Why is Metaverse on everyone’s lips?

Trend of Metaverse

There’s nothing more inspiring to mankind than possibilities. As much as we are intrigued by the possibility of our brethren on other planets, Earthlings are still obsessed with the parallel universe. Nevertheless, we have found other ways to live in a different world altogether- Metaverse. Umm, sounds familiar..! Why wouldn’t it, literally everyone is buzzing about it these days…!

but What is Metaverse?

Well, simply put, Metaverse is considered to be the ‘Next Gen Internet’. Described by Oxford dictionary as, “a virtual-reality space in which users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users”, there’s still a lot more to this ‘Digital Universe’.

Although metaverse has already been a ‘thing’ in games for some time now, examples being ‘Fortnite’, ‘Second Life’ and so on, there’s so much more to this space that has created a hubbub in economies, gaming world and everywhere. Let’s dive deeper into this to understand the fuss around this new term.

What is Metaverse

The term metaverse was the reiteration of William Gibson’s “cyberspace” from his 1984 Neuromancer. However, it was in 1992, that the sci-fi writer Neal Stephenson coined the term ‘metaverse’ to describe a 3D virtual space in his dystopian cyberpunk novel ‘Snow Crash’.

The idea is we will experience this virtual world (which is an immersive extension of the current internet) with an avatar and thus, be a part of it. This immersive internet would also be a channel for catering to our virtual needs through the virtual economy.

“The metaverse is an immensely scaled and interoperable network of real-time rendered 3D virtual worlds which can be experienced synchronously and persistently by an effectively unlimited number of users with an individual sense of presence, and with continuity of data, such as identity, history, entitlements, objects, communications, and payments.”

Matthew Ball

Noteworthily, there is a metaverse already in games to some extent, but still at a very elementary level. The metaverse is rather ‘a collective drive’ of various forms of technologies like cloud infrastructure, software tools, platforms, applications, user-generated content, and hardware.

While we are at it, we might as well talk about the most popular Metaverses that are already out there.

  • Sandbox

The Sandbox games was formerly a game for mobile phones developed by gamestudio Pixowl and was later released for PC in 2015. However, the brand was acquired by Animoca Brands in 2018, and now its name is used for a blockchain-based 3D open world metaverse game.

Here, users can buy plots of virtual land, with promotional partners owning land including Snoop Dogg, Deadmau5, Richie Hawtin and The Smurfs. The Sandbox is also partnering with Warner Music Group to develop a fascinating musical theme-based metaverse project, the first of its kind.

In November, the Sandbox had raised $93M in a round led by Softbank Vision Fund 2.

  • Axie

Axie Infinity is a wildly popular metaverse-style blockchain game. One of its primary cryptocurrencies, the AXS token, has seen a soaring growth of 4000% in the past one year.

In this game, users buy Axie characters as NFTs and as soon as they have a set of three Axies, they can play against other users.

The AXS token is the native token of Axie Infinity and also the main in-game currency. Axie Infinity has prospered quite a lot since its launch in 2018; its current market cap is $4.8 Billion and will continue to grow.

  • Decentraland

One of the earliest pioneers in Metaverse, Decentraland is a 3D virtual world browser-based platform. Here, users can buy virtual plots of land in the platform as NFTs using MANA cryptocurrency, which uses the Ethereum blockchain.

One can create their own land by using the Decentraland’s own editor, or importing 3D models from external software. Cosmetic gear, like t-shirts and hats, can be traded too.

Currently trading at a $5 billion market cap value, Decentraland also witnessed the first ever digital or rather ‘meta wedding’ ceremony. 

Not just this, Barbados digital diplomacy is winning praises as it decides to build a ‘diplomacy compound’ in Decentraland. More wonders indeed to follow in this Wonderland!! 

Big Players in Metaverse

Silicon Valley could not keep its calm about the Metaverse vogue so much so that it wanted to be a part of this futuristic vision. This FOMO was immensely fuelled as the Big four started working its way up to plant its flag on the celestial land of metaverse.

One of the oldest players in this space is Computer chip making firm, Nvidia Corp. Nvidia created its Omniverse platform to interlink the 3D worlds into a collaborative virtual universe. Omniverse will be used to build simulations of real-world buildings and factories, as the premises on which metaverses could be built.

While the bustling air of this new concept started pervading different economic sectors so much so, one by one firms began joining in. For instance, Walmart filed several new patents aiming to make and sell virtual electronics, toys, sporting goods, and personal care items and thus, making an impressive entrance in the Metaverse. 

Fashion mogul Ralph Lauren’s CEO commented that metaverse could provide a great avenue to attract younger shoppers. Other fashion houses like Nike, Gap, and Urban Outfitters are jumping on the ‘digital’ bandwagon with their ‘other worldly’ Metaverse ambitions. Disney’s Metaverse would be an extension of its films and streaming service.

Gaming platforms like Roblox and Epic Games’ Fortnite have already curated large followings with their virtual reality stint. Nevertheless, it was the Big Four that sparked up the digital revolution, so much so that its spotlight could not be dimmed. Let us find out which firms are gambling big in this game.

Facebook Metaverse

It was initially in June, that Facebook announced its plans to become a metaverse company.

Subsequently, in September, Facebook revealed its mega ‘XR Programs and Research Fund’, a perfect step in the Metaverse direction. The next thing the world knew, Facebook’s corporate name had changed to Meta !!

The trillion dollar company has always been enthusiastic about the future of Metaverse. As a part of its venture, Facebook is recruiting the brightest engineering minds in the world, and acquiring virtual reality and augmented reality companies, and is even backing the initiative with its $ 50M funding ! 

Apple Metaverse

Just recently, Apple CEO Tim Cook had affirmed quite optimistically, that ‘the company sees a lot of potential in the metaverse’, no points to guess, this is quite evident with the way the company is speeding up its current AR/VR ventures. Following this, Tim also added that the company is investing in the space.

During an Apple earnings call, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook confirmed that the company is interested in this development and has already invested it’s commitment to augmented reality.

Specifically, Cook said that “we’re a company in the business of innovation,” and “we have over 14,000 AR apps in the App Store” when asked about the metaverse. This response has been the general go-to for the CEO when pressed about AR/VR or other items in that realm.

Amazon Metaverse

The world’s largest cloud services vendor, multiple media offerings provider and of course, the E-commerce giant Amazon is also betting big in the metaverse.

Meta, the Facebook Metaverse uses Amazon Cloud Technology’s trustworthy infrastructure and broad-ranging functions to augment its existing local infrastructure. 

On top of that, Meta will be more reliant on Amazon Cloud Technology’s computing, database, storage and security services to obtain better privacy in the cloud. Thus, securing on its protection, reliability, and scalability.

Microsoft Metaverse

Microsoft has been quite on its budding stage when it comes to Metaverse.

For several years, the software giant has developed the HoloLens, a $3,500 headset that shows digital holograms, with a focus on applications for businesses and government agencies. The device is related to augmented reality, which some technologists consider to be part of the future metaverse.

Not to forget, the firm launched a Mesh cloud collaboration service for virtual 3D business meetings last year, which according to Microsoft “can serve as a gateway to the metaverse.

Elaborating on Metaverse, Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella had said “there is both an outside-in and inside out” and that it’s not just about keeping a computational reality over the top of our real one, but also about putting the real world inside a computer’s domain as well.

Google Metaverse

In an interview, Google CEO Sundar Pichai hinted at the positive prospects of the future where metaverse will take over. He explained that over time, computers will adapt to people and people will adapt to computers, thus making a way for a more immersive, interactive computing experience. 

Enunciating on the point, he said that in addition to being a metamorphosed computing experience, ‘metaverse means different things to different people’.  The augmented reality and immersive interactive virtual worlds would be laid out in the cosmic stretch of the metaverse. 

Pichai also added that the metaverse isn’t confined to any individual firm. Further, he described metaverse as the evolution of the internet itself.

To tell the truth, Google actually stood out as an early player in the metaverse, thanks to ‘Google Glass’, a slim and lightweight pair of glasses with an AR overlay on one side.

Real Celebrities in ‘Metawood’

Hollywood too has caught the crazy fire of the virtual land. Celebrities like Snoop Dogg, Paris Hilton, Jimmy Fallon, Lady Gaga, Shawn Mendes, Reese Witherspoon have jumped on the bandwagon and are exploring the other side of reality (question, there are celebrities there too??)

Snoop Dogg

Snoop Dogg’s romantic tryst with the Crypto space is quite a public one. The rapper has always been an advocate for new advancements so much so that he has evolved as a ‘contributor’ and not just investor/enthusiast in many crypto-related conversations.

So, when he announced his virtual party on the Ethereum-based metaverse game ‘The SandBox’ and circulated around 1,000 NFT party passes, no one was surprised!

Snoop Dogg, being the Star that he is, then went on to release Snoop Avatars NFTs, collaborated with Loot Squad, a blockchain gamers’ community to encourage gaming in the metaverse. 

The cool wizard has now recently joined Meta to help the platform in its upcoming venture, adding that learning ‘copypasta’ may help Meta in its venture (giving cool dudes a major FOMO !!)

The legend and his legendary tech ventures are always up in the legacy of his tweets, and trust us, we love both of them!  

Paris Hilton

Socialite, DJ, actress, singer and businesswoman Paris Hilton is also one of the crypto-lightened celebrities who has been on a metaride. She believes that it is the future of partying, going out, interacting with people and being social. 

In a collaboration with Roblox, she had recently dropped her own virtual island dubbed Paris World, where visitors can enjoy exploring the digital replicas of her Beverly Hills estate and its dog mansion. 

This island also has a boardwalk inspired by the neon carnival wedding celebration she and her husband hosted. One can drive around the island in a swanky sports car or even a Sunray yacht (keep your itineraries ready!!). She has already played a DJ set for a virtual audience on Roblox.

Also Read: Paris Hilton Drops ‘Past Lives, New Beginnings’ NFT Collection on Origin Marketplace

Lady Gaga

Iconic pop-star, fashionista and Oscar winning actress Lady Gaga has also gone gaga over this virtual space (although quite subtly). In December, Meta announced the launch of a ‘Lady Gaga music pack’ for the popular rhythm virtual reality game Beat Saber.

Beat Saber is a VR game that gives you two sabers made of light, controlled by the right and left hand controllers of the Meta Quest. The player then has to smash and dodge blocks with their sabers to keep the beat going and build up a combo chain. In case, the player misses or hits the wrong block, the combo chain gets restarted.

Scope and Hype of Metaverse

Not just the technical requirements, the metaverse will include various user experiences including, entertainment, gaming, commerce, social interactions, education, and research. But it’s not only limited to this, as its scope is ever-widening.

The underlying feature of Blockchain i.e., confirmable and immutable ownership of digital goods and currency will be a core principle of the metaverse too. People will also be able to make money while playing games in this space. Rent or rent out assets will be a conventional sight here too. These blend of features will change our upcoming world altogether.

Metaverses based on blockchain, NFT integration, and play-to-earn gaming is definitely the Future!

Thinking on the flip side, there are two possibilities. First, the metaverse could have a set of more closely interconnected worlds, some of which would be controlled entirely by their users. 

The other possibility is big firms build their own digital universes and each one of them sell their own proprietary hardware to get hold of these little zones, then the result could be a collection of fragmented worlds. Thus, spoiling and confusing users with too many options!

While the sceptics think of the developments in this project as being too fast paced, the tech industry is unrelenting in its belief in the metaverse. 

Reportedly, the tech industry is expecting it will hit $800 billion by 2024 and reach 1 billion people by 2030. No wonder, no one wants to be left out. Not even us!!

Conclusion

If there’s one thing that the pandemic has taught us, it’s that the world can take a pause, but not stop (even if that means meeting professional commitments in your pyjamas, munching on snacks!!). 

The digital world has made it possible to not ‘distance’ human communication by even overcoming the physical barriers of latitudes and longitudes. Real-time conversations, translations, and participation have brought diverse cultures on the same page.

The metaverse will further allow us to connect, to live, to relive beyond the limitations of the physical globe. All you need is an avatar and you are ready to make friends, play games, have coffees in Barista, jam on your favourite artists (who by the way are already gearing up for their concerts over there). Cool, isn’t it?

In a nutshell, the transaction between the limitations of the real world and the possibilities of the virtual one, is no longer a theme of any ‘dystopian novel’, but soon going to be a ‘fortune’. And we are all geared up for it!!

Also Read: 25% of People Will Spend An Hour/Day In Metaverse By 2026: Gartner Predicts

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