Many analysts believe that in the future, we will spend much more time in the virtual space, or metaverse. But what is the metaverse?
Metaverse seems to be an elastic term with several definitions. However, we are advised to consider it a digital space that encompasses any virtual reality where one can explore, play games, shop, socialize, and even visit events.
Some claim people will enter the metaverse only through a virtual reality headset. Others insist that we can visit cyberspace with a laptop. One thing is for sure; most people consider the metaverse a 3D version of Internet. In the article, we’ll explore what is the metaverse and how it’s going to affect the future of the Internet.
So, what is the metaverse exactly? It’s indeed a virtual reality, but not as in a science fiction movie or book. Some people believe the metaverse will resemble a world like The Matrix. Everyone is going to live in a digital world which looks real.
Metaverse is not like The Matrix. However, it should have the potential to evolve into an advanced and immersive tech. The basic idea is that metaverse is a virtual reality which enables people worldwide to socialize with each other and interact with the metaverse itself. Metaverse users should be able to get various items and even obtain land within a virtual reality.
The thing with metaverse is that everyone sees it differently, and the concept itself keeps evolving over the years. For instance, Zuckerberg refers to the metaverse as an embodied Internet, and users get inside it instead of just looking at it.
Most analysts agree that the metaverse will be an extension of the Internet. We always interact with some things over the Internet, be it a website, an app, an online game, or a chat messenger. The metaverse takes these interactions one step further and places the person in the middle of the action.
This new technology should provide users with a better, more realistic experience than merely surfing web pages or watching videos on YouTube.
Metaverse vs. Virtual Reality vs. Augmented Reality
Metaverse often resembles virtual reality (VR). VR and AR (augmented reality) are closely tied to the metaverse, but these three concepts differ. However, these three entities supplement each other.
Both VR and AR enable us to dive into virtual reality. VR shows us entirely different virtual surroundings, and we may interact with objects within the digital world. AR adds various elements to the real environment, and we may also interact with these objects.
So, AR and VR enable us to interact with surroundings and objects, but not with people. Enter, Metaverse. It aims to enable human contact similar to the one in AR and VR. However, we would need both VR and AR to experience interactions with people.
The metaverse is supposed to bring people closer to each other in previously unheard ways.
What does the metaverse look like?
As mentioned, there are different visions of the metaverse. Every huge corporation interested in developing the metaverse has a different opinion. As a result, now experts use two concepts: “the metaverse” and “a metaverse.”
In simple words, there is no one metaverse linking all virtual worlds into one entity. All these virtual worlds use the Internet to link users worldwide, but they look entirely different from others.
The “appearance” of a metaverse depends on the views and ideas of its creators. One example is Minecraft, but larger. Instead of building whatever you want in one sandbox, you have a huge server, and you share with people worldwide.
A metaverse may resemble an office, a forest, a fantasy world, a street, etc. However, real-world rules are transferred to these realities. It means people should be able to see the sky, various buildings or objects, and nature. But the most significant thing is that people will also be in a virtual world. Or rather their avatars.
Zuckerberg believes his metaverse would be free of most limitations our real world has. For example, he believes his virtual world version will enable people to go to space, visit the bottom of the sea, etc.
To summarize, a metaverse could look like anything its creator wants it to be. It could be a combination of everything at once, and people will be able to interact with various objects and each other.
The importance and purpose of the metaverse
The purpose of the meta world is to connect people worldwide through a virtual, shared universe. For example, it could be a workspace where employees are allowed to interact or a bar for entertainment.
Users will be portrayed by their chosen avatars. Essentially, the purpose of the metaverse is to enable people to do whatever they prefer. Here are some things people should be able to do in a meta world:
- Buy, own, and trade property.
- Live and interact with each other and surroundings.
- Work and study.
Now let’s dive into the details.
Own, buy, and trade property
Most analysts agree that buying and owning property should be common for various meta worlds. Today, people prefer online games where they build and expand their universes.
Once a player buys the land, it becomes unavailable to other players. They will see it but won’t be able to do anything with it. The idea of building something in virtual reality isn’t new and comes from such games as Roblox or Minecraft.
The best advertisement is when thousands of people can see it. Since people should spend a lot of time in the meta world, advertisers should take advantage of this situation.
The simplest idea to advertise something is to buy land and place a logo on top of it. However, advertisers can also organize virtual promotional events and gather thousands of people.
Metaverse will be important for marketers since it’s going to change how companies advertise. In the future, people are going to spend a lot of time within the metaverse, so companies should adjust their marketing strategies.
Live and interact with each other, and surroundings
In an ideal meta world, users should be able to interact with everyone around them, and it’s not about chatting via phone. The most advanced virtual worlds would incorporate voice communication through VR or AR sets. Such technology should bring the virtual world and interactions to a new advanced level.
All interactions in the metaverse should revolve around socialization and spending time with other people. People should be able to visit libraries together, go scuba diving, visit festivals, etc. However, they won’t meet each other in person but in this virtual world.
One can say that the metaverse is going to erase standard boundaries. We may interact with people living in distant countries without the need to travel. Most of us already spend a lot of time online, but the metaverse should improve the way we interact so they feel real. The launch of the first metaverse is a very important step as it should make communication easier.
Work and study
Companies like Microsoft and Meta (formerly Facebook) have already revealed that they plan to incorporate meta worlds into their workspace. These companies want their employees to work and cooperate within a metaverse.
Microsoft is working on Mesh, which should make interactions less boring and more real than standard video conferences. Meta is considering creating a meta workspace where every employee, even if working remotely, can log in and interact with other workers while completing their tasks.
Nvidia is working on Omniverse that may be useful for programmers, architects, designers, engineers, and other professionals. Omniverse creators aim to develop a world that simulates real-world conditions so that these professionals can complete their tasks before completing them in the real world. It’s an important improvement as it should save resources when constructing buildings.
Can the metaverse become reality?
Everything about the metaverse sounds more like science fiction, but can it become our reality? The idea of a digital world where we can interact with others and the experience resembles real interactions sounds fun. Yet, no one seems to understand how meta-world developers are going to make this dream come true.
In a perfect world, the metaverse connects every user worldwide as long as they have an Internet connection. They join a public server and meet their friends. They interact with other people, buy property, and travel to space. But we don’t live in a perfect world.
Most likely, the metaverse is going to be limited to server capabilities. When users enter a virtual space simultaneously, servers tend to go down. So, a first virtual world definitely won’t be borderless. Perhaps, in the future, developers will find a way to ensure servers won’t go down. But currently, we don’t have a solution to this issue.
Simply put, the metaverse has all the chances to become a reality, but it won’t look as most of us imagine. We will most likely have several different meta realities, given the number of companies working in this area. One thing is for sure: the idea of a metaverse is no longer science fiction, and we should expect some progress in this area.