Welcome to the Metaverse.
We have all dreamt of an era where our virtual lives play as important a role as our physical realities. That era is “NOW!”
Since Mark Zuckerberg announced his vision of turning Facebook into a Metaverse company, the real hype around Metaverse has seen an uptick. Companies such as Epic Games, Microsoft, and others have announced plans to enter the Metaversal space that has become a massive deal across industries.
“We’re in a world where people several times a day send out images reflecting themselves,” said Matthew Ball, a venture capitalist who has written extensively about the Metaverse. “The next phase takes that visual representation and dimensionalizes it. Finally, you go into an environment and express yourself through an avatar.”
So, what is the Metaverse?
It is a platform or virtual space where we interact, work, and play with our friends and colleagues using our digital avatars. In theory, this is not very new for the gaming industry. We have all heard of PUBG, Fortnite, and many other games where players are represented through digital avatars, communicate with each other and even buy accessories for their avatars.
Most companies are making the Metaverse “platform agnostic.” The idea is to make it available on any device (preferably high-end, to handle heavy graphics). VR headsets and AR glasses will play a vital role in Metaverse’s success. They are the drivers to give users a fantastic experience and 100% immersion (taking the users into a different world).
Is the Metaverse just about VR headsets and smart glasses? It is beyond that. It’s an attempt to redefine our entire relationship with the internet – from virtual communities to digital content ownership. It snakes into gaming, cryptocurrency, NFTs, teleconferencing software, and 3D scanning.
Experts believe that this is only the start of something big.
The pandemic accelerated the adoption of various technologies. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people were forced to spend even more of their lives online – from socializing to working, from education to entertainment. This shift to an online world is here to stay.
In addition, there are attempts to create a unified Enterprise Metaverse. What is an Enterprise Metaverse, you may ask? The next generation of Metaverse consists of linked 3D virtual spaces forming a ‘Virtual Universe.’ It is believed that the development of an Enterprise Metaverse would be prioritized over that of the 3D world for gaming. Standardization would make intercompany meetings more possible for business uses such as training and conferences. Proponents say this could be a way of adding more of a “just like being there” quality to virtual meetings than is possible with standard Zoom-style video meetings.
All this is not just a theory but is backed by statistics. For example, during the pandemic, Roblox, an online gaming platform and a game creation system, has gained popularity. According to Backlinko, Roblox amassed around 190 million average monthly players in 2021. As for daily users, the average was 43.2 million, an increase of roughly 20 million, compared to the first quarter of 2020.
1. Nike launched Nikeland on Roblox
2. Forever 21 has partnered with Roblox
1. Microsoft has introduced Mesh as part of its annual event Ignite 2021 and recently announced its move to acquire Activision, the creator of ‘Call of Duty.’
2. Meta has launched “Horizon worlds.”
3. Virtual office spaces in the Metaverse are gaining popularity – many companies like SoWork, Spatial, Virbela are already popular in this space
1. Sony has announced PlayStation VR2 at CES 2022
2. Epic Games has announced its two-prong Metaverse strategy – around the Fortnite game and capitalized on content-creation tools like the Unreal Engine
Besides these, many other industries are also trying to enter the Metaversal space.
Let’s now understand the Metaverse Ecosystem, from the experiences that people seek out to the technologies that make it possible:
The Metaverse combines modern technological trends under one interconnected ecosystem. It is similar to how the internet is the core for services, gaming, communication, monetization, and entertainment.
There’s more to come this year. Apple plans to unveil its version of a virtual reality headset. Meta (formerly Facebook) is working on two significant projects – Project Nazara (True Augmented Reality glasses) and Project Cambria (a new Virtual Reality headset, successor of Oculus Quest 2). Once this hardware is made available to the public, it will only be a short while before we see everyone hooked to their devices, just as we are to our smartphones today.
Will the Metaverse, as a concept, will break the barriers of physical and virtual worlds in the coming days? We strongly believe so. At ValueLabs, we are doing some exciting work in this space for some of our customers, so stay tuned to know more.
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