it an avatar. It will be your representative in the Metaverse and can mimic you or take on a completely new identity- that of a digital twin.
The mixed reality technology called MR is a combination of AR and VR, allowing you to be totally immersed in the Metaverse, where you can use and interact with all kinds of physical and virtual objects and digital items and have the ability to communicate with your avatar. Pokemon Go happens to be a very good example of an AR where the pokemon are found in the real world, but you see them with AR glasses.
This is the key facilitator in all the transactions in the Metaverse. It is essentially a computer network that has a shared database. Once a record is entered into the chain, it is impossible to alter or tamper with it. It provides security layers that are indispensable in the Metaverse. The blockchain network gives a constant verification of the database copies.
Non-fungible tokens are a kind of virtual asset in the Metaverse, and it has been behind the growth of the Metaverse in a big way. NFTs are digital and intangible items. It cou9ld be anything- a video, an image, or even an in-game object or avatar. NFT owners are recorded in the blockchain, and they can be traded as digital assets. There are some NFT collectors who view their assets as cultural collections, while others look at them as investments in the Metaverse.
Progress On The Development Of The Metaverse
There are many big tech companies who have spent considerable amounts of money on R&D in the Metaverse. Names that come readily to mind are Facebook, Nvidia, Microsoft, as well as Epic Games. So how is progress since then?
Because gamers live in the worlds they play in, gaming was one of the fields that had the most amount of early investments. It becomes a logical extension of the gaming industry to have games in the Metaverse. With the help of the Metaverse, engagement in games, their virality as well as monetization can be made to happen.
Epic Games’ Fortnite has successfully designed full virtual concerts in the Metaverse featuring the likes of Ariana Grande, Travis Scott, as well as Marshmello. As a fan, you can move around the virtual crowd to position yourself with a good view of the artist and even purchase digital merchandise like they do in a real-life show.
Meta has recently unveiled Horizon workrooms were using an Oculus headset; 16 participants can connect virtually in a meeting with either themselves or their avatars. The goal of Microsoft, on the other hand, is to transform the workforce and businesses where the physical world is represented digitally, and users can interact with mixed reality.
Despite all the uncertainties in the Metaverse, there is one thing for sure. It has scope for limitless expansion, and with the feature-hungry consumers of today, it is sure to be a big success, allowing developers the freedom to create entirely new worlds for their subscribers and fans. While experts say the Metaverse will take another 5-10 years for a full-bodied experience, present users can actively participate in metaverse projects and use blockchain in their lives.