Technology Topics

Metaverse: Futuristic Idea or Another Fad?

1,000,000,000,000—that’s how much profits can be made out of METAVERSE in the coming future. Let that sink in.

From Silicon Valley, tech geeks to the financial elites on the Wall Street all are jumping on the ridiculously massive revenue opportunity in this 3D world.

But here is a question: does layman care to give two hoots on how much Metaverse is worth? Knowingly they won’t be (or negligible) part of the $1 trillion cash cow?

For them—think like this: Can you shimmy in a jam-packed concert of Drake, Rihanna, or anybody else—without being literally present there? In the metaverse, you CAN.

Or can you go for a Safari, tour the Colosseum, swim with dolphins, scale Everest, have dinner with your celebrity crush, or simply hangout with your friends merely from your room?

Sounds unthinkable, right?

With a VR headset or glasses, however, you can make all this come true. The only limit is your imagination in the metaverse.

This brings us to the question of can metaverse be the next BIG tech since the Internet or is it a bubble ready to be burst in the coming time?

But What is Metaverse, anyway?

Honestly, there is no set definition of ‘metaverse.’ Instead, everyone has come up with their understanding of the immersive technology.

  • Futurists: It’s a future of the Internet or as they like to call it, ‘the virtual world that will usher in the next phase of the internet.”
  • Technologists: It’s an interoperable network of virtual, augmented, and physical reality which can be concomitantly experienced by a vast number of individuals.
  • Gen-Z: It’s a 3D version of yourself in an avatar place inside the virtual world. Where you can interact, play, explore, work, socialize, buy, and whatnot in the new online frontier.

But metaverse has a past—some 30 years old one. Back in ’92 author, Neal Stephenson coined the word ‘metaverse’ in his dystopian science-fiction novel called “Snow Crash.” In which, he reimaged the globe in a virtual-reality world where individuals can turn into avatars to escape the actual world’s dystopian reality.

However, this begs a question: why is there so much fuss over metaverse after 30 years now?

Two words: Pandemic and Facebook

Pandemic Fuels the Metaverse Rise

Past two years in the pandemic, social isolation drove people to the internet in large numbers. 90% of people say the internet has been essential or important to them during this period. With tight social restrictions, people cannot meet, greet, or socialize with their friends, families, and colleagues. So, loads of them started to find solace in the virtual world.

  • Result: People flocked to new-captivating 3D worlds, in this case, the metaverse.

But the pandemic is not the only reason for the metaverse boom…

Enter Facebook

Dogged by multiple accusations of wrongdoings,(critics alleged to divert attention), Mark Zuckerberg came up with something new: META

The sudden rebranding of Facebook to Meta has pushed many investors and the masses into the immersive world.

Facebook—sorry, Meta is already pinning hope to make virtual reality more than merely a spot for gaming. The company, however, is running short on luck in this particular sphere.

Take, for example, Oculus Room and Facebook Spaces. Both VR apps were Facebook, now Meta attempt to drive people to interact socially via VR.

They FAILED utterly. Leading Meta to shelve both the apps. Nonetheless—Meta—is now having “the time is ripe” moment, where the company is, AGAIN, pitching VR socializing through its new VR app Horizon Worlds.

Horizon Worlds – What Possibly Can You Do There?

This question surely pops into your mind of what sort of stuff you can do in there.

A short answer: Whatever you like

You can get the idea from the list below:

  1. You can play your favorite game with your friends
  2. Horizon Worlds allows you to travel different worlds at the same time
  3. You can build your own cool space there
  4. Bored with Zoom? Try Horizon Workrooms to interact with your colleagues in interactive avatars
  5. Heck, you can even take SELFIE there
  6. But to do all this cool stuff, you are going to need an Oculus Quest 2 headset, which starts just at $299.

Horizon Worlds is Meta’s new attempt to capture the growing and lucrative ‘metaverse’ market. With investing a cool $10 billion alone in this year and planned to hire 10,000 people from the EU to develop metaverse. But Meta is not the only one trying to get the bigger piece of the pie. Others are catching up to…

Metaverse Goldrush—Tech Giants Ventures In

Before Meta’s dabble in the metaverse; several Tech behemoths were already involved to create their ‘own’ alternately digital world.

Old Strong Player of Metaverse: Microsoft

Microsoft is, arguably, the first BIG tech company to flirted with the expansive metaverse. Starting with fully-upgraded AR headsets called “HoloLens”. Later, bought the VR social network “AltspaceVR” in 2017. And developed a collaborative platform called Mesh.

Calling it a “gateway to the metaverse,” meaning Mesh can connect people from any device, (be it: smartphones, laptops, headsets, and whatnot), into a shared space where they can interact with each other which is called mixed and extended reality (XR).

Nvidia is Catching Up Too

The world’s largest chipmakers, Nvidia’s approach on ‘metaverse’ is a wee bit different when compared to its rivals.

  • First, they renamed the VR world as Omniverse.
  • Second, Nvidia is giving away ‘build-metaverse’ software to artists to develop virtual world
  • Third, Nvidia is poised to save billions in the real world by running simulations in the virtual world

Virtual Reality Beckons Luxury Brands

Metaverse windfall’ is appealing to many upscale brands. These brands are lined up to cash in the bonanza of the digital economy and world.

Nike’s Slides into Metaverse with Virtual Sneakers

Nike rules the roost in the world of sneakers. The apparel giants want to capitalize in the metaverse market by selling its good in the virtual reality world. Recently, the acquired RTFKT (makes digital sneakers and collectibles) by Nike is a glaring example of it.

Louis Vuitton Enters Virtual World with Video Game

The French high-end apparel brand known for its pricey dresses; sucked itself into the digital world economy by launching its very own game to attract Gen Z. The game also includes NFTs (non-fungible tokens), which highlights the value of both virtual worlds and goods.

What do Gucci, Ralph Lauren, Dior, Balenciaga, and Hermes in Common?

For one, they all are pretty expensive brands. But the other thing is: They all stepped into the metaverse. Some of them collaborated with insanely popular online video games Fortnite and Roblox in the virtual world. What is interesting here is that many of these luxury brands’ products are sold at much higher prices than compared to the real world.

Land Rush in Metaverse – Bewildered, right?

Do you buy land where you cannot live physically or even visit with your physical form? The answer will be flat NO.

But in Metaverse: Everyone wants to be a landlord, especially in Decentraland.

The boom of real estate in the virtual land, particularly in the coveted Decentraland: where all the fun is. From amusement parks to shopping malls. The place has everything you call “recreational activities.”

Deep-pocketed investment firms are snapping up digital land in the metaverse to make dough from developing virtual properties and leasing them out.

Though—the investment is highly-speculative or risky, in Englishthat doesn’t stop individuals from pouring an insane amount of money into it. One such example is of a person who, recently, bought a $450,000 plot just because it is next to Snoop Dogg’s NFT house.

Risk-Reward Equation?

Metaverse has become the latest buzzword in the investors and tech geeks circles. While touted as “Next Big Tech.” However, the virtual world has its drawbacks too.

  1. Lack of policing in Metaverse may lead to harassment
  2. Breach of privacy and data is also a possibility in the 3D world
  3. Targeting advertisements with the help of AI in Metaverse will hinder the personal experience
  4. The investment in the metaverse land is speculative due to its uncertain future
  5. The tech is, at the current stage, is pretty expensive for everyone to afford

Conclusion

So, the big question on everyone’s lips: Will the metaverse succeed? Some think not. Of course, predicting the future, especially when it comes to tech, is not HUMAN’s strongest point. Remember, “Internet will Die After 1996,” prediction? Guess how well that turned out to be.

So, again will metaverse shape the future or burst into a bubble in between? Only time will…

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