The internet is an overwhelmingly interesting place. Something somewhere is always trending. Nowadays, buzzwords like Blockchain, Web 3.0 apps, and NFT are swarming every corner of the internet. Among these one of the hottest buzzwords is, What is Metaverse?.
Mark Zuckerberg when announced the rebranding of his company Facebook to Meta, he also showed a glimpse of his envisioned Facebook Metaverse. Since that day, everyone has been wondering the same thing, i.e.
what the heck is Metaverse? And how do I get to experience it? Can I download it from the App Store? Can I invest in Metaverse? What are the benefits of Metaverse? And many other questions that are as hard as a nut.
Hence, for putting all these questions to rest once and for all, I have compiled this blog that comprises everything you need to know about Metaverse. By the end, you will either have all your answers or have more questions than you do now. I am not sure, so read on at your own risk.
Table of Content
- 1 So, What is Metaverse?
- 2 Is Metaverse an Immersive Video Game with Extra Steps?
- 3 How does Metaverse Work?
- 4 What Companies are working on Metaverse?
- 5 What are the Metaverse use cases and applications?
- 6 Future of Metaverse or Metaverse of the Future?
So, What is Metaverse?
The word Metaverse was first coined by a famous author, Neal Stephenson in his sci-fi novel, Snow Crash, in 1992. In this novel, Neal described the Metaverse as a convergence of both physical and digital lives.
It’s fascinating how Neal gave us hints of Metaverse about 30 years ago, while we are still trying to scratch the surface of the topic.
To clear the picture, Metaverse is an immersive internet that can be accessed via virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and extended reality (XR) hardware devices. Imagine, you could put on a VR headset and get immersed in a completely digitally developed world.
You can make friends, host a virtual party, attend a concert by your favorite artist, and can do much more, without leaving the comfort of your home. And you can explore this world with your avatar that you can completely customize according to your taste.
However, some experts say that Metaverse is not limited to VR, AR, and XR headsets. A vast population of the modern world is carrying around smartphones in their pockets that hold processing power similar to personal computers.
Therefore, a good amount of people will use Metaverse via their smartphones and get metaverse benefits too. No doubt accessing Metaverse via smartphone would take a heavy toll on the immersive experience of this virtual world. To explore Metaverse technology in its true glory, one must use VR, AR, and XR headsets.
The hardware dependency could form some unexpected challenges for the development of Metaverse. People tend to use emerging technology and get used to it because of its simplicity and availability.
Therefore, to make Metaverse more accessible to the users, businesses need to increase the development and supply of these new hardware devices that could make Metaverse a general talk of the town.
Hence, it’s a lucrative opportunity for hardware manufacturing businesses to innovate and develop modern AR, VR, and XR devices that can satisfy all the needs of the upcoming Metaverse revolution.
The same thing goes for software developers around the globe. Metaverse is a growing revolution in the world of technology and like the internet, it may attract many controversies and concerns, but sooner or later it is going to be a new norm in the world.
Just like social media websites and e-commerce platforms have a part of our everyday lives, it’s about time we will be spending our significant time in the digital world of Metaverse.
Is Metaverse an Immersive Video Game with Extra Steps?
That would be an oversimplification. But what about the time when Lil Nas X organized his concert on Roblox during a lockdown? And what about that time when children celebrated their birthday parties on the battle royale game Fortnite?
Or you can pick the example of the game Second Life where players could build homes, form relationships, take showers, and hang out together. In these games, players use digital currencies to buy virtual stuff, they have their avatars and can customize these avatars however they fancy and build virtual cities and palaces and whatnot.
Metaverse, in its true sense, is going to be an integral part of our daily lives. Work collaborations, meetings, investments, digital currencies, entertainment, social life, interactive education, and many more things are going to be a part of Metaverse.
Imagine, you put on a VR headset while sitting on your comfy sofa and you’re taking your class from medical college. And your digital avatar is sitting in a virtual class. You can interact with your friends via their digital avatar. The class doesn’t have to be a normal one, it could be in the middle of space. Sounds cool, right?
In its entirety, Metaverse isn’t gaming, but gaming could be a part of Metaverse. If you have played any of mentioned games, then you’ve experienced how’s the Metaverse going to be.
How does Metaverse Work?
We don’t know yet how metaverse works. Because it doesn’t exist right now. So, is that a distant dreamlike flying car we’ll keep wishing for? No, not like that. We have discussed that contemporary video games are a very good example of the Metaverse.
So, Metaverse for businesses is a quite possible and relatively attainable dream as compared to the dream of a flying car. Since it’s still being developed by companies like Meta (formerly Facebook), Microsoft, Roblox, etc., till then, let’s explore its possible ways of operations.
Someone somewhere said that Metaverse is going to be a 3-D version of the internet. This surprisingly sums up the entire Metaverse industry. The Internet is filled with information, web and mobile applications, media, and games. Metaverse is going to be the same but in 3-D but with much more interactivity.
When you search for the dimensions of the Titanic, you can see it right in front of your eyes with the help of your VR headset. Or let’s search about the rainforests of Amazon. Metaverse is virtually going to take you on a tour of the Amazon rainforests.
The next time Taylor Swifts drops a new album, you can virtually attend it without stepping outside the comfort of your bedroom. That sounds incredible! As good as flying cars? I’ll let you be the judge of that.
Entering the Metaverse is going to be as same as signing in to your online multiplayer online game like GTA V. You sign in to the Metaverse and you’re all in to access and interact with anything you want.
What Companies are working on Metaverse?
If Metaverse turns out to be as promising as it sounds, then all the companies will eventually have to secure their place on this newfound digital land. But as of now, the big tech giants like Meta, Microsoft, Alphabet, Apple, Snap, NVIDIA, etc. are investing heavy funds in their new ventures of Metaverse development.
Of course, every company is working on its style and category of Metaverse. But together, they are going to create an entire world of Metaverse.
Let’s explore the visions of each company and see what they are working on right now.
1. Facebook Meta- Facebook Metaverse
Last year when Mark Zuckerberg introduced the rebranding of his company Facebook to Meta, he also introduced his vision of Metaverse. He also gave us a glimpse of how he sees the Metaverse from his eyes.
Meta wants to create a place where you can hang out with friends, play games, watch movies, live streaming like Twitch, and work. All from just one place.
They call it Horizon Home. Horizon Home is your virtual home in the Facebook Metaverse. Here you can get access to anything. You can create this home however you fancy.
Horizon Home is connected to the Horizon Work as well. This allows you to manage your work and meetings seamlessly within Metaverse.
When Meta acquired the VR headset company Oculus, the company had a distinct vision behind it. This is obvious after the Metaverse announcement of the company. With the help of Oculus, Meta is working on their proprietary VR and AR headset. And with their new teams and billions of dollars of investment, they are working on the development of the universe of Metaverse.
2. Microsoft- Microsoft Metaverse
Before we begin to understand the vision of Microsoft for Metaverse, why don’t we look at the repertoire of the company for the development of the new digital world?
Microsoft closed the deal with a huge video game development company Activision Blizzard for a whopping $75 bn.
The potential of creating 3D worlds is utilized in creating virtual worlds for works and collaboration via Mesh in Microsoft Teams. Microsoft seems to be working in a similar direction in creating their version of Metaverse development where the work could be as exciting as playing photorealistic video games.
Thirdly, Microsoft seems to be working on Web 3.0 as well. To secure the data of Microsoft Metaverse users, Microsoft utilizes the power of Blockchain. They may also create a virtual shopping environment where you could virtually try different clothes and purchase them to receive them physically at your doorsteps. Chances are you could also buy the digital form of your clothing as well to customize your avatar.
This opens countless opportunities for companies and individuals to market their products and services in the Metaverse. People can buy and sell NFTs, use cryptocurrencies to buy virtual and physical items, invest in stocks, and much more.
Just like that, you can keep connecting the dots and you can easily predict the next moves of these big tech companies regarding their vision of Metaverse.
Many experts speculate that Microsoft may have a far better sense of Metaverse than that of Meta. Microsoft is working on a Metaverse that they know about from the beginning of the inception of the company.
They are just bringing it on Metaverse. On the other hand, Meta still needs to develop their suit for work and their studio for gaming. This could be a challenging road ahead for Meta.
The founder and CEO of Snap, Evan Spiegel is rather unimpressed by the idea of Mark Zuckerberg’s Metaverse. He says that Mark’s idea of the metaverse is “ambiguous and hypothetical” as he was demonstrating the new augmented reality features of Snap. The founder further says that he and his team would augment the real world than replace it with a virtual kind.
Evan may not like the term “metaverse” but just like Mark, he is after a venture that revolves around changing how we see the world. Whether it is about replacing the real world or augmenting it, we are on the verge of seeing this world from a whole new perspective. Snap has already started working on AR hardware devices to accomplish its vision.
Snap has distributed its AR spectacles to some creators to use and test. However, these are only the early prototypes of the final product. Evan says another prototype is already under development.
These spectacles are meant to bring computing capabilities on the go. The menu and features can be accessed via a hand gesture and some other cool features promised by the CEO. But that’s not the only hardware they have launched so far.
Whatever happens in the world of tech, everyone wants to know what Apple thinks of it. The same happened Mark Zuckerberg announced the rebranding of Facebook to Meta. Journalists at WWDC asked Tim Cook about their vision of metaverse, to which he replied, that they are “investing accordingly” which is tactful of Tim.
However, for the past couple of years, Apple is emphasizing the increased usage of augmented reality technology. And how around 14,000 apps are available based on ARKit. ARKit is Apple’s framework for augmented reality apps.
Chances are, Tim Cook seems to be on the bandwagon with those who think augmenting the world is far better than replacing it. You guessed it right, I am talking about Evan Spiegel here. As I said, they may not call it metaverse.
But this new AR-based tech is as revolutionary as anything remotely related to Metaverse. Think about it, AR devices like spectacles or headsets like HoloLens are going to be the next big revolution in the world of tech since the launch of the first iPhone. Whatever it is, the future seems exciting.
That Means Multiple Metaverses?
Yes and no. All the companies are indeed developing their versions of the metaverse app. With all the funding they have, they might as well end up building what they are planning.
But it doesn’t mean that they will not be synchronized with each other seamlessly. For example, it’s convenient for us to jump from one website to another if we are looking for something on the internet. Tech experts suggest that the experience is going to be somewhat similar in the case of multiple metaverses. It would be easy for users to jump from Microsoft’s metaverse to Meta’s metaverse.
In addition, even though these companies are building their versions of metaverses, they are still nothing without the support of millions of metaverse developers from around the globe. If you can learn 3-D modeling and how to work on game engines like Unity and Unreal, then you too can develop your metaverse app.
Metaverse app development is the latest market trend right now. Therefore, these companies have started encouraging metaverse mobile app developers to use their frameworks to develop metaverse mobile apps for their platforms.
So, yes there will be multiple metaverses, but they are all in sync with each other, you will hardly notice anything while switching from one to another.
Read Also: – How to Add AR Content to a Website?
What are the Metaverse use cases and applications?
If the buzzword metaverse turns into a reality, then possibly every sector in every corner of the world is going to be affected by it. From retail to marketing, from education to entertainment, everyone has to learn new skills to benefit their business in this new virtual world of the metaverse. Let’s talk about this in detail.
Metaverse in Workplace
Metaverse in work is going to play a vital role as it is going to make it a little more fun and comfortable. The world is turning towards work from home culture, and it needs something that motivates people to work and collaborate with their colleagues on the go.
Metaverse is going to enable workers to connect with their avatars and attend meetings, conferences, and summits. All that without compromising the interactivity of the real world.
Metaverse is planning to make work more seamless than ever before. Real-time connectivity and synchronization allow companies to track live-work progress. The overall productivity and efficiency are going to increase with such an interactive environment.
Microsoft is using AR and VR for making virtual whiteboard meetings more fun and interactive. Accenture has introduced the Nth Floor metaverse project that utilizes AR, VR, and XR to enhance the company’s various operations like virtual events, virtual offices, onboarding new hires, and even learning.
“XR helps our people to go beyond in-person experience to discover the art of the possible and reach new levels of workplace innovation,”
says Jason Warnke, Senior Managing Director – Global IT, Global Digital Experience Lead at Accenture.
Metaverse in Education
I am excited to see how metaverse is going to change the way we learn new things. Learning has always been an interactive activity and when it is combined with personal experience then it can do wonders for the students.
The metaverse in education is going to be an exciting gift to learners. The 3-D world that virtually transports you to the prehistoric era is going to teach the students what their texts book failed to do.
The metaverse in education is going to enable students to use multiple senses to learn new things now. Engineering students will learn with AR headsets to build bridges of different shapes and see how well they can withstand various simulated conditions.
Medical students can learn the process of different surgeries via XR devices that are going to create an entire virtual world around them to learn in the best possible way.
Imagine you can put on a VR headset and take a virtual tour around our solar system. You will learn so many new things with the increased involvement in your learning.
This is going to open many opportunities for metaverse developers to develop educational metaverse apps that can enable students to learn with interactive 3-D models. Maybe developers can teach students to develop their own metaverse apps. Possibilities are countless.
Metaverse in Entertainment
I remember someone saying in a podcast that in a VR-based metaverse, TV is just a hologram. And this TV can be as big as your field of view. If you fancy, you can be sitting in a theatre and enjoy your favorite movie or web series on Netflix.
Virtual Reality offers a completely immersive experience to the viewers and for maximum fun in the movies, this immersion can work like a charm. But this experience isn’t limited to movies or web series only.
Think about your favorite music artists. You can attend their virtual concerts right from your VR headset and feel like being right in the crowds. You can attend even Comic-Con with the help of metaverse.
Can you imagine you are seeing the live vlogs of your favorite celebrities and feel like you’re spending a day with them? Everything can be real in the world of the metaverse. All you need to do is, let your imagination run wild.
Metaverse in Gaming
Sunday morning, you put on your VR headset, and you sign in to play games like God of War or Microsoft Flight Simulator. Can you imagine the fun and thrill of that experience with the metaverse app?
VR headsets come with special remote controllers to help you navigate through the virtual worlds of video games. Metaverse could allow you to play these AAA category games from a whole new perspective that brings immersion to a whole new level.
Games like GTA V are going to become a new social media for video game players. Friends could get together to form a gang to complete different missions. Players can hang out together in the world of GTA with the help of their avatars.
VR headsets have already revolutionized the gaming industry and players are loving the complete immersion in the games. Therefore, game app development companies are converting event decade-old games into VR-compatible games. Skyrim is one of those games.
You can simply imagine how the experience is going to be in a VR headset while playing games like Call of Duty, Forza Horizon, and Minecraft. Think about it for a minute and you will know how exciting it could be.
But that’s not it. While games could be new social hubs, they can also be a great place for marketing and advertisement in the metaverse.
The virtual store can help players to buy virtual clothes for their avatars as well as the same clothing for themselves in the real world. The transactions could be done by in-game currency or cryptocurrencies through Blockchain technology to ensure safety.
Metaverse in e-Commerce
Metaverse is going to drastically change how we interact with retail and online stores. Metaverse will allow customers to browse the best clothes to wear and try them on their photorealistic avatar and make a purchase by various supported payment methods. With the help of Customers will get the same firsthand personal experience as the physical store but right from the comfort of their homes.
They can buy and sell NFT on the metaverse. The metaverse marketplace is going to be more diverse than the physical market. It is going to open many more marketing opportunities for sellers and merchants. It would be fascinating to see the real market evolve into a virtual one.
Mobile App Development in Metaverse
Mark Zuckerberg has called the entire metaverse a new face of mobile internet. Mobile internet is useless without mobile apps. Not necessarily the smartphone mobile apps but mobile apps are the ones that help a digital ecosystem achieve its potential.
The rise of the metaverse is attracting metaverse app developers and metaverse app development companies from around the globe to speculate on new ways to introduce their metaverse-compatible creations to the world.
Metaverse is heavily dependent on VR, AR, and XR technologies. No matter what company makes the first fully-fledged metaverse, this is going to open numerous opportunities for developers of all kinds.
Especially 3-D game developers are going to be in demand as they are the ones who can develop metaverse apps of that caliber that can truly match the aesthetics and functionalities of the metaverse.
If you have the right knowledge of mobile app development and are familiar with the frameworks like Apple’s ARKit, then you too can start developing your metaverse app. If you are developing for Microsoft metaverse then look for their respective frameworks to work with.
And if you want to develop something that people love to use then you will have to study the unique use cases of the metaverse.
You need to understand real-life areas that can use the upgrade of enhanced interactivity and then convert it into a metaverse mobile app. For example, you could develop an educational mobile app that helps students to learn about different flora and fauna with the help of 3-D models. Or anything that can take the excitement to a new level.
Future of Metaverse or Metaverse of the Future?
To tell the truth, the metaverse doesn’t exist right now. One day Mark Zuckerberg shared his vision and suddenly everyone is trying to make a dent in the metaverse. What sets metaverse apart from flying cars is its practicality.
The problem with metaverse is, that it’s a visionary dream, therefore, it’s a fairly complicated dream. Meta invested around $10 bn in the R&D of their new venture of the metaverse. Mark himself admitted that it may take metaverse development 5 years or a decade from now to come into the shape we have expected so far.
Thankfully, complicated doesn’t mean impossible.
Whether it is a VR metaverse as Mark suggests or an AR or XR revolution as the CEO of Snap and CEO of Apple suggest, the metaverse is going to disrupt the world sooner or later. See what happened with cryptocurrency.
People were skeptical about it, now almost everyone has a crypto investment. Similarly, people are skeptical about NFTs, still the market of NFTs s flourishing like never before. People always take something new in technology with a bit of skepticism. And later on, it becomes a norm.
I expect a similar thing is going to happen with the metaverse. We don’t have it yet. We are just talking about it, still, it is attracting many controversies. At this point, I am not sure what is the future of this future-changing technology.
Let’s hope for the best and start developing our metaverse apps before it’s already a cluttered market.