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Metaverse — the one big thing everyone has been talking about. Metaverse is rightly the new craze of the world.
To hear tech CEOs like Mark Zuckerberg or Satya Nadella talk about it, the metaverse is the future of the internet. Or it’s a video game. Or maybe it’s a deeply uncomfortable, worse version of Zoom? It’s hard to say. To a certain extent, talking about what “the metaverse” means is a bit like discussing what “the internet” meant in the 1970s.
Nevertheless, it’s the word of the hour – ’metaverse’ – but what does it actually mean? Will the metaverse change the way we live, work, and socialize – or is it all hype?
So, what is the Metaverse exactly?
With Mark Zuckerberg’s big announcement that the name of the Facebook parent company has changed to Meta, it’s clear the tech giant intends to pursue metaverse opportunities aggressively.
The metaverse supposedly has the potential to revolutionize the way we do business, visit friends, shop, and network, but it doesn’t fully exist yet beyond a theoretical concept.
In an attempt to help you get a sense of how vague and complex the term “the metaverse” can be, here’s a fun game to try:
Mentally replace the phrase “the metaverse” in a sentence with “cyberspace.” 90% of the time, the meaning won’t substantially change. That’s because the term doesn’t really refer to any one specific type of technology, but rather a broad shift in how we interact with technology. And the term itself may eventually become just as antiquated, even as the specific technology it once described becomes commonplace.
Without giving you any more headaches, the Metaverse is a digital space represented by digital representations of people, places, and things. In other words, it’s a “digital world” with real people represented by digital objects.
In a more technical sense, the metaverse combines aspects of social media, online gaming, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and cryptocurrencies to allow users to interact virtually. Augmented reality overlays visual elements, sound, and other sensory input onto real-world settings to enhance the user experience. In contrast, virtual reality is entirely virtual and enhances fictional realities.
As the metaverse grows, it will create online spaces where user interactions are more multidimensional than current technology supports. Instead of just viewing digital content, users in the metaverse will be able to immerse themselves in a space where the digital and physical worlds converge.
Kinda scary…eh? Maybe. Maybe not.
Metaverse: Bringing people together! But How?
Speaking in a broader sense, the tech that makes up the metaverse can include virtual reality — characterized by persistent virtual worlds that continue to exist and operate even when you’re not playing — as well as augmented reality that combines aspects of the digital and physical worlds.
However, it doesn’t require that those spaces be exclusively accessed via VR or AR. A virtual world, like aspects of Fortnite that can be accessed through PCs, game consoles, and even phones, could be metaverse, eventually bringing people together.
It also translates to a digital economy, where users can create, buy, and sell goods. And, in the more idealistic visions of the metaverse, it’s interoperable, allowing you to take virtual items like clothes or cars from one platform to another. Right now, most platforms have virtual identities, avatars, and inventories that are tied to just one platform, but a metaverse might allow users to create a persona that can be taken everywhere as easily as you can copy your profile picture from Facebook to Instagram.
Sounds confusing, isn’t it?
Right now, it’s difficult to parse what all this means because currently when you hear explanations like those above, an understandable response is, “Wait, doesn’t this exist already?” World of Warcraft, for example, is a persistent virtual world where players can buy and sell goods. Fortnite has virtual experiences like concerts and an exhibit. You can strap on a headset and be in your virtual home.
Is that really what “the metaverse” means? Just some new kinds of video games?
Well, yes and no. To say that Fortnite is “the metaverse” would be a bit like saying Google is “the internet.” It doesn’t necessarily encompass the entire scope of the metaverse.
However, as it is accurate to say that Google builds a part of the internet, video games like Fortnite contribute to a more interactive section of the metaverse. But again, as we’ve been saying, believe us or not, the metaverse is so much more than just video games!
Recommend Read: BLOCKCHAIN AND METAVERSE
What’s the Metaverse Like Right Now?
Once a niche concept beloved by tech enthusiasts, the idea of a centralized virtual world, a “place” parallel to the physical world, has creaked into the mainstream landscape this year. Epitomized by Facebook’s decision in October to rebrand as Meta. Millions of people are spending hours a day in virtual social spaces like Roblox and Fortnite.
Also a part of “the metaverse”, Roblox might be unknown to many over the age of, say, 25, but the 13-year-old platform is booming. Available on most desktop and mobile platforms, it is simultaneously a venue for free games, a creation engine that allows users to generate new activities of their own, and a marketplace to sell those experiences, as well as side products like outfits for a personalized avatar.
Interest in purely digital ownership — and the technology that proponents believe can ensure the security of persistent virtual experiences — has spiked dramatically, with non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and cryptocurrencies making headlines.
PEOPLE KEEP SAYING NFTS ARE PART OF THE METAVERSE. WHY?
That’s something we’ll be discussing in the future. So keep an eye out!
Will the Metaverse replace the Internet?
We don’t know for sure but you never know! And people are certainly talking about it that way! In an interview with The Verge, Mark Zuckerberg described the metaverse as “an embodied internet,” basically an upgraded version of the internet where people can have “different experiences that you couldn’t necessarily do on a 2D app or webpage.”
One of the metaverse’s key benefits is supposed to be “presence” — a sense that you’re physically engaging with places and people instead of watching them through a window. But many pieces seem as likely to supplement the internet as replace it.
A good comparison point might be the mobile internet, which saw a slew of app-based services supplement or even replace traditional websites — but hasn’t made desktop-based options obsolete, either.
So, a better option would be to keep our good old Internet handy with the additional perks of the metaverse, right?
The metaverse may not seem real to some of you right now but neither did the Internet, right? Interest in the metaverse is expected to grow substantially as investors and companies want to be part of what could be the next big thing.
It is an inevitable shift that is going to come into the world, whether we consciously realize it or not. Not just for the younger generations but for humans as a whole. The economy is going to go digital, and social networks are going to get virtual. And as scary or exciting as it may sound, it’s the next big phenomenon!
Stay tuned for our next blog in which we specifically focus on the tie between the metaverse and the blockchain and what it could mean for the community!
ImmuneBytes is a Blockchain smart contract auditing company that employs the industry’s best tools and practices to provide a comprehensive smart contract audit. We have a team of robust and experienced security professionals who are adept at their niches and provide you with quality service. We have worked on 175+ projects spread across the world on different Blockchain frameworks with some of the industry’s top firms and we continue to unfold the decentralized movement.
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