First coined by Neal Stephenson in his 1992 science fiction novel “Snow Crash”, the Metaverse has now become a reality. It’s still in its infancy, and no one is really sure yet what it’s going to grow into. However, some things are for sure. For one thing, it’s definitely not the simplest of concepts to grasp. It has often been compared to trying to explain to someone in the 70s what the internet is and trying to tell them all the features and functions that the internet now encompasses.
But the Metaverse is set to be a huge advancement in technology which will likely affect us in years to come and become a core part of Web 3.0, so it’s beneficial to have a basic level of understanding.
What is the Metaverse?
The Metaverse is a virtual reality based universe where people can interact with and purchase computer generated objects. These items could include avatars, cars, outfits for your avatar, or just about anything else you could imagine. Typically, these will be stored as NFTs.
While being able to customise avatars and buy virtual items isn’t a completely new concept, being able to bring those items into any online platform is. Currently, if you buy a Fortnite skin for example, you can’t take that skin and use it for another game outside of Fortnite.
However, in the Metaverse you will be able to do this. It will be like creating a persona that exists as a virtual entity. Luxury fashion brands such as Gucci are already looking into how people can flex their physical items in the digital word.
How is the Metaverse already being used?
In recent years, as VR technology has improved, more and more companies have started showing interest in and preparing for the Metaverse.
Mark Zuckerberg even rebranded Facebook to Meta, which highlights just how important he and his company believe the Metaverse will be in the future.
Microsoft also bought the gaming company Activision in 2021, and while this may seem like an investment into gaming, it’s also an investment into the Metaverse.
In a partnership with Roblox, Nike launched Nikeland to create a virtual experience where real life motions translate into a virtual movement with the use of VR technology.
Disney has already filed patents to allow them to create a virtual simulation of their theme parks, so people can experience them without having to actually attend the site.
However, since the Metaverse is more of a concept than an actual technology, it’s a little murky when trying to say what’s definitely part of the Metaverse at the moment. Saying that, it does seem that many companies see gaming as the gateway into the Metaverse, at least for now. Gaming companies such as Roblox and Epic Games (the creators of Fortnite) have been showing us for years how digital assets can be monetised.
Incidentally, virtual land is already being sold as NFTs by the likes of The Sandbox and Decentraland. In Sandbox, you can play and create games, earn tokens by charging admittance to, renting out or selling your land, or you can host contests and events, which you’ll get rewarded for. Plus, you get a voice in the governing of The Sandbox.
How could the Metaverse be used in the future?
This early on, it’s hard to say exactly what the Metaverse will evolve into. What we envision for the Metaverse now could be completely different to what it eventually becomes.
However, with the upcoming arrival of Web 3.0, it’s highly likely that the virtual world will increasingly become a part of our daily life. It could be that we visit virtual art museums just as we do the Louvre now, or we shop in virtual malls just like when we visit Oxford Street or Fifth Avenue. Luxury goods and fine art behemoth Sotheby’s has already opened a virtual showroom to showcase their collection of NFTs!
The Metaverse is a complicated concept to understand, and will only become clearer and more defined as it evolves and becomes integrated into our society alongside Web 3.0. However, knowing about it now will pay off in the future.
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