Let’s just consider a world where every other person can work, live, shop, and interact with one another at the comfort of their homes. That is exactly what Metaverse truly wants to achieve. In fact, the term ‘Metaverse’ didn’t gain popularity up until Facebook changed its corporate name to Meta back in October 2021.
In fact, one can even consider Metaverse as the next evolution of the internet. Be it playing games, setting up business meetings, or interacting with one another over online communities, Metaverse could be anything.
In this article, we are going to discuss everything there is to know about Metaverse once and for all.
What is Metaverse?
While it has only been a few years with the term Metaverse being used, it was first coined back in 1992 in Snow Crash. The famous author Neil Stephenson describes Metaverse as a dystopian digital world that co-exists with the material domain. This is due to the physical world being inhabitable, resulting in people’s existence within virtual reality.
Even by today’s standard, the term Metaverse more or less retains the same meaning. In fact, according to Meta (previously called Facebook), Metaverse can be best described as the unification of the physical world with the virtual domain. This unique collaboration can let users have real-world experience, incorporating Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality elements.
Not to mention, these virtual domains can even break the shackles of entire laws of physics altogether. Be it working, running, or even traveling, everything can be theoretically done within the confinements of Metaverse.
People supporting the new web 3.0 believe the current version of the internet has many loose ends. This is where the Metaverse can connect the dots creating an inseparable, multi-sensory, and commercially viable world.
Salient Characteristics of Metaverse
Metaverse comprises several elements that make it truly unique. Here are some of the most prominent characteristics of Metaverse:
The entire technology behind Metaverse is largely dependent on AR and VR. So, the Metaverse apps are to be expected to have a close resemblance of the space and time corresponding to the real world. Just like in the physical world, interactions are visual, auditory, and dynamic, Metaverse platforms can deliver similar experiences, if not slightly elevated for that matter.
Let’s consider each Metaverse platform representing each country of the world. Each Metaverse app can become interoperable among multiple Metaverse platforms. This is just like traveling from one country to another. Depending upon who develops the platform, Metaverse can stretch from open-ended to even transmutable ones.
How Metaverse Differentiates Itself from the Internet?
This is by far one of the most commonly asked questions regarding Metaverse. Whether Metaverse is going to be the new internet as we move towards an unforeseeable future.
For starters, the internet can be best defined as the network of billions of computers with millions of servers interconnected with one another.
Metaverse on the other hand doesn’t compete with the internet but is built upon it. Metaverse allows users to enter into a virtual domain that comprises all the elements from the physical world.
So, while the internet allows people to enter into the virtual domain to a certain degree, Metaverse is where people can actually live.
Metaverse Projects from Top Companies
We are not far away from a future where large tech enterprises are going to have their micro-colonies of Metaverses. Here is a list of some of the top companies that are heavily invested in Metaverse:
1. Meta (Formerly Facebook)
Meta has been one of the early adopters into the whole Metaverse. In fact, it is also one of the driving factors behind the recent name change. Meta has stated how they are going to connect people into the Metaverse, using CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s business meeting in the Metaverse.
Not to mention, this even opens a whole new world of possibilities with Meta intending to create 10,000 new jobs in Europe alone, solely dedicated towards the Metaverse AR and VR projects.
2. Nvidia Omniverse
Nvidia launched its Omniverse platform back in 2019. But instead of being the sole regulatory body, Nvidia has taken an open-sourced approach. That means any individual or enterprise can try out Omniverse while creating, licensing, and distributing their apps using the more than 200 pre-built extensions.
In order to create the Omniverse, Nvidia is leveraging Pixar’s Universal Scene Description technology. Currently, Nvidia is presenting its Omniverse in the form of a 3D web browser that can be easily accessed using any workstation or laptop.
3. Microsoft’s Metaverse Stack
For starters, Microsoft’s approach to Metaverse is completely different than that of Facebook altogether. Unlike creating fancy avatars to interact with, Microsoft is targeting mega-corporations.
For example, using Microsoft’s Metaverse VR, manufacturing companies can now train their employees while mitigating the risks of anyone getting hurt. Similarly, it can also be used for demonstration purposes as well.
Technologies Lying Within Metaverse
In order to understand Metaverse, it is very important to have a clear understanding of the underlying technologies. Here is a list of all the technologies that contribute to the Metaverse:
1. Blockchain and Cryptocurrency
This goes without saying, Blockchain is the building block of Metaverse, where cryptocurrencies take over the financial aspects. Cryptocurrencies are now incentivized towards the purchase and sale of digital assets in the Metaverse.
NFTs on the other hand facilitate ownership and authenticity which is yet another product of Blockchain. Working together, these create the technological pillars required to create an establishment in Metaverse.
2. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality
AR and VR are actually what allows us to access Metaverse in the first place. Undoubtedly Augmented Reality (AR) facilitates the interaction between the real and virtual environment, creating real-time interactions between them with proper 3D visualization.
Virtual Reality on the other hand allows simulating the entire experience in the virtual world. VR is responsible for delivering a precise sensory experience to the user in the real world. This unique combination of AR and VR lead to the creation of Extended Reality (ER) in the Metaverse.
3. Artificial Intelligence
The world we know of today would have come to a halt long ago without the creation of Artificial Intelligence. How to use AI in Metaverse, you may ask? The implementation of Non-Playing Characters (NRCs) within Metaverse is the virtue of AI.
In fact, developers can also use AI for facial recognition, image classification, and other high-end computing to create Metaverse a more seamless experience.
4. Internet of Things (IoT)
In order to achieve real-time simulation, it is very important to have constant access to real-time data that are fed over IoT connecting millions of devices altogether. In order to get a seamless data integration and lossless interaction, IoT indeed plays a critical role in Metaverse.
Role of NFTs in Metaverse
Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) are going to play a pivotal role in uplifting the entire concept of Metaverse. In Layman’s terms, NFTs are secured digital assets based on the same Blockchain technology used in cryptocurrencies.
Instead of taking a monetary approach (currency), NFTs can be used to represent arts, songs, videos as well as digital real estate. NFT gives the users a right of ownership that can be bought or sold within the Metaverse.
Take Metaverse Properties for example deems itself as the world’s first virtual real estate company. In fact, Metaverse Properties acts as an agent in purchasing or renting out properties in Metaverses, including Sandbox, Decentralland, Upland, and more.
Similarly, Metaverse is also creating opportunities for several companies that are starting to offer digital goods. For example, Nike recently hired RTFKT, a start-up company that is creating virtual sneakers and various digital articles using NFT.
Nike and Roblox have also partnered towards the creation of ‘Nikeland,’ a digital world that allows Nike fans to connect with one another while playing games and dressing up in their virtual avatars.
In other words, NFTs and Blockchains are creating the groundwork for digital ownership. This, in turn, can enable people to connect to their virtual world in the Metaverse.
Challenges of Metaverse
Even with all the bells and whistles of Metaverse, there are still challenges and shortcomings that need to be addressed. For starters, the lack of any governing body can jeopardize identity authentication and privacy control.
This is something that needs to be tackled before it is introduced to the general public. Robust Identity Access Management systems are required for data protection towards all users in the Metaverse.
Wrapping Up: Metaverse Explained
So that was the basic idea behind a virtual world where everything and everyone is connected to one another online. But this is the idea of Metaverse is years behind fruition. According to co-founder of Microsoft Bill Gates, we are years behind getting easy access to VR goggles and motion capturing gloves being easily accessible to every household.
On the other hand, a virtual meeting can easily happen in the Metaverse within the coming two to three years. This is due to the easy adaptation of the corporates with the new technology. That being said, let us know in the comment section below, what are your thoughts on Metaverse?
What is Metaverse?
Metaverse is the unification of the physical world with the virtual domain. Just like the physical world, interactions are visual, auditory, and dynamic. It incorporates Virtual reality and Augmented reality elements to let users have real-world experiences. Metaverse has several use cases in Gaming, Social Media, Media & Entertainment, Virtual Tourism, etc.