What Is The Metaverse?

Since Facebook has renamed itself, Meta, metaverse has caught the major attention of people.

But what’s the buzz around this entire “metaverse” thing?

In this article, I am gonna discuss the following:

  1. Introduction To Metaverse
  2. Origin
  3. Blockchain
  4. Non-Fungible Token or NFTs
  5. Crypto Currency
  6. Facebook’s version Of Metaverse
  7. Gateway to Metaverse
  8. Assumption
  9. Problems
  10. Businesses In Action
  11. Conclusion
  12. What Does Expert Say?

Frankly, I have been reading and researching about these topics for a while now. When Facebook I mean “Meta” released the news of its renaming, every tweet, and post I came across was related to it.

Introduction

Elements of a Metaverse: Digital currency, digital/marketplace commerce, nonfungible token(NFTs), Infrastructure, device independence, gaming, digital assets, concerts, social and entertainment events, online shopping, workplace, social media, digital humans and natural language processing.
Elements of a Metaverse by Gartner.com

Well, here’s the thing: Metaverse is the concept of developing 3D technologies where our virtual avatars can interact with other people if rightly put their avatars.

It isn’t a new technology but in fact a broader shift in how we interact with technology.

We could talk, play, shop, visit a fancy restaurant and possibly do every other thing that we can do in real life.

“With Metaverse, you can enter the space between the digital and physical worlds meeting each other.”

Before we move ahead, let me clarify two very important terms that are used in this context:

Virtual Reality: a virtual world that ceases to exist even when you are not in the metaverse and is completely a digital space.

Augmented Reality: A world that combines both the aspects of digital and physical reality. For example smart projectors.

Origin

The word ‘Metaverse’ was first used in the 1992 science novel fiction – Snow crash as a portmanteau of “meta” and “universe” to describe a 3D virtual space.

In 2003, Philip Rosedale and his team launched an online virtual world called Second Life.

Soon after that, In 2006, Roblox introduced an online gaming platform that allows users to play games created by other users.

Since then, there have been several new developments and discoveries of new digital technologies that are broadening the entire concept of Meta World.

As per Bloomberg Intelligence, the global metaverse revenue opportunity could approach $800 billion in 2024.

And the total metaverse market size may reach 2.7x that of just gaming software, services, and advertising revenue.

Mentally replace the phrase “the metaverse” in a sentence with “cyberspace”. Ninety percent of the time, the meaning won’t substantially change. – Wired.com

Blockchain

In the simplest words, when a transaction takes place between two or more parties, it is recorded in a book called ledger. However, this record remains solely with the institutions involved in the transaction.

Whereas blockchain is a decentralized, distributed, and public digital ledger that records all the transactions that take place in digital currencies like crypto, and NFTs.

The records remain forever in the blocks with public access which cannot be deleted hence securing your possession.

Non- Fungible Token or NFTs

Now, NFTs are a type of cryptographical digital assets on a blockchain with a unique identification number that can help to differentiate from each other.

These assets can be anything turned into digital form for example music, paintings, pictures, photos, logos, etc.

It ensures your ownership of a particular asset that can not be altered or deleted.

Still, have some doubts?? Check out this video by Ankur Warikoo to understand the concept of NFTs explained in 10 minutes:

Crypto Currency

A cryptocurrency also known as crypto is a form of digital currency with no physical existence that can circulate without the need of a central authority.

It can be exchanged as a form of payment for goods and services. The most popular amongst them is Bitcoin. As per nerdwallet.com – In 2021, bitcoin hit an all-time high above $65,000 before falling back.

Facebook’s Version of “MetaVerse”

In October 2021, when Meta released the video as a demo of how they perceive their new virtual world to be, multiple questions arose.

Although it looks quite fascinating, to be honest, you know to be present anywhere, anytime you want irrespective of your location, floating in the space, holograms, etc – it looks more like an illusion.

Messages floating on air, the girl from the video meeting her friend at the concert, where they can make eye contact and talk, make things happen by just thinking about them. – “We have some serious doubts on this”.

However, having said that, I do agree with the fact that the technology we have presently could only be dreamt of or possibly not in the early 1900s.

Moving forward, Facebook is working on a foundational concept called Horizon which is a social platform for interaction in the metaverse.

One part of this is Horizon Home, which is an early vision of home space in the metaverse. Soon, they plan to introduce a social version of Horizon where you can invite your friend as an avatar to join and hang out together.

It has also rolled out Horizon World in Beta in December 2021 (for the US and Canada) where you can build worlds and jump into them with people.

Horizon Workrooms is a VR platform for teams to connect, collaborate, and develop ideas together launched in August 2021.

You can watch this video launched by Meta as a glimpse of their metaverse:

Gateway To Metaverse

Now, the main question. How? and Isn’t that already existing in games like Grand Theft Auto Online, Minecraft, and Roblox?

Yeah, you’re right but not completely. It does exist as a concept, but this meta thing actually expands beyond a certain game. Perhaps, a no border, no game, and no app kind of space. But that is just an assumption.

To answer your how, recall the devices you use to play these 3D virtual games. Yes, VR headsets and AR glasses.

Businesses are planning to launch several new devices like Tactile gloves, Wristband AR sensors, etc to make the experience even more realistic.

Devices required for entering the metaverse like VR glasses, AR headsets.

There are a number of headset makers in the market: Valve, HTC, HP, and Sony.

Specifically talking about Facebook, I mean ‘Meta’ wants you to buy one of its Oculus Quest 2 VR headsets.

However, these devices and gadgets aren’t that affordable for most people, at least for now.

But, with recent developments and ongoing digital transformations, these gadgets may be cheaper in the future.

Well, that’s exactly how the mass audience will accept this “Digital Reality”. The same happened when Apple was first launched as well as the early years of the “Internet”.

Assumptions

The world of meta will probably have a common theme for all its developers for better interaction of audiences. Digital neighborhoods, parks, and clubs will spring up.

Virtual land will be on-demand. Yeah, you heard it right. Investors are already splashing out plots of virtual lands.

You will also be able to buy 3D virtual clothing just as in games but will have no physical existence. Recently, I came across the website DressX.com, which is the first multi-brand retailer of digital fashion clothing.

There’s also no agreement, that you will require VR or AR to get into the metaverse.

Pretty much, this new augmented reality will include and add on new things that would replicate real-life locations and situations.

Problems

You must be familiar with ‘cyber-bullying’. Common, don’t tell me, you haven’t faced it once in your lifetime.

Online harassment and abuse have been on the rise since social media has paced itself and got attention.

Now, here we are talking about a step further, 3D interactive spaces, so the chances of virtual abuse, crime, hate speech, misinformation, and harassment may rise to a next level.

So, when these Big Techs have been planning out stepping into the new world of virtual reality, figuring out a solution for security will do good for them.

In the video by Meta, Mark Zuckerberg addresses this issue and its solution as a safe zone where you can choose who you want to be present in your space and can block a person if not suited.

Moreover, besides serious security dubiety, affordability will come next. The recent VR and AR headsets and 3D games like Fortnite and Playstation can cost you your annual pocket.

Additionally, this new form of communication may result in physical and mental illness, anti-social behavior, anxiety, and other health-related issues.

Businesses In Action

I do believe everything in this world will have a good and a bad side to it.

Hence, development and change are the beginning of a new era, and a brand that updates its strategies with the market will be the winners with a first-mover advantage.

Microsoft recently bought ActivisionBlizzard for $69 Billion, with the plan of its expansion into the metaverse.

Nevertheless, Walmart seems to be also venturing into the metaverse with its plan to create its own cryptocurrency and NFTs.

The retailer has filed several new trademarks with the intent to make and sell virtual goods, as well as in a separate filing, it also mentioned offering users virtual currency as well as NFTs.

Okens.com, a Canadian company, spent around $2.5 million on virtual property in Decentraland, a 3D platform that is a spiritual descendant of Geocities or Second Life.

Additionally, sports company like Nike is teaming up with Roblox to create an online world called Nikeland. As per the news, it also bought a virtual sneaker company RTFKT.

Keeping up with the ongoing trend, Gap has also started selling NFTs of its iconic logo sweatshirts following Under Armour and Adidas.

The metaverse mortgage comes on sales of virtual property exploded last year. By one estimate, sales exceeded $500 million in 2021, according to MetaMetrics Solution data cited by CNBC.

TerraZero Technologies has facilitated one of the first-ever “metaverse mortgages” for prospective clients to explore metaverse land listings and finalize the brokerage process with the company in the metaverse platform, Decentraland.

Among the biggest deals was a 2.43 million virtual land purchase. (Woooh.. that’s something.)

Conclusion

Metaverse is a whole new experience of how we communicate with others.

Meta has set our expectations very high with its announcement and as we read furthermore news and assumptions, the fact that there is still a lot to work on and achieve is true.

But with that, there are some major challenges that these big techs need to overcome to actually make metaverse the successor of mobile internet as stated by Mark Zuckerberg.

What Does Experts Say:

Source: Fastcompany.com

Thank you for reading my article! If you liked it, don’t forget to share and tag me. Let me know your thoughts on metaverse in the comments below.

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6 thoughts on “What Is The Metaverse?”

  1. Nishita… You have written so beautifull and perfect, metaverse is such a broader thing… And you have explained it so well….. While reading I have come across so much of new things and have got to know about them… It has changed my perspective about many things…. Thank you for writing such a brilliant article….
    You write damn good…. Keep writing… Waiting for more of your blogs… You are a star ✨

  2. I was knowing about metaverse and all bt some of the information just explode my head…u have good writing skills keep writing keep educating and keep shining looking forward to read more

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