Understanding Metaverse: What does the future hold?

Apr 6, 2022 |
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The technology world is growing every day, virtual realities have become a well-known phenomenon and the metaverse is now a super-trending buzzword. But what actually is this metaverse and how is it going to impact our future selves? These are the questions we will explore in this article today.

What is the Metaverse?

Metaverse can be described as a single, universal and virtual world that is facilitated by the use of virtual and augmented reality headsets. Simply put, it is an online space where you can create a virtual representation of yourself and direct it to socialize, work and play within that space or universe.

One of the very first examples of a metaverse is the virtual life simulator game called Second Life that was released in 2003. In fact, video games are the most popular use case of this metaverse concept. Some well-known examples might be Roblox and Fortnite where you can create a virtual representation of yourself and accomplish the tasks associated with the game’s objectives the way you please.

What is the History behind Metaverse?

Much like Web3 as we discussed here, metaverse also is quite a vague concept which shapes based on the intentions of its user. From the above discussion, it is quite obvious that the concept of metaverse is not even a new idea. In fact, the term was coined in a 1992 novel named Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson where it referred to a virtual world where users wore VR goggles and chose their avatars to buy and sell virtual real-estate.

But despite it being around for a while, metaverse was recently popularized from Matthew Ball’s extensive writings on the concept as well as Mark Zuckerberg’s renaming his company as Meta. Ball has described metaverse as sort of a successor state to the mobile internet. And Meta follows the similar concept as well.

Why has the Metaverse Become Popular Now?

In the past few years, metaverse has truly occupied the front burner of tech industries worldwide. And reasonably so. The concept has always been an intriguing one. But in 1992, when Neal Stephenson wrote his novel, virtual reality was not quite real. But in today’s world, VR and AR have matured and decent quality VR headsets have become commercially available.

And the growth of blockchain technology further incentivizes the implementation of metaverse. As NFTs have become popular among several demographics of people, the idea of owning virtual items within the metaverse solidifies. Because using the NFT system, owning virtual items is much more credible and coherent.

Another contributing factor to the popularity of metaverse is probably the lifestyle change during the COVID-19 pandemic. Professionals have spent long hours on video calls during the past couple of years. And many have taken to video gaming as a form of entertainment and escape during lockdowns and quarantines. Naturally, tech companies have started to notice the market demand and focus on designing cheering and life-like virtual environments.

How will Metaverse Affect our Future?

This question will definitely bring you multiple answers that are very different and interesting. For instance, Microsoft thinks metaverse should not be one unified and centralized virtual world and rather be many metaverse platforms. They see metaverse as a collection of communities and individual identities that are accessible on all devices. On the other hand, Ball and Zuckerberg are envisioning an all-encompassing metaverse that will be the next step from mobile internet as mentioned before.

Metaverse is predicted to impact many aspects of our lives, for example.

  • Entertainment. Metaverse will not only impact our gaming experience, but also how we enjoy sports and music. In the future, we may be able to put on VR goggles and find ourselves in the middle of a football field.
  • Shopping. We have already seen a significant impact of metaverse on this front. Many brands are implementing AR to let customers try out products within their own environment virtually before making a purchase.
  • Privacy. The metaverse can empower humans in maintaining a new way of anonymity.
  • Training and Education. From traveling through different times and places in history class to experimenting in virtual labs – metaverse can revolutionize all stages of education.
  • Healthcare. Surgical training is an important and obvious use of the metaverse. But there are more. One can even do guided exercises with augmented reality staying right in their living room.
  • Traveling. Be it taking a completely virtual trip to Rio de Janeiro or getting help from an augmented tour guide while on the trip, metaverse definitely can change the way we approach traveling.
  • Creativity. Metaverse can be used to create digital replicas of an object to see how it will look in real life. Quite revolutionary for engineers, entrepreneurs and creators who want to create or design something new.
As you can see, the metaverse has the potential to impact many walks of our lives. However, if you are thinking of retiring to live in a metaverse, you will need to hold that thought for a while. Even though the concept has matured, the technology still needs time – especially if it is to align with Ball and Zuckerberg’s vision of the next internet.

One of the biggest struggles to make this concept of metaverse come true is the interoperability, meaning our ability to seamlessly take our avatar from one device, one platform or one video game to another. This is a vital need for the metaverse to be built and used and there are technical difficulties along with legal and commercial challenges to make it happen. But with time and effort, the technology world is hoping to overcome these challenges and introduce a new virtual world!

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