Metaverse is a digital reality that combines aspects of social media, online gaming, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and cryptocurrency to interact with users. Augmented reality overlays visuals, sounds, and other sensory inputs in real-world environments to enhance the user experience. While virtual reality is completely virtual and enhances fictional reality. Science fiction writer Neal Stephenson coined the term metaverse in his 1992 novel Snow Crash. In the book, human avatars and software agents interact in a three-dimensional virtual space.
How does Metaverse work?
The exact definition of a metaverse can be difficult to define due to its depth, but most technology experts agree that a metaverse is a large network where individuals can interact socially and professionally through their avatars, invest money, and learn to buy, work and travel in 3D virtual reality.
As the metaverse grows, it can create online spaces where user interactions are far greater than current technology can support. Simply put, metaverse will allow users to go beyond viewing digital content, metaverse users can immerse themselves in the space where the digital and physical worlds meet.
The Metaverse will give us a plethora of three-dimensional (3D) visuals and even two-dimensional (2D) experiences that we are currently unable to enjoy. Inbound and outbound discovery systems continue to exist in the Metaverse ecology. When people are actively hunting for information, this is known as inbound discovery. Meanwhile, outbound marketing refers to sending communications to people regardless of whether they requested it.
Creators of earlier incarnations of the Internet needed some programming knowledge to design and build tools. However, web application development without coding is now possible thanks to web application frameworks. As a result, the number of web developers is expanding rapidly.
Spatial computing refers to technology that combines VR and AR. Microsoft’s HoloLens is an excellent example of what this technology can do. Even if you haven’t gotten your hands on a Hololens yet, think of Instagram’s face filters as an example of spatial computing.
Developers can take advantage of online capabilities through a scalable ecosystem enabled by distributed computing and microservices. Additionally, smart contracts and blockchain enable the creators of their data and products.
Users can get information about their surroundings, use maps, and even create shared AR experiences simply by looking into the physical world using a combination of spatial computing and a human interface.
Technological infrastructure is necessary for the existence of other layers. This includes 5G and 6G computing to reduce network congestion and improve network bandwidth.
Meta and Metaverse
In July 2021, Mark Zuckerberg spoke with journalist Casey Newton about the metaverse and the changes he foresees for Facebook. Then, in mid-October 2021, rumors of a new Facebook brand — complete with a new name — began to circulate to embrace the company’s commitment to the metaverse. Unnamed sources told The Verge that an announcement could come soon. And it happened.
Meta has been talking about the metaverse for some time, announcing in a press release on October 17, 2021, that the metaverse is “a new phase of connected virtual experiences with technologies such as virtual and augmented reality. At its heart is the idea that through creating a greater sense of “virtual presence ” socializing online can come close to the experience of socializing in person. Interest in the metaverse is expected to grow exponentially as investors and companies become part of what could be the next big thing. Metaverse is going to be a big focus of [Facebook] and I think it’s going to be a big part of the next chapter of how the internet is going to evolve towards the mobile internet,” Zuckerberg told the tech site.
The Verge before announcing the name change. “And I think this is also another big chapter for our company, doubling down on that area.”
Proponents of the metaverse see this concept as the next stage in the evolution of the Internet. For example, Meta has invested heavily in AR and VR, developing hardware such as the Oculus VR headset, while AR glasses and wristband technologies are in the works. Zuckerberg, who believes AR glasses will one day be like smartphones, told The Verge that in the coming year Facebook will “effectively move from people seeing us as a social media company to a metaverse company.”
Many science fiction books, TV shows, and movies take place in metaverses—digital worlds that are indistinguishable from the real world. These sci-fi meta-versions are often dystopian worlds. Some of Zuckerberg’s contemporaries fear that the true metaverse — the “next generation Internet” — will be a dystopian nightmare. Niantic is a software developer best known for the augmented reality mobile games Ingress and Pokémon Go.
For example, Niantic CEO John Hanke wrote in a blog post: “A lot of people these days seem very interested in bringing this vision of a near-future virtual world to life, including some of the biggest names in technology and gaming. But these novels serve . .. if warnings about a dystopian future of technology go wrong.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated interest in metaverse as more people work from home and attend school remotely. Of course, there are concerns that the metaverse will make it easier for people to spend their time differently — even in a post-Covid world. Hanke writes, “We believe we can use technology to anchor the ‘reality’ of augmented reality—encouraging everyone, including ourselves, to get up, go outside, and connect with the people and world around us…Technology should be used for improvement. – not to replace – these basic human experiences.”
Metaverse and Cryptocurrency
Metaverse and cryptocurrency seem to be concepts that go hand in hand – a virtual world and virtual money to spend there. Both are integral parts of what today is called “web 3” – the third generation of the Internet, after web1 – the world wide web and web2 – social media. The idea is that this version of the web is more experiential and engaging, using virtual reality and augmented reality (VR/AR) to create immersive 3D environments.
Traditional cash transactions (known by crypto enthusiasts as “fiats” because their value is probably based on government decisions) are banks and regulations that act as custodians, intermediaries, and clearinghouses. Requires extensive authority infrastructure. Cryptocurrency transactions, in contrast, usually require only software that runs on a standard computer.
As digital currencies have become the primary medium of exchange for people buying and selling in the Metaverse, users have become more comfortable buying, managing, and storing digital currencies. This means that it is also widely used outside the Metaverse. Traditional currencies (all) are often costly, for example, when sending money to friends and family, especially when the money involves crossing borders.
What are the Challenges of the Metaverse?
Users’ knowledge, emotions, and behavior can be influenced by key technologies that enable multiple metaverses. The high cost of equipment is an obstacle to the widespread adoption of metaverse technologies, which should be overcome in the future.
Morality, physical well-being, health and safety, psychology, ethics, and data privacy are the four risk areas associated with AR. On a physical level, users’ attention distracted by location-based AR applications leads to dangerous accidents. Information overload is a psychological problem to avoid. Unauthorized addition and distortion of preconceived notions are moral problems. Collecting and sharing data with third parties poses the risk with the most serious privacy implications.
In addition, Metaverse actors may be hired to collect user biometric psychology based on user emotion data, which may be used to make unintended behavioral assumptions and increase algorithmic biases. Nausea, motion sickness, and dizziness are among the most commonly reported health problems associated with virtual reality. Due to the weight of VR headsets, the strain on the head and neck is a limitation during prolonged use. Social isolation and withdrawal from real activities combined with health issues is also a challenge that prevents mainstream adoption of the Metaverse.
What does the future of the Metaverse look like?
Shortly, the metaverse is expected to consolidate all the isolated immersive virtual ecosystems and unite them into a unified whole. The result is a vast, all-inclusive metaverse that can be accessed using a browser (like the Internet, which offers various websites).
For example, a user working in a virtual office can hold a Mixed Reality meeting with an Oculus VR headset and enjoy a blockchain-powered game after work. Users can manage their finances and portfolios within the same meta version. Metaverse goes beyond social media platforms and virtual games. Meta-versions are expected to become more multi-dimensional in the future through the use of VR glasses and headsets. With the help of these VR gadgets, users can explore 3D spaces around physical spaces in reality. Metaverses have the potential to facilitate decentralized governance, create the digital identity of the individual, remote worker workstations, and more.
Metaverse is a collective, virtual, open space developed by a combination of practically enhanced digital and physical reality, known for offering experiences to users. Although this concept is in its infancy and still has a long way to go to achieve stability, it has great potential to completely disrupt the AR/VR experience. Many big players including Facebook are investing heavily and working continuously to make this concept a success in the coming years. The metaverse is expected to offer decentralized, consistent, interoperable, and collaborative business opportunities and models that will help companies take the digital business to unprecedented heights.
Frequently Asked Questions
What exactly is the Metaverse?
Meta defines a metaverse as “a set of virtual spaces where you can create and explore with other people who are not in the same physical space as you.” Although the metaverse technology is still a few years away from being fully realized, we hope that it will eventually be a place where you can work, play, learn, create, shop, and hang out with friends in one virtual online environment.
What is the difference between AR and VR?
Augmented reality involves overlaying visuals, sounds, and other sensory stimuli in a real-world environment to enhance the user experience. AR can be accessed using a smartphone and users can control their presence in the real world. In comparison, virtual reality is completely virtual and enhances fictional realities. VR requires a headset and users are controlled by the system.
Do Meta own Metaverse?
The Metaverse doesn’t have a single creator (or definition), so it’s not something Meta owns or is solely responsible for developing. However, Meta has already invested heavily in the meta version through Oculus VR headsets and is working on AR glasses and wristband technologies. 6 In September 2021, the company announced a $50 million investment in global research and program partners to ensure the responsible development of metaverse technology.
How can I invest in Metaverse?
There are many ways you can invest in the metaverse. You can buy and invest in cryptocurrency, you can invest in companies that are active in the metaverse fields like Meta and Niantic, or you can invest in an exchange-traded fund (ETF) that focuses on gaming and technology companies.