What is the Metaverse?
The Metaverse is a concept encompassing aspects of a new digital frontier. To break that down further, view the metaverse as a new way to use digital integrated technology. The concept of the Metaverse will be an integrated digital life. Described as an Idealized Virtual World, many consider Metaverse as an evolution of the internet. The Metaverse is anticipated to drastically surpass the internet with its capabilities and utility.
How will the Metaverse work?
The Metaverse will integrate extended reality (XR)-the combination of augmented, virtual, and mixed reality- that combines aspects of the digital and physical worlds. The idea is that 3-D environments will be accessible and interactive in real-time. The Metaverse will allow users to have a digital identity tied to a digital avatar that can buy, sell, trade, and meet. Initially, this does not sound different from social media sites and video conferencing rooms. The Metaverse proposes to include 3D models and fully interactive cyberspace. The metaverse aims to be a new form of digital communication, interaction, and exchange. The metaverse may become the key medium for social and business engagement.
The Metaverse and Digital Goods
Companies intend to profit heavily from the sales of digital goods. There is an emphasis on a digital economy where users can create, buy, and sell goods. The Metaverse is described as interoperable, which refers to computer systems or software being able to exchange and make use of information. The Metaverse will allow users to take virtual items like clothes, from one digital space to another. The metaverse is expected to have a strong connection to the real-world economy. It will become an extension of it. Experts suggest that the metaverse must have the ability for companies and individuals to participate in economic activity the same way that they do today. The Metaverse will need to allow users to build, trade, and invest in products, goods, and services.
The Metaverse is proposed to offer unprecedented interoperability of data, digital items/assets, and content. This suggests that items digital items from one experience could be used to interact with a different platform. For example, an avatar skin from Fortnite could be used or gifted through Facebook. Currently, the digital world acts as if it is a mall where every store has its own currency, required proprietary ID cards, had proprietary units of measurement, and different rules.
Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs)
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) may be the foundation for value creation. An NFT is a claim of ownership for a unique, non-interchangeable digital asset that is stored on a blockchain. A blockchain, also called Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) makes the history of any digital asset unalterable and transparent using decentralization and cryptographic hashing. A blockchain allows people to share valuable data in a secure, tamper-proof way.
Who is involved with Metaverse Development?
The Metaverse needs innovative technologies, protocols, companies, innovations, and discoveries to operate optimally. The Metaverse needs deep pockets to come to fruition. The Metaverse is a macro goal for several global technology giants. It is a goal of Epic Games, maker of the Unreal Engine and Fortnite. Mark Zuckerberg’s company, formerly Facebook, has embraced the notion of the metaverse to such a degree, that he has chosen to rename the company, META. Facebook purchased Oculus VR, Horizon virtual world/meeting space, AR glasses, and brain-to-machine interfaces and communication. Google, Apple, and Valve are a few other companies that will be involved with Metaverse development.
- Will users be restricted to one digital avatar?
- How much interoperability is necessary for the Metaverse to be successful?
- How will labor be impacted?
- Will people shift where they live to work digitally as we have seen with the impact of working remotely post-covid?
The Metaverse is predicted to be even more impactful than the internet, alone. There have already been a few light examples of Metaverse-like technologies. For instance, Pokemon Go was released to mobile devices in 2017, allowing fans to catch their favorite Pocket Monsters in augmented reality. Fortnite had a live in-platform Marshmello concert and previewed a Star Wars trailer to their audience. Fortnite was initially just a gaming space but has grown into a social hub that integrates other intellectual properties like DC, Marvel, and Shonen Jump. Companies are going to go all-in on the Metaverse. If developers achieve their technological goals, the Metaverse will reshape life as we know it.