What Is Metaverse? Understanding Its Present and the Future

what is metaverse
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Metaverse is echoing everywhere, and after the initiative taken by the social guru Facebook to rename its company to Meta, understanding what is metaverse has become more important than ever. And so, we are here to help you get an insight into this important element of the virtual world.

The metaverse is a network of 3-D virtual worlds where people can mingle, conduct business, do shopping, and create social connections through their virtual ‘avatars’. It is something like the virtual reality version of the internet.

In light of the progress that is anticipated through this new term, Zuckerberg and his company changed the name of Facebook to Meta with the intention to escort in the metaverse. In his recent founder’s letter, Zuckerberg highlighted that this was done in regard to be seen as a metaverse company, and hence the name change was done in October 2021.

It is also important to note that Gartner recently stated metaverse as one of the top five emerging trends and technologies for 2022. According to Forbes, the spending on VR/AR, the metaverse’s foundation technologies, is expected to reach $72.8 billion in 2024. And for this reason, industries like gaming, retail, arts, healthcare, and blockchain are finding means to position themselves in this emerging virtual sphere.

What is Metaverse – the story of its origin

What is Metaverse

To understand what is Metaverse, it is important to take a look at some of the historical milestones that have led to where we are now. If you are an 80s kid and a Neal Stephenson fan, the chances are that you have heard this word earlier. And if you are that 21st-century youngster, then also you can be a claimant as this is the new buzzword. Coming back to history, the author used the word metaverse in his novel named Snow Crash, released in 1992, and projected realistic avatars who met in virtual environments. And now we are also moving in this direction.

At present, many developments have been made towards the actual metaverse. The time is quite near when you will have a hyper-real alternative world to coexist in.

The Metaverse’s Picture in The Present

Have you wondered that you have already stepped into the metaverse?  Traces of this trend are already found in games like Fortnite, Minecraft, and Roblox. Startups like Sandbox, Decentraland, Somnium Space, and Upland are in the limelight nowadays. Also, NFTs are gaining traction due to their potential to grow with the metaverse.

Metaverse aims to overlap the digital and physical environments to enhance socialization, wealth, entertainment, productivity, etc. but aren’t we already there without the headset. To get a further glimpse, let’s take the example of Uber, which tells you the car’s distance through the location data. Now, consider the suggestions that Netflix gives you based on your preferences. Well, the trends are evolving, and there will be a time when this ecology will be enjoyed everywhere.

Now let’s look at some of the trends in metaverse which indicate its importance in the current times:

Characteristics of Metaverse

Since metaverse is still in its initial stages, it is important to understand some of its traits to get a clearer picture.

Characteristics of Metaverse
  • Infrastructure: A strong infrastructure is required for seamless experiences in the metaverse. The key components that make the infrastructure are Wi-Fi, cloud computing, 5G, and GPUs.
  • Human interface technologies: The interface is an important ingredient in transferring the humans into the metaverse. The gears that can be used involve VR headsets, haptics, AR glasses, etc.  Many improvements are expected to enhance these technologies for better interaction and transition into the virtual environment.
  • Avatars: This is the focal point of the metaverse design. The digital avatars give users the autonomy to share their feeling and expressions and create a virtual presence as per their liking and specifications. The current number of internet users is around 5 billion, and when such a huge population will create its digital version, the experience will be beyond perfection.
  • Decentralization, virtual experiences, and persistence: With metaverse, users will be able to create their own assets and experiences and trade them without any centralized authorities. Metaverse is a promise to bring physical and digital experiences under one umbrella. Another key trait of the metaverse is persistence, where it will exist at all times, just like the real world, without dependency on the VR headsets and any plugs.
  • Security: Where metaverse is gaining recognition, the cybersecurity arena is too, and so the protocols of security cannot be overlooked in this ecosystem. The metaverse prioritizes security features defining privacy and ethical standards. However, since every other company wants to hop onto the bandwagon, additional security practices for data and privacy need to be put in place.
  • Value addition: You might be wondering that the games are fun to try out, but what’s the value this landscape will provide to the users?  In the longer run, the digital assets and experiences of the metaverse can be owned and traded in the digital marketplaces.

So Are We Already There?

Again the question is the same: has the metaverse arrived? Have we moved from the beta versions to the mega metaverse already? As per Mark Zuckerberg’s estimation, we could land in there by the end of the decade. But since things are already taking shape, we can adapt this form earlier too. Also, the gears are ready. Meta is the owner of Oculus, the VR headset producer. It is believed that Apple will release its own AR and VR headsets in 2022. Moreover, Microsoft’s HoloLens is another commendable invention that is used to simulate a virtual environment.

It is also worth noting that NFTs are the perfect example of the use of blockchain to verify the ownership of digital assets where 3D virtual reality platforms are already making use of them.

And let’s address the most important question too- who will own the metaverse? Well, the answer is the same as the question: who owns the internet? No one. There will be players in the space who will be leading the game, and many other new ones will enter it over time to get ahead of the big giants which include Microsoft, Roblox, Meta, etc.

The bottom line

With this, you might have gotten a better insight into what is metaverse and has it arrived? The future of metaverse is definitely promising, and major companies are planning their moves accordingly. The name changing of Facebook has already created ripples, and soon there will be a time when metaverse will take over the major chunk, and people will be boasting about their digital avatars and the assets they would make through this space.

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