Have you ever imagined a parallel universe where you can decide your identity, build your world, and do normal activities such as working and interacting with each other just like living in the Avatar movie?
With the thrive of digitization, the world is getting closer to this science-fiction idea. The combination of virtual reality, augmented reality, and blockchain technology can lead us to a 3D virtual realm via computers and smart devices.
This is known as the Metaverse - The next iteration of the Internet.
Metaverse is a compound word with two components: Meta (Greek prefix meaning after or beyond) and the universe. Its basic definition is “a fully immersive virtual world where people gather to socialize, play, and work.” It is a simulated environment that combines augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), blockchain, and social media principles to create a user experience like in the real world.
It became a buzzword in mid-October 2021 when Mark Zuckerberg announced the Facebook rebranding to Meta and unveiled his vision of building a connected virtual world. However, it originated back in 1992 when Neil Stephenson came up with the term “Metaverse” in his science-fiction novel Snow Crash.
Metaverse is still in its revolution, and we do not know how to describe it clearly. However, we can identify the core attributes. According to Matthew Ball - CEO of Epyllion, there are several key elements to Metaverse:
It does not end and cannot be paused or reset. The Metaverse is a shared space for millions or billions of people, so it needs to continue indefinitely.
Even though there will be re-scheduled events, the time in the Metaverse should not be different from real life to create a realistic experience for users.
To truly be a Metaverse, everybody must be able to access the virtual world. Without this condition, the network cannot be a shared space for all activities in real life.
Individuals and businesses can buy, sell, invest, and work to produce value that is recognized by others.
The experience in this virtual world can span from the digital to the physical world. For instance, the report that you wrote on your virtual notebook in Metaverse will appear on your actual laptop.
The digital items that you own in one Metaverse could also be used in another Metaverse, although they might not identical to the features and from the other world. For example, your CounterStrike gun skin could also be used to decorate a gun in Fortnite or be gifted to a friend through Facebook.
Using blockchain technology, people can create their virtual property and truly own them. Users will be in charge of the decision of how to use their assets in the Metaverse.
The Metaverse cannot appear immediately overnight but slowly emerge as different products and services. However, its success should depend on:
The Metaverse will require a plethora of new technologies, protocols, innovations, and discoveries to work. At a basic level, the infrastructure must be able to let a large number of people (over millions) participate in a synchronous experience. If a Metaverse is put into practice, it will need an innovative infrastructure that gives a different experience from the Internet that we are having at the moment. Not only the infrastructure, but will also require a broader, more complex, and more resilient set of standards and protocols as well.
However, with the proliferation of technology trends, there is a high potential to accelerate the pathways to Metaverse adoption. Blockchain, VR, and 5G technology are likely to be the center of Metaverse, creating a new era for the Internet user.
Metaverse should be a platform that has been filled up with content and things to consume by users. In other words, just like building a new town, it ought to fulfill the existing needs of people such as commercial or entertainment needs. To do so, it is essential that a Metaverse is built and innovated based on the ongoing wants of users.
In its full vision, the Metaverse is the gateway to better users' experience of a new online community and the next great workplace station. Tech giants including Amazon, Meta, and Microsoft are investing heavily in creating their universe to lead the race of technology. According to a Metaverse report from McKinsey & Company, more than $120 billion has been invested in building out metaverse technology and infrastructure in the first 5 months of 2022, which is double the investment in 2021 ($57 billion).
Not only companies around the world are taking interest in the concept, but also consumers are gradually adopting this term. A survey on more than 3400 consumers of McKinsey & Company shows that two-thirds are excited about the transition of everyday activities to a virtual world. Nearly 60% of consumers prefer at least one activity in the immersive world, and 79% of consumers active in the metaverse have made a purchase.
Metaverse is still in its initial stage, and its development remains unclear. However, one sure thing is that the emergence of it is inevitable and the world is continuously seeking a path to get closer to this concept. With the potential power that it is holding, we might witness the next disruptive revolution of the Internet that will reform the way humans see the world soon.
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