The metaverse is the future of all things digital, and we are just beginning to realize the vastness of it. After Facebook’s parent company rebranded as Meta in October 2021, the term metaverse has been featured in every major publication. Despite the substantial interest that the metaverse has garnered, there is hardly a consensus regarding its meaning. Whereas tech companies bet on the metaverse being the next big thing, detractors refer to it as no more than a buzzword. Throughout these lines, we aim to study the real meaning behind the metaverse and what it means for our future.
Not everyone believed in the internet when it was first developed. More than 20 years ago, a Newsweek article demonstrated the skepticism that surrounded the now-essential technology: “The truth is no online database will replace your daily newspaper, no CD-ROM can take the place of a competent teacher and no computer network will change the way government works.” If time proved internet detractors wrong, who’s to say that the metaverse won’t change the world too?
Explaining the Metaverse
The metaverse is a digital world accessible by virtual reality headsets. When you’re inside the metaverse, you get the feeling that you really are in another dimension and can interact with the world around you. However, digital worlds already exist. So, what makes the metaverse different?
What the Metaverse Entails
Given its expanse, many may wonder what the metaverse entails. The metaverse is comprised of:
- A shared virtual reality
The metaverse contains a persistent virtual world that does not aim to be a fantasy dimension, but to be an alternate reality that exists even when users are not connected to it. This digital world is 3-dimensional and can be accessed via VR headsets to increase the immersiveness of the experience.
- A digital economy
Because it tries to simulate the real world, the metaverse can include interactions, such as buying clothes or real estate, that a user would also have in real life. Thus, another feature of the metaverse is digital ownership. Users can own their own digital houses, clothes, and even pets! This is the reason so many companies are eager to invest in the metaverse; they want to capitalize on the digital economy and capture the future demand for digital goods.
- A social community
The whole purpose of the metaverse is for people to interact with each other. Users will build their own digital communities. People will be able to socialize with others from all over the world in ways that weren’t possible before. One person will be able to build a digital house and invite their friends to hang out, or another may want to attend a virtual concert with a new friend.
- A creation space
The metaverse is also a place where people can let their imaginations run wild and make the virtual world their canvas. They can customize avatars that look just like them, create virtual items, and build digital spaces to meet their friends and family. Furthermore, they can monetize their creations and sell digital goods. The metaverse is more than just entertainment. It is a revolutionary technology that allows for learning, training, communication, and community engagement. Ultimately, it aims to be a space that drives human interaction. In a world limited by physical dimensions, this technology opens a window to a world of unlimited possibilities.
Companies Investing in the Metaverse
Companies that already trust and are investing in the metaverse include Meta, Roblox, Tencent, and Unity. According to a market report, these companies could be capitalizing on a $600 billion market by 2030. Moreover, Meta (formerly Facebook) invested $10 billion in the metaverse. If that’s how much companies trust this technology, there is no doubt that organizations like yours can benefit from this opportunity These are some of the companies that are leveraging the metaverse for their business objectives:
Hyundai is reaffirming itself as an innovator in the automotive industry by partnering with Unity to build a Meta-Factory. This virtual space will be a digital twin (an exact copy) of their Innovation Center in Singapore.
Years ago Google was a pioneer in extended reality technologies with its augmented reality project. Now, it’s maintaining interest in integrating its Maps and YouTube services into the metaverse. In addition, Google has secured $39.5 million for all metaverse projects.
Supernatural is a VR fitness app that aims to become the new way of doing exercise. The company creates virtual reality worlds to make exercising more fun and interactive. Supernatural leverages the metaverse’s connectivity by allowing users to access personalized workouts anywhere they have access to a virtual reality headset.
This is only the beginning
Going back to the Newsweek article we shared at the beginning of this article, the author also expressed that for all the good the internet brought, it missed human connection: “Computers and networks isolate us from one another. A network chat line is a limp substitute for meeting friends over coffee. No interactive multimedia display comes close to the excitement of a live concert.”
Technologies like the metaverse are set to provide that human connection that is missing in other forms of internet interactions. Communication has never been more immersive with lifelike avatars and real-time responses. The metaverse is much more than just entertainment; it is our digital future.