The Metaverse is the next big tech opportunity — what developers need to know.
The metaverse is the next big thing in technology. Key stakeholders claim it will change the way we work, relax and socialize, and will allow users to fully immerse themselves in an online tailored experience.
This article will explore the metaverse as an opportunity for developers, identifying the key stakeholders, skills, and opportunities this new technology brings.
What is the Metaverse?
The metaverse is the term often used to describe the next phase of the internet. Also known as ‘Web 3.0,’ this iteration of the internet sees users interact with virtually-integrated environments to work, socialize and relax.
Key stakeholders in the tech realm, including Microsoft and Facebook, have already started funnelling money into Web 3 developments. Facebook’s completely rebranded itself as ‘Meta’ and is working to develop a powerful virtual and augmented reality world that end-users can explore using VR headsets.
The technology that powers the metaverse isn’t farfetched — we’re already seeing major elements of Web 3 coming into fruition. The popularity of games like Roblox and Minecraft, the rise of VR and the continued research into artificial intelligence and augmented reality are laying the groundwork for the metaverse.
Web 3.0 is on its way, and there are plenty of new opportunities for developers to take advantage of in this space.
Who are the major players in the Metaverse?
We know the metaverse is coming, but who exactly is building it? Here are the major players that are shaping the future of Web 3.0:
- Microsoft: After securing a 70 billion dollar deal to acquire Activision Blizzard, Microsoft is investing heavily in its gaming business. Developing and publishing video games will aid Microsoft in securing a large slice of the metaverse pie.
- Meta: Formerly Facebook, Meta has invested $10 billion into developing the hardware and software that brings the metaverse to life. Meta is working on developing VR headsets that will allow users to interact with the Metaverse.
- Nvidia: This tech giant is renowned for putting GPUs in most tech and revolutionizing the cryptocurrency mining space. Nvidia’s working to develop tools like Omniverse, which will allow metaverse creators to bring their designs to life.
- Unity: Unity is a crucial player in the metaverse realm. The company acquired Weta Digital, a VFX business, in November 2021 for $1.6 billion. The goal here is to develop real-time 3D visuals and use Weta’s tools to allow users to experience the metaverse.
- Google: Google’s invested over $39 million into metaverse projects and wants to bring services like YouTube onto the metaverse.
- The Sandbox (SAND): Allowing creators to monetize their art, The Sandbox allows users to create, exchange and sell digital assets and experiences on the blockchain. With over 1 million monthly users, SAND is already exploding in popularity, and the platform has popularized the play-to-earn model of gaming.
- Decentraland (MANA): Decentraland operated on the Ethereum chain and allowed users to buy and sell plots of virtual land. This platform will enable users to explore the world in 3D avatars, interacting and working with others. The land here is very valuable, with a single plot of real estate recently selling for over $2 million.
Many of the leading tech organization’s are getting in early when it comes to the metaverse. Web 3.0 is predicted to change the way we interact with the internet and will completely revolutionize the IT space. Stakeholder priorities are changing, and developers need to be aware of the metaverse’s new technologies and skills.
What technologies will shape the Metaverse?
We can expect to see new technologies, skills and opportunities emerging as we move toward the metaverse. Developers who are looking to get involved with metaverse projects need to have a basic understanding of the underlying technologies that are bringing Web 3.0 to life.
Virtual reality and augmented reality are just two of the technologies that shape the metaverse. Here are other key technologies that will help bring the metaverse to life:
3D reconstruction allows us to render 3D models of locations, objects accurately, and buildings to bring our virtual world to life. This technology relies on 3D spatial data and 4K HD photography to create realistic, immersive experiences.
Whether you want to attend a virtual home tour or you’re looking to create an immersive gaming experience, 3D reconstruction technology can be used to bring your idea to life.
Artificial intelligence (AI) will aid in world generation avatar creation and will make the metaverse tailored for individual experiences. Through complex algorithms, AI improves the way end-users can interact in the metaverse and will also help the metaverse feel more realistic.
This space will also help make the metaverse more accessible for users. Image recognition for visually-impaired users is one application of AI. We can also use AI to create emotive NPC players that add immense value to the immersive online experience.
The opportunities for AI within the metaverse space are endless, which technology developers need to watch.
Edge computing allows us to transfer data faster than ever. This is a must-have if you’re looking to create immersive experiences online, as it reduces delays and bugs.
Right now, the cloud can’t handle the processing power needed to provide millions of people with virtual experiences simultaneously. As edge computing continues to evolve, so will the processing power of the cloud, which makes the metaverse one step closer.
Developers and the Metaverse — everything you need to know:
Thus far, we’ve covered the stakeholders and technologies that developers need to be aware of when it comes to the metaverse. Let’s take a look at how the metaverse will impact developers and provide a brief overview of the skills and jobs that the metaverse will generate in the future.
Skills and the metaverse:
The world of technology is ever-evolving, and developers are often forced to upskill to keep up with the times. The metaverse promises to change the way we use the internet — so what skills will developers need to stay employable as we move toward the future?
Metaverse developers will be tasked with creating immersive experiences within the metaverse. Developers may create play-to-earn gaming projects and role-playing games or design a sanctuary space for users to kick back and unwind.
As the metaverse comes to fruition, so will the demand for jobs that support its creation, running and maintenance. Here are some of the technical skills that will see increased demand as the metaverse becomes a reality:
Unity’s plug-in provides many benefits for developers. This plug-in allows developers to use virtual, augmented and mixed reality to create tailored experiences. It will enable developers to bring their creations to VR headsets.
In the metaverse, the experience is everything. Developers with a strong understanding of user experience and user-interface design will be in demand.
The metaverse relies on virtual worlds that are easy-to-navigate, fun for users and engaging. Without a user-experience design focus, metaverse developments may end up missing the mark.
Graphics and Animation:
Creators are able to sell their digital art online more accessible than ever. As the metaverse comes to life, the demand for graphic designers, animators and developers of Squarespace-like drag and drop creative tools will increase.
Avatars, virtual real estate, unique items, NFTs and play-to-earn games will all rely on the creative know-how of these skilled developers. If you’re looking to become more employable as a developer in Web 3.0, definitely look at getting some design skills under your belt.
The many layers of the metaverse — the land of opportunity:
The metaverse is an ecosystem and comprises numerous layers, including the creator economy, spatial computing, decentralization, human interface and many more. Different key stakeholders seem to be focusing their efforts on the different parts of the ecosystem.
The creator economy, for example, is seeing heavy input from Unity, Epic Games, Roblox and Microsoft. Relying on user-generated content, many of these initiatives allow users to get creative and exchange their games, designs and other digital assets with others.
There are plenty of examples of critical stakeholders working on different aspects of the metaverse. If you’re interested in seeing a full market map of the metaverse, check out this blog.
As you can see, there are plenty of opportunities for developers within this space. No matter your interests and technical abilities, there’s sure to be a metaverse project for you.
There are plenty of opportunities for developers, thanks to the metaverse. Today, we’ve explored the metaverse and what it means for developers, from critical stakeholders to in-demand skills.
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