The future is here – well, it’s certainly forthcoming – and it’s in the form of the Metaverse. There’s a lot of commotion surrounding it in the tech and gaming industries, so let’s dive in and determine exactly what it is…
What started as science fiction ideology is rapidly becoming reality. The term “metaverse” is becoming more prevalent, since fresh ideas are brought into the equation on a daily basis, extending the virtual world.
The platform, which can be accessed and utilized in a variety of ways, is so far encompassing social meetings, gaming, and even the financial realm.
While there is a lot to say about the Metaverse, the boundaries are still a little vague since we don’t know what remarkable things this technical breakthrough may lead to.
What Is The Closest Definition Of The Metaverse?
The Metaverse is a virtual digital environment that incorporates virtual reality, augmented reality, blockchain and social media principles to build simulated areas of cognitively enriching user activity and communication that resembles reality.
As the Metaverse grows in size, it will build online spaces that will allow for more complex user engagement than is now possible with current technology. Users in the Metaverse will be able to insert themselves into an environment where the physical and virtual worlds intersect, rather than just viewing digital content on a screen.
The ability to communicate and ‘travel’ without leaving your home is an introvert’s dream. And in a world where global pollution, global warming, and global pandemics are a threat, the Metaverse is anybody’s refuge and escape from reality.
And the video games are gonna be great.
Is The Metaverse A New Concept?
Whilst the terminology may be unfamiliar to some, the notion of the Metaverse has been around for over three decades. In his 1992 book Snow Crash, American novelist Neal Stephenson established the Metaverse. Users in the story utilise the Metaverse as a way to escape from a dismal future.
For the last 30 years, the industry has been progressively establishing the framework for a true metaverse. Virtual reality headsets have become practically flawless, and virtual entities are beginning to have real-world value, as shown with NFTs.
Contrary to popular belief given the albeit smart timing of their rebranding, Facebook is far from the first firm to consider the Metaverse. Most crypto aficionados will be familiar with Decentraland, which is backed by multiple millions of dollars and offers users a virtual reality environment builder with configurable avatars and a crypto-enabled marketplace.
Meta is striving to build a similar experience, but one that combines social networking features that are not related to AR/VR. It announced its entry into augmented reality and virtual reality, as well as the establishment of its own metaverse, in late 2021.
Is The Metaverse The Next Internet?
In the technology industry, new technical advances appear out of nowhere and are sometimes exploited and misinterpreted. These inventions, like the internet, have a propensity to linger. Similarly, “the Metaverse” is generally predicted to be the next internet revolution.
Of course, the Metaverse will not replace the internet – this isn’t at all what we mean when we talk about it being “the next internet”. What we mean is, that the Metaverse will be the most significant technological innovation since the internet’s inception. This has also been said about Elon Musk’s Neuralink, but we’ll just have to wait and see.
The Metaverse will change how we communicate, work, play and much more, all within a virtual world that we will be able to access from headsets, computers, consoles and mobile devices wherever we physically are in the real world.
Is The Metaverse Anything More Than Just A Game?
This question has been subject to much debate. While video games have already captured the fundamental form of what the Metaverse promises to be, the Metaverse has the potential to be so much more than a single game with no real-world consequences.
For example, Fortnite has already staged a number of live music events, with artists such as Ariana Grande, Travis Scott, and Marshmello performing in front of tens of millions of players simultaneously.
Open world games like World Of Warcraft have created a sense of escape with a VR-like sensation for many years, where players roam a virtual world, earning virtual currency to buy virtual cosmetics and weapons for their avatars. The difference here is that, with the help of cryptocurrency, virtual entities in the Metaverse will have real-world values, as we’ve seen with NFTs.
VR headsets already provide the ability to head to a virtual cafe with friends, discuss the weekend plans and complain about the in-laws.
Does The Metaverse Have Anything To Do With Neuralink?
The purpose of Neuralink, according to Elon Musk, is to improve the pace at which data can go from the human brain to a computer.
The Metaverse seems to be more like fiction becoming reality in the present, with everyone seeing it develop right before their eyes.
So while the two companies technically have different goals, they look to solve some similar issues, like the speed of communication and how we interact with technology in the most efficient ways.
The differences are, as Elon Musk has openly stated himself, is that while he is trying to aid and improve our current way of living, the Metaverse is trying to adapt it in a way that includes strapping a screen directly to our faces. What did our parents use to say about square eyes and/or blindness?
However, there are some significant advantages to doing so. One significant benefit is that Metaverse may contribute to environmental harmony. Future Metaverse development, such as the ability to move things, like offices, virtually, may replace the necessity for human travel. There will be fewer unnecessary commutes, resulting in reduced pollution and greater control over global warming.
How Do We Enter The Metaverse?
When it comes to accessing the Metaverse, Virtual Reality headsets seem to be the way to go in order to receive the intended, fully immersive experience of the technology.
Although virtual reality headsets aren’t exactly new technology, one might argue that they’ve just lately realised their full potential. The first few versions were mediocre and included wires and a lot of flaws and glitches. You’re entirely unshackled now, as long as you have the room to do so, and the quality of what you’re seeing is so gripping that it causes motion sickness in some players and can take some getting used to.
Although the gear is self-contained and does not need a PC or gaming console to utilise, a good VR headset will set you back at least $300. Other VR headset manufacturers include HTC, Valve and Sony, all of which operate with PCs or a PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 5.
Augmented Reality headsets, which overlay digital information on top of the actual environment and are far more costly, are also made by a few other corporations, such as Microsoft. Qualcomm and other companies are working on ways for Smartglasses to interact with phones, albeit most of the applications are still prototype or business-oriented. Snap’s experimental AR glasses, or spectacles like the Nreal Light, demonstrate how much work remains to make them a viable buy.
You may also access existing metaverses from your computer, tablet, or smartphone, such as Roblox and Minecraft. Although it isn’t a complete experience, the success of these platforms demonstrates their allure.
What Is The Plan For The Metaverse?
In a fairly recent financial report, Meta said that it expected to invest around $10 billion USD in the growth of the Metaverse, with plans to increase spending over the following few years.
Meta announced that the company’s profits from Facebook Reality Labs and its VR and AR research and innovation division will be separated as part of this move. Meta will reveal revenue and operating profit for its many social media applications in one statement and information on FRL in a second report under the new format.
In a letter, Mark Zuckerberg said that by establishing a realm where possibilities are limitless, certain items would no longer be required to be physical.
Engaging with these virtual objects necessitates the creation of new technological infrastructures, such as augmented reality glasses, virtual reality encounters, or other kinds of displays, which is part of Meta’s strategy. Furthermore, Meta also said that it intends to offer its products at cost price or even at a discount rate in order to make them more accessible to a wider audience.
Is The Metaverse Owned By Meta (Formerly Facebook)?
Owing to a very well timed branding change from Facebook to Meta, many people assume the Metaverse is being pioneered by Meta themselves.
However, the truth is that nobody owns the Metaverse, just like how nobody owns the internet. Instead, the Metaverse acts as a virtual platform that companies will use to connect their own devices and services.
So far, there is a variety of huge companies that have already invested in being a part of the Metaverse, and as you’d expect, they tend to be technology, gaming and crypto-based firms.
Here are some of the companies that have already committed themselves to the Metaverse:
Infrastructure, discovery, a creator economy, human interface devices, and spatial computing are just a few of the crucial facets of constructing the Metaverse, and Meta already has pieces of all of these integrated into its framework.
Meanwhile, Microsoft is attempting to create a work-focused metaverse that would integrate its massively popular services in a digital environment known as Mesh. You’d be able to access Microsoft Teams, Windows, and other services in VR using Mesh.
In the race to the Metaverse, Apple might be an unexpected participant. It is actively developing sophisticated virtual reality equipment that has the potential to transform the Metaverse experience. Morgan Stanley even went so far as to claim that, like the smartphone and tablet sectors before it, widespread adoption of the Metaverse is dependent on Apple.
Epic Games, the creators of the famous videogame Fortnite, was always well-positioned to create the Metaverse. The company, whose game has already featured live music concerts, made its ambitions clear by announcing a $1 billion investment round to support the Metaverse’s expansion.
While Nvidia won’t be establishing its “own Metaverse”, there’s no doubt that it will be a significant enabler in the project, owing to its launch of Omniverse Enterprise in 2021, which allows all kinds of digital artists to cooperate on 3D modelling, design, and simulation. The Metaverse’s foundations have been set by Omniverse, which mixes 3D visuals with AI and advanced supercomputing.
Decentraland, which is well-known by cryptocurrency enthusiasts (especially those with stakes in Ethereum or NFTs), was one of the first to highlight the Metaverse as a primary offering. Decentraland has progressively gathered traction since its creation in 2017, with a piece of real estate inside its virtual reality realm recently selling for a staggering $2.4 million.
Pokémon Go, developed by Niantic, was one of the first virtual worlds to breach the barriers between real and virtual worlds. Now, the business has secured $300 million to create its own metaverse, which will be an answer to the dystopian horror that the Metaverse was originally thought to be by sceptics.
Is The Metaverse Safe?
To begin, it’s important to understand that the Metaverse relies on the continual usage of hyper-realistic 3D avatars to work properly. The widespread usage of avatars raises concerns about security and privacy. How can we tell who is behind a character when we engage with it? Is it necessary for users to appear like their avatars, or may they fully recreate themself? These are key difficulties in identity authentication and verification that must be solved.
Due to the potentially massive amount of private information that may be monetized and utilised in the Metaverse, privacy and data security will be critical topics to work on.
Surprisingly, there have already been instances of harassment and bullying in Metaverse areas, suggesting that it’s just a matter of time until some unpleasant lawsuits are filed.
Overall, though, just like the internet, it will come down to taking measures to ensure you’re keeping yourself safe. As for me, I’ll be sure to use a VPN when I’m working from a virtual cafe pretending to drink coffee.
Jake McEvoyJake is a professional copywriter, journalist, and life-long fan of technology. He covers news and user guides for KnowYourMobile.
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