Who knew that a simple game of building blocks would be converted into a mind-bending game of SimCity or Townscape. These innovations are just a sneak peek at what the future holds. Welcome to the world of the Metaverse.
Neal Stephenson was the first to coin the term ‘Metaverse’ in his novel Snow Crash (1992). Where Here was transcending into another reality.
“In the lingo, this imaginary place is known as the Metaverse. Hiro spends a lot of time in the Metaverse.”
The 21st-century world has evolved from this meaning, like Mark Zuckerberg said the word ‘Meta’ in Greek Translates to ‘Beyond’, which is a virtual world environment where people can play, shop and work over the internet. This is a 3D workspace where people can adopt different avatars. The Metaverse uses Blockchain technology, where users can buy virtual land and other digital assets using cryptocurrencies. So what does it entail?
- Mimicking the real world- The Metaverse is a digitally rendered version of the real world, like video games. These Virtual objects are crafted to closely resemble real-world ones.
- Avatar- Here a digital render of one’s appearance is visible in the virtual world.
- Social interaction platform- Where one avatar can approach and start a conversation with another avatar.
- Round the clock availability- There is around the clock availability of this user-generated content.
- Inside out?- The virtual world doesn’t only have elements from the real world but it works the other way around too. For instance, you can access a drone in the virtual world and out there in the reality there would be a real one monitoring the surroundings.
In the current times, scrolling, browsing on the internet has become the most common pass time. All the metaverse developers (Facebook and Microsoft) have one goal that is to help people spend more meaningful time on the internet. By virtually creating content, work, play, shop and performing as many activities online in their 3D Avatars.
Bill Gates is currently supervising the Metaverse project at Microsoft and is confident in predicting that all virtual meetings would take place in the Metaverse with 3D avatars representing people on the digital media. Working on VR Goggles and motion capture gloves to capture a user’s body language, voice and facial expression accurately, Microsoft is bringing the project up to speed in 3 years.
Aspects of Meta already exist in our day to day applications. For instance, Uber has the intelligence to tell you about the nearby availability of cars. Similarly recommends content based on your previously watched genres. Many 3D scanners on your smartphone can give you a 3D visual of a space, like LiDAR.
Having the ‘Matrix’ transform into reality, there is some speculation from actor Keanu Reeves as well. To which he responded, “yeah, because you know it’s content creation… it’s economic creation, cryptocurrency, right?”. This brings us to how the money would move around in such complex cyberspace.
Entrepreneur Carrie Tatsu, started her own venture ‘Second Life’, a game launched in 2003, where users could buy land and spend actual money on in-world customizable clothing on a digital platform. She actively designs avatars (pets), markets them and builds on making accessories for citizens. Soon along with her ex-husband, she opened a physical store, Zooby. A keen observation made by her was that people forge real emotional attachments with their pet avatars, which is a huge shift in thinking from what a digital platform can offer.
With blockchain technology in place, time spent online equates to earning cryptocurrency by the users. In a game of Axie Infinity, which is a popular game in the Philippines, Players can buy, breed and train Pokemon-like creatures. There is an active marketplace that allows players to put them on the market for sale. A player needs to own a minimum of 3 players with the lowest creature priced at 100 dollars. This is a useful way for users to earn some money online while playing a game they enjoy.
The broader vision one would have for the Metaverse would be the measure of accessibility, emotional and cognitive connectivity taking human innovation to new heights. From getting married in the Metaverse to H&M opening up their stores on the platform, there has been a huge leap in digital connectivity.
Like Neil Armstrong once said, ‘That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.’
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