Imagine a virtual environment where people can live, work, shop, and engage with others all from the comfort of their living room. The metaverse is the term for this.
The term “metaverse” didn’t catch on until Facebook changed its name to Meta in October 2021. At the time, the business announced plans to invest $10 billion in technology over the next year to realize its metaverse goal.
It is thought to be the next step in the evolution of the internet. Gaming, online communities, and business meetings where people participate via a digital replica or avatar of themselves are just a few examples.
WHAT IT IS AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
The concept of a metaverse isn’t new. It was initially detailed in the novel Snow Crash, published in 1992. Several firms launched online communities based on the concept afterwards, the most famous of which was Second Life, introduced in 2003. Avatars are used in the metaverse to represent oneself, connect, and virtually establish a community.
Digital cash is used in the metaverse to purchase clothing, weapons, and shielding in video games, among other things. Users can also use a virtual reality headset and controllers to journey through the metaverse for leisure with no specific objective in mind.
Snow Crash was a gloomy vision of the future that did not paint the metaverse in a favourable light. The word “metaverse” was coined by author Neal Stephenson to describe a next-generation virtual reality-based internet.
Technical skill, symbolized by the sophistication of a user’s avatar, as one means to attain prestige in Stephenson’s metaverse. The ability to access certain restricted areas — a predecessor to the paywalls and registration requirements that some websites utilize today — was another prestige indicator.
COMPANIES IN THE METAVERSE
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote an open letter in which he described his company’s metaverse investment as a “fundamental change” that was part of a new vision for the social media giant to “bring the metaverse to life.”
He also stated that Facebook is a metaverse-first corporation rather than a Facebook-first one. This is a significant shift because it means that users won’t require a Facebook account to access other metaverse services in the future. In addition, Facebook has already sold millions of its Oculus VR headgear units for navigating the metaverse, among other non-Facebook items.
In the Meta announcement, Zuckerberg stated that Facebook aims to “bring the metaverse to life” by accelerating the development of fundamental technologies such as social platforms and creative tools.
Following the release of the Meta news in late 2021, Facebook introduced Horizon Worlds, a virtual reality realm that users can explore as an avatar and tools for developers to construct new virtual worlds.
Following a $1 billion round of fundraising in 2021, Epic Games, creators of the blockbuster online shooter game series Fortnite — which has 350 million users — and the Unreal Engine software for game developers, aimed to stake a claim in the metaverse.
Sony Group Corp. contributed $200 million. Epic Games’ vision of the metaverse varies from Facebook’s. It aims to create a social environment where users may connect and brands without being bombarded with advertisements in their news feed.
In a statement, Kenichiro Yoshida, chairperson, president, and CEO of Sony Group Corp., said, “I strongly feel that this corresponds with our objective to fill the world with emotion via the force of creativity and technology.”
Microsoft Teams, the software giant’s online meeting competitor to Zoom, is getting the metaverse treatment. Mesh for Microsoft Teams will be available in 2022, according to Microsoft.
The new technology allows Teams members in different physical places to participate in collaborative and shared holographic experiences during virtual meetings. Mesh, according to Microsoft, will enable users to create a virtual presence on any device by employing a personalized avatar of themselves.
Mesh for Microsoft, a developer platform that contains a suite of AI-powered tools for avatars, session management, spatial rendering, synchronization across many users, and “holoportation,” was previously announced.
Holoportation is a real-time 3D reconstruction and transmission technique that allows users to reconstruct and send high-quality 3D representations of individuals.
WHAT ROLE DO NFTs PLAY IN METAVERSE
Nonfungible tokens (NFTs) are expected to play a significant part in the metaverse’s utility and popularity. NFTs are secure digital asset that uses the same blockchain technology as cryptocurrency.
An NFT can be used to represent a piece of art, music, or digital real estate instead of currency. The owner of an NFT receives a digital deed or proof of ownership that can be bought or sold in the metaverse.
Metaverse Properties claims to be the first virtual real estate company globally in numerous metaverse virtual worlds, such as Decentraland, Sandbox, Somnium, and Upland. The corporation functions as an agent to acquire or lease property or land. Conference and commercial spaces, art galleries, family homes, and “hangout spots” are among the options.
While the metaverse has allowed new enterprises like Metaverse Properties to sell digital items, existing brick-and-mortar businesses are also involved.
Nike, for example, bought RTFKT, a company that uses NFTs, blockchain authentication, and augmented reality to create one-of-a-kind virtual footwear and digital artefacts. RTFKT describes itself as “born on the metaverse, which has shaped its feel to this day” on its website.
Nike submitted seven trademark applications before the acquisition to aid in creating and selling virtual footwear and apparel. Nike and Roblox also collaborated on “Nikeland,” a digital realm where Nike fans can play games, socialize with one another, and adorn their avatars in virtual clothing.
The foundation for digital ownership is laid by NFTs and blockchain. “ORE System, an online community of gamers, content providers, and game makers, is led by Nick Donarski. “The ownership of one’s real-world identity will be carried across to the metaverse via NFTs.