In this beginner guide to the Metaverse, we’ll break down the basics, explain what it is, how to access the Metaverse and join in on the fun.
Imagine a digital playground where you can meet new friends, create amazing things, and experience endless adventures, all from the comfort of your home. We look at the various use cases of Metaverse and what makes it the tech of the future.
So, come along and let’s uncover the wonders of the Metaverse together as we take a look into our digital future.
What is the Metaverse?
The Metaverse, a virtual world blending with our physical reality, unlocks new immersive experiences for users. This exciting concept has taken the technology and virtual reality spheres by storm, with limitless potential applications.
In the Metaverse, users engage with digital objects and others in real time. This virtual realm enables connections beyond geographical boundaries, allowing people to work, play, and socialize in novel ways.
Key to the Metaverse is real-time interaction between users. Attend a virtual concert, explore a digital city, or connect with friends worldwide, all while feeling physically present thanks to virtual reality technology.
From virtual education and training to online shopping and entertainment, the Metaverse offers endless possibilities. Envision attending virtual classrooms or interacting with exhibits in digital art galleries, surpassing physical world limitations.
As the internet’s next evolution, the Metaverse revolutionizes our interactions with technology and each other. Users can create avatars, explore virtual environments, and connect with others in real time. The immersive experiences will only continue to grow as technology advances.
The term “Metaverse” was coined by author Neal Stephenson in his 1992 sci-fi novel Snow Crash. Stephenson referred to the Metaverse as an all-encompassing digital world parallel to the real world.
Use Cases of the Metaverse?
Have you seen the film ‘Ready Player One’? There is a virtual reality entertainment universe called the OASIS. OASIS was a Metaverse game where players could virtually enter and battle with each other for a prize. However, one of the biggest misconceptions about the Metaverse is that it only exists for games like Fortnite or Axie Infinity. But this couldn’t be more wrong, and we will explain why!
Firstly, the Metaverse has the potential to erase our concept of time and space and could also be used for leisure purposes. Imagine you want to experience the Louvre in Paris or Madame Tussauds or want to go to a Coldplay concert happening in Sweden. You will no longer be required to take a flight from your hometown to Sweden to attend the show.
In the Metaverse, you could sit in the front row and take the whole experience of the concert from the comfort of your home. This happened when Travis Scott and Marshmello hosted virtual shows inside Fortnite, and players could attend for free.
Secondly, the Metaverse will revolutionise education. One of the criticisms of online education is that it is suitable for virtual talks and lectures but not optimised for group collaborations, for example, creating a collaborative video or doing science experiments. With developments in the Metaverse, you will be able to take all practical and collaborative learning online.
You could enter a lab inside the Metaverse and perform experiments with your colleagues. You could also make collaborative art like theatre, dance, and music with your friends. There are endless possibilities a full-fledged Metaverse will have in the field of education.
Thirdly, Metaverse is an excellent place for businesses and the corporate world. Imagine never travelling again to attend a conference or a business meeting. Microsoft has already launched Mesh, a virtual reality meeting platform that uses the features of holograms and avatars. Holograms are those translucent portrayals we see in Star Wars when Master Yoda virtually appears for a meeting.
You could walk around, take your seat at the table, and pitch to an audience, except that you will still be at your home. Moreover, you will no longer be required to wear a shirt or apply makeup for your business meetings. Your avatar will look sharp even if you haven’t taken a shower for a week.
Future Potential of Metaverse
According to Grayscale Trust, the Metaverse has the potential to become a 400 billion dollars industry by 2025 and, eventually, 1 trillion dollars.
As mentioned above, Microsoft is already working on the professional side of the Metaverse, and in the future, we might see a virtual reality universe optimised for businesses from Microsoft.
Facebook, its CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that it would transition from a social media company to a Metaverse company in the next five years. As part of this transition, they will be investing 10 billion dollars into developing their Metaverse.
Adidas has acquired a piece of land inside the Sandbox. They have also launched an ‘Into the Metaverse’ collection containing digital collectables as NFTs. And McDonald’s has filed ten trademarks for its virtual restaurants and products.
There is a lot of interest in the Metaverse idea from big corporations, and it is safe to conclude that we will be seeing all of them in some form or shape.
Risks with Metaverse
The Metaverse faces a few potential risks and challenges that it must overcome at all costs to succeed.
The major problem is that there are not enough people inside the Metaverse today, making it an uninteresting experience for current users. For example, currently, only 50 users log on to the Sandbox daily. We will need to see much higher numbers inside these virtual worlds to make it worthwhile for users and investors.
The second problem with the Metaverse is the problem of wearables. To fully experience the Metaverse, you need a VR headset and jacket. For example, with the jacket, you can literally feel a hug from your friend or the intensity of a gunshot piercing through your body. However, making these wearables affordable would be a big challenge, which might restrict access to the masses.
Lastly and most importantly, what happens if tech giants take over the Metaverse? We all know Facebook and Google are data companies. The product they sell on the market is data. If these companies succeed, they will collect highly personal data from our bodies, such as our blood pressure, heart rate, and eyesight.
After analysing these data sets, they will feed us relevant ads, much like what they do today. Imagine finding out through an advertisement that you have level 2 diabetes! This is an apparent evasion of our privacy and would give big tech companies greater power over our lives.
What do you Need to Access the Metaverse?
To access the metaverse, you will need various equipment depending on the platform you choose and the level of immersion you desire. We have put together some of the most common tech equipment you may need to access and the Metaverse. Some of the equipment outlined below can be very expensive, but in time with more demand, the price should drop.
- Virtual Reality Headset: A VR headset, such as Oculus Quest 2, enables you to enter the three-dimensional world and provides an immersive experience. Other headsets include Sony PlayStation VR, Valve Index, and MetaQuest2.
- Augmented Reality Glasses: AR glasses, such as Microsoft HoloLens or Magic Leap, can be used to enhance the virtual reality experience by overlaying digital information in the real world.
- High-End Computer: A powerful PC with a stable internet connection is essential for smooth interaction and high-quality graphics in the metaverse.
- Controllers: Hand-operated controllers are often required for VR headsets to enable interactions.
- Cryptocurrency Wallet: Some metaverse platforms may require a cryptocurrency wallet, like Metamask, for transactions and ownership of virtual assets.
- Haptic Gloves: These accessories, like Haptx Gloves, provide tactile feedback and enhance the sensory experience.
- Various Devices: Depending on the platform, you can access the metaverse using a wide variety of devices, such as Xbox, mobile, tablets, and desktop computers. For instance, Roblox is available on multiple devices.
What can you do in the Metaverse?
The Metaverse offers endless possibilities! You’ll find opportunities to work, play, socialize, and even trade virtual assets, all within an ever-expanding virtual environment.
Embark on a new career path. As the metaverse continues to evolve, so will the job landscape in this virtual space. The Metaverse will likely open up job opportunities that weren’t available previously. These virtual roles could include fashion designers, community managers, software engineers, storytellers, 3D modellers, and event directors.
Indulge your passion for gaming with popular metaverse experiences like Fortnite, Minecraft, and Roblox. These Metaverse games offer thrilling digital events, interactive multiplayer sessions, and even the chance to earn real currency through in-game transactions.
Attend virtual events, ranging from concerts and trade shows to job fairs and graduations, all without leaving your home. The metaverse provides a convenient, limitless space for hosting and attending various events, connecting you with people from all over the world.
Become a virtual entrepreneur by buying and selling digital assets such as art, trading cards, films, music, and even real estate. The metaverse allows you to trade using non-fungible tokens (NFTs), a digital currency that powers the virtual economy.
Whether you’re an artist, a gamer, or simply curious about the digital world, the metaverse will hopefully offer a wide array of activities catering to diverse interests and passions.
There is no doubt that the Metaverse has enormous potential and is the future of the internet. However, what remains to be seen is what shape the Metaverse will take in the future. Are there multiple Metaverses that are interoperable and homogenised like social media platforms today, or is it just one encompassing for everyone? Like Master Yoda says, ‘Difficult to see, always in motion the future is!’.
Let us know in the comments below what you think of Metaverse’s future and how we will see big tech companies like Google and Facebook make their mark on the space.
Do I need VR for the Metaverse?
No, you do not need a VR headset to access the metaverse. Many of today’s metaverse experiences can be accessed using a computer, smartphone, or even a video game console. You can use a keyboard, mouse, touchscreen, or controller to navigate and explore the virtual world.
Is the Metaverse free?
As for the cost, the metaverse is not a single entity but a collection of interconnected virtual worlds and experiences. Some aspects may be free to access, while others may require payment or subscription fees. It will ultimately depend on the specific platform or application you choose to engage with.
Does the Metaverse exist yet?
Yes, the metaverse does exist, although it is still in the early stages of development. Major technology companies, including Apple, Google, Meta Platforms (Facebook) and Microsoft, are actively developing the technologies that will shape the future. These include virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and brain-computer interfaces (BCI).