Right from Apple and Facebook to Amazon and Google, every major technology company is now trying to grab a pie of metaverse and create their products and services based on that.
But what exactly is metaverse? Is it a new technology/domain or platform? Or metaverse is a new address on the Internet?
Why do businesses and corporations want to secure their place in the metaverse?
And more importantly, how to enter a metaverse?
In this blog, we will decode the metaverse for you, explain its definition, the underlying technologies behind it, and showcase ways to enter the metaverse.
Let’s dive straight into this amazing Universe, called Metaverse.
The term metaverse was first coined in a 1992 science fiction novel called Snow Crash, wherein a pizza delivery boy living in a dystopian society enters the virtual world, and some very interesting things happen to him.
In layman's terms, Metaverse is a shared virtual space and has been created by using two terms: Meta and Universe.
To understand the metaverse, let’s first mentally replace this term with ‘Cyberspace’, and all the missing pieces of this puzzle will come together, to showcase the actual meaning and relevance.
Most of the metaverse is actually cyberspace, but in a virtual and augmented mode, with a host of futuristic features that provide an interconnected set of experiences to the users.
Is Metaverse A New Technology?
No! Metaverse isn’t a new technology per se, but a new approach to leverage existing technologies to provide a more immersive, and realistic experience. Metaverse is a broad shift in how we interact and use technology for normal day-to-day activities like attending a video conference or buying new products, or playing games.
However, within the exciting world of the metaverse, each of these seemingly normal activities becomes more realistic, intuitive, and immersive, thereby providing the users with a sense of the space in real-time, converging physical, virtual, and augmented reality into one single dimension.
Imagine you are buying a pair of new shoes today. Under present circumstances, you will visit the online store, ‘read’ or ‘watch’ the details and make the payment.
In a metaverse environment, you can actually visit that shoe store, ‘touch’ and ‘feel’ the product in augmented reality, try out the product, maybe ‘run’ a little bit, and then make the purchase via virtual currency. All these, while you are sitting thousands of miles away from that store, in physical form.
That's the scale at which metaverse is evolving, and empowering the users.
And we have barely scratched the surface here!
Technologies Behind Metaverse
The three most important features of a metaverse are:
- Combining physical and virtual worlds
- Having a full-fledged economy
- Interoperability: Shift from one metaverse to another, seamlessly
In order to ensure that these features and requirements are satisfied, there exist several technologies that are forming the foundation of metaverses, all across the world.
Every metaverse will have avatars and objects, and the identities of these avatars and objects will be determined and continued with NFT or Non Fungible tokens. Since NFTs are unique assets that cannot be replaced and can be stored till eternity via blockchain technology, these are the perfect way to identify and transfer ownership of digital assets, avatars, and objects, within a metaverse.
Interactive 3D Technologies
The foundation of a metaverse will be created via real-world objects, and this is why interactive 3D technologies are so critical for the creation of a metaverse. We need a system to scan the real world, form 3D images of them, and then transfer them to the virtual world within the metaverse.
Mixed & Extended Reality: MX, XR
Via VR (Virtual Reality) and AR (Augmented Reality) glasses, the users of a metaverse will be able to experience MX (Mixed Experience) and XR (Extended Reality), and this will empower the users to have a fully realistic, immersive experience. You can not only see and use the objects and avatars but also interact with them, experience them like in the real world.
Pokemon Go, for instance, already does provide such a virtual reality experience, but this will be amplified within the metaverse.
Facebook is currently working on a project called Project Nazare, that aims to provide a full augmented reality experience via smart glasses. And this is just the start.
The underlying principles of blockchain and torrents will form the base for metaverse as well. Since we need an exponential amount of computing power to translate and transform literally every real-world object into its virtual form, we will need an enormous amount of computing power, and a distributed model seems a perfect choice.
Powerful Artificial Intelligence
For infusing logic and sense into the augmented reality objects, avatars, and their functioning, we will need advanced, powerful Artificial Intelligence, for not only storing the data but also processing it in real-time.
In other words, we will need AI-powered tools like Google Now, Apple Siri, Amazon Alexa, and Microsoft Cortana with more power and more capabilities.
In order to transfer large amounts of data between millions of devices, that too in real-time, we will need an ultra-fast network and communication. Although 5G is preferred as of now, other advanced telecommunication and data networks such as 6G and beyond will be needed for creating a metaverse.
How To Enter A Metaverse?
First and foremost, we will need the hardware.
A smartphone or a tablet, or say laptop/computer is surely the easiest way to enter a metaverse, experience its virtual objects, create avatars, and more. However, for the best, most incredible experience, a VR/AR headset and/or smart glass is recommended.
Using a VR and AR headset or smart glasses, you can experience the metaverse in its truest form, virtually touch and feel the objects, interact with other metaverse users in real-time, and socialize as we do in the real world.
Facebook’s Meta Quest 2 VR and AR headset, along with Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 are right now among the most sought-after headsets by metaverse users.
Once the hardware part is dealt with, we will need an actual metaverse to enter and experience, and there is some good news here as well: There are already numerous metaverses that are active and promise an out of the world virtual experience for the users.
Video gaming platform Roblox has already hosted Gucci’s 100th anniversary inside a metaverse, whereas NFL has recently launched their first-ever metaverse-based meta-store. They even have their own currency and other brands like Nike are joining them.
Fortnite, another major gaming platform, has already hosted meta-concerts by Ariana Grande, Travis Scott, Marshemello, and more.
Facebook’s own meta-workplace called Horizon Workrooms is entirely based on the metaverse, which allows participants to meet, interact, work and collaborate together, via virtual and augmented reality.
Second Life is a game, which is completely based on the metaverse principles and is two decades old now.
In pop culture, the metaverse and its basic foundations have appeared in movies like Matrix, Ready Player One, and Tron, wherein the users actually enter the metaverse, and even fight the bad guys! Although a lot of things portrayed via these movies were fiction, they are now becoming a reality, and mainstream now.
Most of the metaverses, which are currently active, have their own digital currency as well, which are traded among crypto investors. For example, Decentraland, whose currency is MANA whose price is around $3 currently.
Somnium Space, another metaverse has around 5,000 land parcels, which can be bought and sold by their users, via cryptocurrencies and their own erc20 token called Somnium Space CUBEs.
Sandbox, Star Atlas, Bloktopia, Metahero are some of the popular games, that are based on the metaverse, and will allow their users to trade, sell, buy and establish their own empire within the metaverse.
Disney is already working on creating a unique metaverse that will be based on their theme parks, and every real-world experience will be digitally mapped into this metaverse.
Hyundai, Nike, Adidas, Warner Bros, Coca Cola, Louis Vuitton, and numerous other brands are in the process to partner with other popular metaverses or forming their own metaverse to entice users, and encourage them to buy their products.
In this blog, we have shared some of the business applications of metaverse that will redefine the way we interact and transact with businesses.
Metaverse is the future of the Internet and Digital, and it has the power to change the future.
Are you ready?