METAVERSE 101 -An Absolute Guide
The term metaverse was coined in Neal Stephenson’s science fiction novel Snow Crash in 1992. Here humans were presented as programmable avatars that interact with each other and software agents in a three-dimensional virtual space that uses the inscriptions and ideas of the real world. Neal Stephenson used the term to describe a virtual reality-based successor to the internet.
Neal Stephenson’s metaverse appears to its users as an urban environment developed along a 100-meter-wide road, called the Street, which spans the entire 65,536 km (216 km) circumference of a featureless, black, perfectly spherical planet. The virtual real estate is owned by the Global Multimedia Protocol Group, a fictional part of the real Association for Computing Machinery, and is available to be bought and buildings developed thereupon.
Users of the metaverse access it through personal terminals that project a high-quality virtual reality display onto goggles worn by the user, or from grainy black and white public terminals in booths. The users experience it from a first-person perspective.
Within the metaverse, individual users appear as avatars of any form, with the sole restriction of height, “to prevent people from walking around a mile high”. Transport within the metaverse is limited to analogues of reality by foot or vehicle, such as the monorail that runs the entire length of the Street, stopping at 256 Express Ports, located evenly at 256 km intervals, and Local Ports, one kilometre apart.
Also, in 2011, Ready Player One was released. It is a dystopian science fiction franchise created by Ernest Cline and it depicts a shared VR landscape called “The OASIS”. The first novel was released in 2011, with a 2018 film adaptation, and the second novel in 2020. The franchise depicts the year 2045 as being gripped by an energy crisis and global warming, causing widespread social problems and economic stagnation. The primary escape for people is a shared VR landscape called “The OASIS” which is accessed with a VR headset and wired gloves. The OASIS functions both as a massively multiplayer online role-playing game and as a virtual society.
In recent times, technology has evolved and given people the power to connect and express themselves more naturally.
What is the Metaverse?
The metaverse is a sort of virtual or digital space where individuals can interact with one another or with another environment or world without being there physically. It is a combination of virtual reality, mixed reality, augmented reality, blockchain technology, and so on.
In simple terms, the metaverse is a virtual reality world. Where you can interact with people, objects, environment. All just like playing a game inside a computer. You can also own things in the metaverse, for instance, you can own different digital assets, NFTs and even a plot of land upon which you can build one.
Components of the metaverse
- Artificial intelligence (AI)
Virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR) are developing technologies to infuse virtual worlds with a 3D experience. Virtual reality technology leverages software that teleports users to a virtual world.
It is a metaverse component with simulation and modelling features supporting 3D interaction with the environment. Virtual reality generates a virtual environment via gloves, sensors, and VR headsets.
It blends fictional visual elements into digital world creation and, in the future, will give its users physical simulations via VR technology and equipment. To illustrate this point, video games that leverage VR gives their gamers an immersive perspective of the action via headsets such as the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift.
VR headset use in gaming brought in $22.9 billion in revenue in 2020. However, the VR market will cross $209.2 billion as the VR device demand grows due to applications in virtual worlds, the military, sport, education, fashion, and medical sectors.
On the other hand, augmented reality utilises smart devices to augment real-world experiences. For example, it places 3D images onto a digital device’s screen, making it appear as if that digital object is in the same space as its observer.
Tech firms such as Microsoft and Google are creating 3D communication technology that turns users into life-size holograms. Google’s Project Starline, for instance, allows its users to enjoy life-size 3D hologram face-to-face chats.
Columbia Ship Management Ltd, on the other hand, had its CEO Mark O, Neil appear in the 3D form at a Manila conference. The firm wants to use AR technology in its remote worker training process.
- 3D reconstruction.
Virtual, mixed and augmented reality tools will require 3D content. To this end, 3D content creation tools are metaverse components that support extended reality. Some examples of 3D reconstruction platforms are Unity Software and the Unreal Engine.
- Internet of Everything (IoE)
The Metaverse can only function via device connectivity. The Internet of Everything (IoE) connects data, people, devices and processes via private or public networks. I will feed the metaverse with data and support relevant interactions between users.
As an illustration, in the Meta announcement video, a user turns on a TV by gesturing at it. Internet of Everything (IoE) can lower device reliance on virtual assistants and voice commands.
- Blockchain Technology
In its future form, the metaverse could consist of open, interconnected and decentralised virtual worlds, each with its native functioning economy. Furthermore, blockchain technology will support secure and private value transfer.
It will also support immutable data storage and payment rails that allow free flow of value in a borderless space via digital currency. Distributed ledger technology will also provide the provenance of digital assets and identity via non-fungible token technology. Digital avatars are currently the hottest selling NFT class, generating over $16 billion in sales or 46% of the NFT market’s sales volume in 2021.
Examples of Metaverse
There is no example of a big metaverse at the moment. Different companies, especially game studios, are claiming that they created a metaverse.
- Meta Horizon Worlds — Facebook launched a virtual meeting room environment which can be accessed via the company-owned Oculus VR headsets and the Horizon Worlds. It allows interacting with peers in virtual meeting rooms with your own avatar but in future, it should be also the basis for more offerings coming from Oculus and Meta.
- Microsoft Mesh Platform — Microsoft is also pushing into the mixed and extended reality space (XR). Therefore, they are trying to launch mixed-reality elements into Teams in 2022. This should allow avatars and holograms to be at events, and meetings and even use in future for retail experiences and gaming.
- Roblox — Roblox started as a gaming world where you can create your own games as a user and give others access to them. After the IPO, they are pushing more towards creating their own metaverse. Teaming up with brands like Vans and Gucci, they now also offer exclusive assents to buy for your virtual self.
- Minecraft — Over 140 million users are regularly playing the Lego-like game world Minecraft. The company was bought from Microsoft where players create their characters, creation of unlimited virtual worlds on their own incl. digital assets and more.
- Second Life — Already founded in 2003 it was one of the first virtual realities where the player could create an own identity in a virtual world. After many years of development, Second Life is also now expanding with its own marketplaces, digital assets and more.
How to get started in the metaverse
Getting started in the Metaverse is not as difficult as people would normally think. All you need do is to:
- First, identify the product or metaverse you would like to interact with
- Identify how to interact with it, ie, if it requires a headset or just connecting through a website
- And then provide the needful information needed to get you started.
It is worthy to note that for metaverses built on the blockchain, what it mostly requires is for you to connect with your wallet address. This means, that you do not need to expose your identity, except in cases where you chose to.
Why big tech companies are investing in the metaverse
Well, the reasons why big tech companies are investing heavily in the Metaverse are simple. They are investing in it because it is the future and goal of global technology and will certainly alter the way we have lived our lives until now. Take for instance
Metaverse is the next real deal in global technology. Every tech company that wants to survive is embracing this reality. Those who ignore this future will all surely become obsolete and be pushed out of existence. Only a matter of time. Metaverse, when completely launched, is going to bring a new trend and new possibilities into our world.
What’s your take on the metaverse?