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What is Metaverse?- Rationale behind corporates' shift towards metaverse.

by Hardik Katariya Founder & CEO

The metaverse fanfare started in 2021 and continues to be a hot topic in the socio-technical community. Facebook initiated the big move to the metaverse by rebranding to Meta. Technology giants believe the metaverse will be the future of the internet. What is Metaverse? 


Metaverse can be considered as the next iteration of the internet that combines diverse technologies. People create their 3-D avatars for virtual activities. But the obvious question - Is it like a video game or an advanced version of animation?


No!! The parallel virtual world is beyond your imagination. Here is the answer to the questions that pop up in your mind.


Metaverse


Metaverse is a futuristic term for technology. Meta- 'beyond' verse- 'universe' means a world beyond the universe. Essentially, it is a virtual world where users can create virtual twins, have parties, attend meetings, take virtual tours, buy and sell goods, and recreate the exact version of the natural world virtually.


Metaverse combines virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and the Internet of Things to create an interactive virtual environment. Gizmos like VR headsets, smart glass, and specifically designed software will help us partake in the metaverse.


For instance, instead of sitting and attending a Google meet, you will use VR headsets, and your avatars will heed the session virtually in the metaverse. Rather than texting in a chatbox, your avatar can sit with digital twins of your friends and chit-chat.



As of now, individuals are conducting parties and concerts virtually using the metaverse. Though it does not yet have a standard or exact realization, tech companies are working towards it. Gaming platforms such as Fortnite, Sandbox, Second Life, and social gathering platforms like "Gather.town" are endeavoring to bring metaverse elements into real life.


A narrative behind the metaverse 


Metaverse is not something that mushroomed just a while ago. The concept has been around us since 1992. Neal Stephenson used the term 'metaverse' in his cyber-thriller novel 'Snow Crash.'


Snow crash illustrated the metaverse as a 3-D virtual space that can be accessed using personal terminals and virtual reality glass. Somewhere similar to the meta quest and other VR equipment.


Looking further into history, in 1984, William Gibson wrote in his book Neuromancer about 'cyberspace.' Neuromancer and Snowcrash attempted to create a concept where humans can escape the physical world and live in a parallel virtual world by using the internet and essential hardware.


In 2003, Roblox, a gaming company, made it possible for users to develop, share, and play games with others. It was just a stimulus for a new era in the gaming industry.


Decentraland, an Ethereum based blockchain project, came up with a virtual reality world in 2014. The multiplayer game 'Fortnite' introduced the concept of virtual concerts and tours in 2016.


The fire of the metaverse ignited when Microsoft released 'Mesh,' a virtual platform for collaboration across multiple devices. Metaverse drew enormous public attention when the Facebook parent company rebranded to Meta in 2021.


Mark Zuckerberg's early entry


Metaverse entered the mainstream when Facebook was renamed, Meta. Until then, it was a gamers and technocrats topic. Zuckerberg revealed that the metaverse would be at the forefront of digital technology in the future. When a technophile like Facebook's CEO joined the revolution, the metaverse deliberations became heated.


Facebook has got an explanation behind the rebranding decision. The Meta team (formerly known as Facebook) says, 'Metaverse is the forthcoming social media evolution. So they like to bring the metaverse into people's lives. The team has changed the name of the brand to reflect their commitments to the metaverse.


Meta ( Facebook) has invested around $150 million in AR/VR training and developments of Metaverse technologies. Meta promotes Oculus VR headsets, smart glasses, and other accessories required for the metaverse experience.


Meta conducts conferences and workshops to bring AR and VR developers together to achieve rapid growth towards the metaverse vision. Meta's Horizon Home is a social platform that enables developers to create and connect in the metaverse.



The corporate move to the metaverse 


Apart from Facebook, Microsoft, Roblox, Epic Games, Minecraft, and various corporations took their first steps into the metaverse. They anticipate capturing the first-mover advantage in the metaverse space.


Microsoft launched 'Mesh' for Microsoft teams, connecting the real and digital world via mixed reality. Mesh facilitates people to communicate with a holographic presence to attend meetings, discuss, chat, and share documents. The holographic experience and other Microsoft tools enhance productivity in remote working.


Roblox is a pioneer in the gaming industry. The CEO of Roblox tweeted recently that the company is one step away from fulfilling its metaverse mission. Vans, a skateboarding shoe company, has partnered with Roblox to create a virtual skateboarding park. The park has cloth shops, and players can buy clothes from virtual shops to dress up freshly.


Epic Games has developed advanced gaming experiences such as 'Unreal Engine 4' that lifted the gaming industry closer to the metaverse. Short term goal of the company is to create a Metaverse platform where users can interact with each other. The release of 'Digital Human,' a metahuman creator, is an effort towards the metaverse goal.


Nike, a top footwear brand, created a virtual store for Nike sneakers. The company partnered with Roblex to build 'Nikeland.' Customers can purchase virtual Nike sneakers from 'Nikeland .' 


Moreover, Digital Drip is Nike's online cloth shelf that permits users to buy Nike's exclusive virtual cloth designs. The company desires to connect with the young generation through Roblox.


NVIDIA, a global manufacturer of processors and mobile technologies, launched its 'NVIDIA Omniverse platform.' It is an open platform for virtual collaboration. Designers and engineers can collect development tools assets and unite in virtual space. Besides, NVIDIA authorizes engineers to sell products and microservices on the Omniverse's modular platform.


McDonald announced the company is planning to serve virtual customers through the metaverse. McD will open restaurant chains in virtual space with online delivery to customer dwellings in the metaverse. Shoppers can place an order in virtual outlets, burgers and sandwiches will come to their homes.





Metaverse Projects in crypto space


Crypto projects drive close to the metaverse using virtual gaming assets and non-fungible tokens (NFT). In addition to that, virtual real estate is also booming in the crypto space. 


The ease of cryptocurrency transactions and blockchain interoperability make crypto projects ideal for the metaverse. Additionally, digital proof of ownership, digital collectibles, and governance mechanisms make crypto projects closer to the metaverse. Here are some of the metaverse initiatives in the crypto space.


DECENTRALAND is an online virtual globe that helps users buy and sell virtual real estate plots. The real estate lots in Decentraland are known as 'LAND.' It is an NFT on Ethereum smart contract. 


Users can buy or rent malls or buildings in Decentraland. The native cryptocurrency of Decentraland is called MANA. Customers can buy and sell Decentraland assets and virtual goods using MANA.


SANDBOX is a decentralized utopia. Sandbox's voxel editor permits users to create 3-D units. Game enthusiasts can develop games with the game maker tool and trade games as NFTs. Sandbox lets users purchase and trade virtual real estate plots. 


The native cryptocurrency of Sandbox is called SAND. Sandbox fanatics who hold SAND can participate in governance mechanisms. Utility tokens are also used to buy and sell virtual plots and games. 



ENGINE leverages the advantages of blockchain to fuel virtual economies. The open-source platforms enable users to purchase digital assets, NFTs, gaming, and trade game assets. ENJ is the native cryptocurrency of Engine. ENJ is used for the payment of services in the Engine network.


STAR ATLAS is another gaming project. The space-themed grand strategy gaming platform is built on the Solana blockchain. Star Atlas enables users to create, play, and sell 3-D games like other gaming projects. 


STAR is the native token of Star Atlas. Services payments in Star Atlas can be performed using STAR. The governance token of Star Atlas is known as POLIS. Users can take part in the voting mechanism with POLIS.


The above list is not the end. Apart from this, NAKAMOTO, BLOKTOPIA, METAHERO, WAX, and ThetaNetwork are other growing metaverse projects in the crypto space.


Metaverse big deals


Microsoft has recently announced its decision to acquire Activision Blizzard. The company tweeted that Activision Blizzard will be joining Microsoft's Xbox soon. It is a $68.7 billion cash deal that combines games like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft with Xbox.


In Nov 2021, Metaverse Group, a subsidiary of Tokens.com, acquired 116 parcels of the estate in the Fashion Street district within Decentraland. It was a deal of 618000 MANA, approximately $2.43 million market value at the time. 


Republic Realm bought a virtual land in Sandbox for $4.3 million. The deal was a record-breaking deal in digital land sales. According to Sandbox, it was the largest deal of Sandbox virtual real estate till that time. 


Axie Infinity, an NFT powered gaming company, sold their virtual plot for $2.43 million. Total sales of virtual real estate recorded millions of dollars in 2021. Experts in the field also envision the same kind of growth in the virtual real estate space in 2022.


Future of the Metaverse


Metaverse is poised to empower the digital world. Market share of the metaverse has been witnessing rapid growth since 2020. Research conducted by 'Market research future' reported that the metaverse is anticipated to reach 41.7 CAGR by 2030. 


Metaverse evolving with entertainment and social media. Cryptocurrency metaverse projects bolster the shift. Together they are gaining worldwide acceptance. Notably, the scope is not limited to social media, entertainment, or gaming. 


The metaverse will support developments in the economy, finance, and decentralized governance systems in the future. Tech-savvy anticipates that the metaverse will become a part of life within five or six years.


The developments are too fast. On the other side, skepticism persists in metaverse security concerns. China has already warned it will have a close watch and strict regulatory mechanism on metaverse developments. China revealed its fears of security when Baidu broke launched 'Xi Rang' China's first metaverse move.


Furthermore, the cost of metaverse accessories like VR headsets, health concerns of using headsets and computers for a long time, and resistance to accepting the virtual world remain barriers to mainstream adoption.


Analysts worldwide worry that investors are not always accurate in buying decisions for virtual goods. According to them, the skyrocketing price of virtual real estate and the metaverse hype can create a bubble in the future. It is just the spirit of the virtual world and uncertainties about future demand. 


Round-Up


The corporate world is embracing metaverse initiatives. Venture capital firms are pouring money into metaverse projects. Hence early investments in the metaverse can get a good return in the future.


Nevertheless, we cannot expect a united metaverse immediately because executions remain confusing for the common herd. But the metaverse will drive the digital economy in the future, like how we deal with the internet today. 


The internet is now a part of our daily life. We search, chat, conduct meetings using headsets. But when Google was introduced, it created curiosity and confusion among the public.


Similarly, we will shift to the next iteration of the internet in the future. From different development points, the metaverse will gradually interconnect. The world is waiting for that Metaverse Era.


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About Hardik Katariya Junior   Founder & CEO

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Joined APSense since, April 6th, 2022, From Gujarat, India.

Created on Apr 13th 2022 01:35. Viewed 341 times.

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