Metaverse is an existing crypto-reality that is just now transforming into the one for today. For two years, the world has played a guessing game about what's on the other side of dot.com. In 1999, some people predicted a "new future" of TV everywhere and wireless computing.
Can we soon see a metaverse of our own? A new realm where we can exist, chat, share and interact with each other and not just with our screens?
These sections will give an idea of what Metaverse is and what the future entails about it.
What is Metaverse?
The Metaverse, according to Wikipedia, is a hypothetical version of the Internet that supports persistent online 3-D virtual environments thereby, using traditional personal computing as well as virtual and augmented reality headgear.
Metaverses are already existent in some form on platforms such as virtual reality (VR) chat or video games like “Second Life”.
The Metaverse is a digital reality that combines social media, online gaming, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and cryptocurrencies so as to allow users to interact virtually. Current metaverse goals include overcoming technology limits with modern virtual and augmented reality devices also, increasing metaverse applications to include business, education, and retail.
Entertainment and social media corporations have invested heavily in metaverse research and development however, the Metaverse has been criticized as a way of public relations building based on existing technology that is simply theoretical and "over-hyped”.
Information privacy and user addiction are two issues that have arisen in the Metaverse due to current troubles in the social media and video game industries.
Elements Of the Metaverse
The Metaverse is a method of creating immersive digital settings for a variety of human activities also, some metaverse iterations require the integration of virtual and physical spaces and virtual economies to accomplish this.
To further build a sense of presence in a realistic setting, other attributes include:
- Digital persistence and synchrony.
- Implementing existing social media aspects like avatar identity.
- Content creation.
- Social acceptability.
A little about the History of Metaverse
In his 1992 novel Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson notably created the word "metaverse”, which referred to a 3D virtual environment populated by avatars of real people.
You can find Metaverse-like systems in various other science fiction genres (some of them predating Snow Crash) however, alongside Ernest Cline's 2011 novel Ready Player One, Stephenson's book remains one of the most famous references among metaverse fans.
Several metaverse technologies have already been implemented in modern internet video games such as Second Life, a 2003 computer game that merged several characteristics of social media into a persistent virtual world. Generally referred to be the first Metaverse. Many massively multiplayer online games include social features as a standard feature. For example, Clive Thompson, a technology journalist, claims that Minecraft's emergent, social-based gameplay is an advanced version of the Metaverse.
Other games known to form a metaverse include Active Worlds, Roblox, Decentraland, Fortnite, and a few early MUD games. As such, metaverse work has frequently focused on improving virtual reality technologies. So, this is because of the benefits of building immersion in virtual worlds.
Facebook Horizon, a social VR realm, was introduced in 2019 by the social media firm Facebook. In 2021, Facebook would be called "Meta Platforms." Mark Zuckerberg, the business's chairman, stated that the corporation dedicates time to developing a metaverse ecosystem. Much of the underlying virtual reality technology touted by Meta Platforms is still in development. Microsoft bought AltspaceVR, a virtual reality business, in 2017 and plans to integrate metaverse capabilities into Microsoft Teams. Let's take a look at the historical journey of Metaverse:
1991 – Birth of the Internet
Tim Berners-Lee published the first public request for collaboration on the WorldWideWeb on August 6, 1991. As a result, the technology launched the Internet on this date.
1992 – Snow Crash:
In his 1992 novel Snow Crash, science fiction writer Neal Stephenson developed the term "metaverse". In this fiction, humans interact with each other and software agents as avatars. All of these happen in a three-dimensional virtual reality using the metaphor of the actual world.
1993 – Proof of Work
The word and concept initially were used to describe a method of preventing email spamming in the realm of computer security. Later, proof work, namely - cyber currency mining based on computer power – became one of the fundamental approaches for confirming and legitimizing transactions on a blockchain.
1998 – B-Money
Wei Dei, a computer engineer, unveiled his concept for b-money, a distributed, decentralized cryptocurrency. Although it never materialized, several ideas are strikingly similar to those found in Bitcoin, which surfaced years later.
The usage of Proof of Stake, an alternate mining process that relies on the developer's existing cryptocurrency holdings rather than sheer computational power, was one of the elements.
2002 – Digital Twins
At a Society of Manufacturing Engineers conference in 2002, Michael Grieves, then of the University of Michigan. He officially unveiled the concept and paradigm of the digital twin - the digital equivalent of a physical thing. Grieves presented the digital twin as the conceptual model that underpins product lifecycle management.
2003 – Second Life
Second Life is an online virtual environment created by Linden Lab's Philip Rosedale and his crew in 2003. It was a forerunner to the Metaverse worlds constructed now.
Low bandwidths and long "res" times were two of the most significant issues Second Life users faced, making it a less-than-ideal experience. Even now, Second Life boasts a million active users who spend an average of nearly four hours every day in this virtual environment.
2006 – Roblox
This online platform launched thereby, allowing users to create and play games created by others. It became an essential source of interaction for young people during the 2020 pandemic. Also, it was the year's third-highest-grossing game.
2009 – Bitcoin
On January 3, 2009, Satoshi Nakamoto launched the bitcoin network. Its mystery founder, Satoshi Nakamoto, mined the genesis block (block number 0), which earned a reward of 50 bitcoins.
In addition to inventing Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto also created Blockchain, which serves as Bitcoin's public transaction record. Although others claim to have invented the idea of Blockchain before Bitcoin. Satoshi Nakamoto formed a useable version of Blockchain the same day he launched Bitcoin.
2010 – Play-to-Earn Technology
Gacha games, based on the capsule toy vending machine concept, had become popular in Japan by the early 2010s. Also, the oldest known system in MapleStory.
Players would earn currency used to enter a random draw from a set of things depending on pre-determined rarities. Mainly to collect a whole collection of items or obtain a powerful in-game prize.
2011 – Ready Player One
Technology introduced many young people to the concept of a virtual reality world through Ernest Cline's novel. The 2018 Steven Spielberg adaptation heightened the idea's realism and heightened curiosity.
2012 – NFTs
A Non-Fungible Token, or "Nifty," represents a unique thing rather than fungible tokens, interchangeable, such as cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
The notion of NFTs has been around since the launch of "Colored Coins" in December 2012, in which additional information is inserted into a bitcoin to make it non-fungible but unique.
Surprisingly, this was a project spearheaded by a teenage Vitalik Buterin as he worked on Bitcoin blockchain enhancements.
Learn more about NFT here: Non-Fungible Token: 4 Success Drivers for NFT Marketplaces.
2014 – Vitalik Buterin
In 1999, The Thiel Fellowship by Peter Thiel's Confinity and Elon Musk's X.com joined to establish PayPal. Three years later, eBay paid $1.5 billion for PayPal, making Musk and Thiel extremely wealthy.
2015 – Ethereum
In 2010, Peter Thiel launched the Thiel Fellowship, which would provide $100,000 fellowships to students under the age of 22 who wanted to quit school and seek other opportunities.
Vitalik Buterin, the co-creator of Ethereum, was one of the beneficiaries of this grant in 2014. He and Gavin Wood established the Ethereum Network and the Ethereum blockchain in July of 2015.
2015 – Decentraland
In 2015, technology released the initial version of this virtual reality platform. It used a proof-of-work algorithm to assign "land." As a result, some of the game's real estate plots sold for over $100,000 due to the 2021 NFT boom.
2015 – Smart Contracts
Nick Szabo coined the term "smart contracts" in the early 1990s to describe "a set of promises, stated in digital form. Also including procedures within which the parties fulfil on these promises."
The phrase "smart contract" has been more specifically applied to the concept of general-purpose computation. Thereby, occurring on a blockchain or distributed ledger since the debut of the Ethereum blockchain in 2015.
2016 – Pokémon GO
The first game to overlay a virtual world onto the real world was Pokémon Go, which makes use of GPS-enabled mobile devices to identify, capture, train, and virtual battle animals. The device is known as Pokémon, and it appears to be in the player's real-world location.
2016 – The DAO – Decentralized Autonomous Organizations
A crowdfunded token sale, which established the record for the most extensive crowdfunding campaign ever, founded the DAO in May 2016
It was supposed to be a decentralized alternative venture capital fund built on Ethereum's Blockchain. But, unfortunately, users exploited a flaw in The DAO programming in June 2016. Thereby, allowing them to siphon off one-third of the DAO's cash into a subsidiary account. The DAO as a firm died as a result of this.
However, the concept of decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) continues, with the lessons acquired from The DAO experience significantly improving it. In the future, each DAO will be an essential component of future metaverse firms that are governed collectively by their members. With rules and financial transactions recorded on the Blockchain. The campaign built DAOs around joint ownership of NFTs, for example.
2017 – Fortnite
This multiplayer video game was a great hit when it first came out. It exposed a lot of people to the Metaverse and Bitcoin. As a result, Fortnite has a 350 million user base.
2018 – Dai Stablecoin
Technology created Dai Stablecoin to bring stability to the volatile cryptocurrency world. The controlled Dai Stablecoin connects to the US dollar, significantly less volatile and more trustworthy.
Today, various comparison sites offer blockchain-based financial services for cryptocurrency borrowing, lending, and investment. However, for the time being, they're primarily uncontrolled by our old institutions, and users appear to be content with that.
2018 – Decentralized Exchanges (DEX)
Bancor suffered a significant public relations blow after losing $13.5 million to hackers in a cyber money exchange. Nevertheless, DEXes continue to serve as a mechanism for users to sell and trade their cyber currency assets person to person. Rather than through a centralized exchange, despite their legal/regulatory footing being a little shaky.
2018 – Axie Infinity
This year saw the release of Axie Infinity. Axie is a popular NFT virtual reality game based on a fantastical world of animal husbandry. It had the most significant total value of NFTs of all play-to-earn game platforms by mid-2021.
2020 – COVID
When COVID first appeared on the scene in 2020, individuals worldwide were confined, with few options for spending their time and energy. As a result, the Metaverse swiftly became the preferred destination for an increasing number of young people, gamers, and those looking to make money online.
The Metaverse has taken on a tone of defiance toward existing institutions in our polarised society. As such, the more entrenched they are, the more vulnerable they are. This act drives people to the Metaverse's underground economies and worlds, creating a "perfect storm" for Metaverse expansion.
2020 – Decentralized Apps (Dapps)
The combined value of the six major blockchain networks' tokens has topped $2 billion. As open-source, transparent programs arise to enable gaming, DEXes, Defi, and other acronymized purposes. The trend to cut out the middlemen continues. While many people think of apps as a new trend, the first app was the Bitcoin app released over a decade ago.
2020 – First Concert in the Metaverse
Travis Scott and Marshmello played for slightly under 30 million people in the computer game Fortnite in April 2020.
2020 – Solana
Technology also launched the Solana blockchain app in April. This app's cryptocurrency, known as an SOL, is mined using the alternate proof of stake (POS) algorithm rather than Ethereum's.
In addition, with a new consensus technique known as "proof of history,", which inserts timestamps into its Blockchain, concerns connected to block ownership were addressed and simplified in Solana.
2020 – Alien Worlds
This massively popular software included NFT characters. Thereby interacting in a decentralized autonomous organization to mine tokens and complete other chores in a multi-metaverse interplanetary scenario.
Alien Worlds had over 2.5 million users by 2021, but its value extends beyond that. The game centres around essential lessons for teaching people about cryptocurrencies and crypto-mining principles.
What is Virtual Reality (VR)?
Virtual reality is the use of computer technology to create a simulated environment (VR). Virtual reality, in contrast to traditional user interfaces, immerses the user in an experience.
Near-real VR experiences are limited only by the availability of content and low-cost processing power. The most likely way to enter the Metaverse is through a virtual environment. However, the Metaverse's reliance on virtual reality technology limits its development and widespread adoption.
The lack of high-quality graphics and a lack of mobility are two limitations resulting from the cost-design balance. In addition, the image quality of lightweight wireless headsets is inferior to that of bulky, wired VR goggle systems.
The cost of the HTC Vive Pro 2 headgear, which will cost US$799 plus controllers in 2021, is another barrier to widespread adoption of the technology.
Many high-end computers cannot power virtual reality machines. According to NVIDIA, 99 per cent of PCs on the market in 2016 were unable to handle the software required for a satisfactory virtual reality experience.
South Korea declared the formation of a national metaverse alliance in 2021. In order to create a single national VR and AR platform.
More improved sensors are required to make AR and VR movements more precise. Also, to enable visual overlays more accurate with higher image quality. In addition, visual anchoring, movement tracking, and motion following must all be handled at scale to achieve these breakthroughs.
The broad acceptance of VR is mainly dependent on sophisticated sensors that can accurately estimate depth while using minimal battery power. All in a portable and affordable model that has yet to be mass-produced.
How Metaverse differs from what we know as VR?
Most people think of VR when they hear about the Metaverse. They think of a fully immersive digital environment accessed by eye goggles that transport users to a virtual fantasy world. Although this isn't wrong, the Metaverse is so much more than virtual reality.
Instead, think of VR as a technology that provides an access point to the Metaverse. VR has made some impressive advances in recent years, but it's a long way off from mainstream adoption.
Within the VR tech space, exciting progress is commencing, and worldbuilding continues to advance. Games like Valve's recently released Half-Life: Alyx will lead to massive mainstream adoption of the technology.
But VR certainly isn't the only access point to the Metaverse.
Metaverse Opportunities for Enterprise Businesses
1. Sponsorship of events and concerts:
Travis Scott, a famous rap artist, recently performed in Fortnite. Massive Attack headlined a Minecraft-hosted music festival.
Companies will have many chances for potentially valuable sponsorships as more events and concerts will be hosted in the Metaverse.
2. Digital-only products:
In the digital world, there are numerous options for product development.
From cool clothes and outfits to homes, vehicles, and other things we can't even envision right now. Pretty much whatever people have in the actual world maybe something they want to acquire for the Metaverse.
3. Remote work:
From coworking spaces to meetings to simulations and training, the business will progressively shift into the Metaverse. Workrooms on Facebook Horizon seek to compete with Zoom, by providing workers with new methods to collaborate online in virtual reality venues.
Games have traditionally served as the foundation for metaverse ambitions. Check out some of the top virtual reality games available right now to get ideas for your business.
5. Process manufacturing:
Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's largest brewer, uses metaverse applications to improve its operations dramatically. They used Azure Digital Twins to build a complete digital representation of their brewery and supply chain that syncs with the actual environment in real-time. Brewmasters can use the model to fine-tune the brewing process and undertake quality control. Click here to watch a helpful video that explains the digital twin procedure.
How can we Enjoy and Use this Technology?
A planned addition to existing internet technology is the Metaverse. General-purpose computers and smartphones, as well as augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR), virtual reality (VR), and virtual world technologies, provide access to the Metaverse.
There is considerable interest in developing metaverse technology for improvements in work productivity.
Metaverse technologies proposed to allow for more concentrated and interactive learning environments for history and human geography.
Virtual reality has been in use for a long time. However, in-home tours, the real estate industry, and metaverse development could broaden that purpose.
The Development of the Metaverse for Online Retail is Attracting a lot of attention.
The Metaverse may amplify the social effects of online echo chambers and technologically alienated settings.
In addition, because metaverse technologies may make it possible to tailor virtual worlds based on each person's opinions algorithmically, the Metaverse may use biased content to skew
further users' perceptions of reality to maintain or boost engagement.
Statistically, alienating the human personality and digitizing the human experience has increased the alienation of interpersonal human relationships.
Individual users appear in the Metaverse as avatars of any shape or size, except height, "to prevent people from wandering around a mile high."
Transportation within the Metaverse is limited to analogues of reality, such as the monorail that traverses the length of the Street, stopping at 256 Express Ports spaced evenly at 256 km intervals, and Local Ports spaced one kilometre apart.
The Metaverse, unlike a lot of other topics covered on The Verge, is difficult to explain for one reason: it doesn't always exist. It's half a vision for the Internet's future, half a clever technique to capture some present trends in online infrastructures, such as the rise of real-time 3D worlds.
Now let's have some fun. Will you be using augmented reality glasses to check your Facebook feed while playing Fortnite? Will you be invited to a cyber-brunch rather than a traditional brunch by your friends? Then, it's time to get in and see what's going on.
Can today's Smartphones Handle the Metaverse?
Without ultrafast, low-latency Internet, the Metaverse would never attain its full potential — millions of people accessing and living in the virtual world from anywhere, at any time.
Consider the online environment Second Life, which debuted before smartphones became popular and quickly lost favour due to its inability to deliver real-time, on-the-go communication.
Today's fourth-generation (4G) connections can support multiplayer apps like Fortnite but can't handle hundreds of concurrent streams of time-sensitive data.
The more reason why cell operators worldwide are investing billions of dollars in developing 5G networks. Unfortunately, they may need as much as 6G to go even further. The same is true at home and work, where larger screens consume more bandwidth and fibre optic connections installed directly into premises are preferred.
To the Future
Vlad Panchenko, the founder and CEO of DMarket, a marketplace and technology for creating virtual worlds, believes that as the virtual economy rises in prominence, the Metaverse will expand to incorporate many cross-chain possibilities.
"Many brands are heading towards the metaverse intuitively or on purpose," Panchenko argues, "building a global economy on pace to outperform the existing one many times over." "There will be no choice but to participate. You will not be able to exist as a business if you do not do so."
As places merge to form a metaverse, businesses will have unprecedented potential to provide awe-inspiring experiences for their customers and improve their business processes and preserve a competitive edge.
Over the last few years, the Metaverse has seen an astonishing evolution of numerous enabling technologies and new features. But not as spectacular as it will be after 2021. In fact, with the growing Metaverse, few if any parts of society will remain unchanged in the future, including government, commerce, churches, entertainment, dating, politics, and even war. As a result, it will significantly impact how we educate ourselves and our children in the coming years.
As we continue to create new connected devices, the Metaverse will become increasingly accessible to the world. IoT and 5G mobile network infrastructure are receiving significant investment and will grow over the next decade.
It would be unwise to look into a crystal ball and predict what will result from this investment. It is clear, though, that the parallel universe that is the Metaverse will become increasingly integrated with our physical lives.