What is the Metaverse? Why it is Revolutionizing the Internet
Dec 9th, 2021
Facebook is planning to invest heavily into the Metaverse by hiring 10,000 specialized engineers in the next five years, and transform the company from a social media company to a Metaverse company. This term now the most popular tech buzzword and every investor wants to get a piece.
The term metaverse has been popular in Silicon Valley. Microsoft talked about the concept of merging digital and physical world. Popular childen's game Robolox (RBLX.N) labels itself a metaverse company, while Epic Games' Fortunite also describe itself as part of the metaverse. Fashion companies are also trying out virtual clothing that people's avatar can wear in a metaverse environment.
What is the metaverse, exactly? Are VR glasses and gaming the only thing that make up the metaverse? Are we already overhyping it? What are the huge money-making potential?
What Exactly is the Metaverse?
Facebook recently changed its name to Meta, and stated that it would prioritize building the "metaverse," an interactive digital future in which everyone lives and interacts together in virtual reality.
The Metaverse is a network that combines online gaming, social media, virtual reality, augmented reality, and crypto currencies to enable users to interact and communicate in the virtual world with or without a VR headset.
It's a real time living experience which never pauses or ends like a video game would. One of the main characteristics is the unprecedented interoperability. But what does that mean?
Imagine that trip to go out with your friends that just keeps getting cancelled, well, now you can do that from the comfort of your own home. The metaverse is a full social system and economy across the real and virtual world. The avatars experiences, content and goods can move seamlessly.
Photorealistic Full Body Codec Avatars
As we are approaching the end of year 2021, millions of people are crazy about investing in digital avatars and NFTs. But it never made any sense to me why these cartoonish digital artworks actually have any value.
Now until I saw the level of technology Meta is currently developing, it finally made sense to me that this is the future, and good luck to those Crypto Punk NFT early investors.
This is why companies like Nike and Addidas are entering the NFT space, not because they are interested in the kind of 2D NFT artwork we are seeing now on OpenSea or other NFT trading platforms, but these companies already saw whats really coming down the road. Shopping for your next pair of Air Jordans collectibles in the Metaverse with you actually wearing it is not too far away from reality.
Meta's Codec Avatar Project aims to create a system that can capture and represent photorealistic avatars suitable for XR. Beyond simply scanning a person's body, the challenge is to get it to move in realistic ways. The whole system must also be able to run in real-time to allow the avatar to be used in interactive contexts.
Photorealistic Skin and Texture Rendering
I mean just look at the photorealistic skin and hair rendering, and start to imagine how and why the Metaverse will revolutionize the current state of Internet.
Virtual Clothing Stores
If Meta Reality Lab can already achieve this level of amazing digital avatar, soon we will all be shopping for cloth and shoes in the Metaverse, or try our next haircut from our favorite Metaverse hairstylist before actually getting one in the physical world.
Augmented Virtual Teleportation
Although XR is capable of transporting us to other realities, it can also teleport friends to your living space. This could mean a complete recreation of your home with all its contents, which can be run in real time.
Meta was able to do just that. The team created a mock apartment with exact replicas of all the items. This allows users to interact with the virtual space as normal, while still being able to move about the real one.
Virtual guests can see you actually moving around the real world and interact with everything within it. AR glasses could also be used to create a map of your space that is more detailed and enticing.
Revolutionizing EMG Input
Most of us have experience pain and soreness from long usage of typing and using our standard methods mouse and keyboards. As you can see here, this is all about to change.
Soon you will no longer need a keyboard or mouse to interact with you computer or laptop.
Contextual Artificial Intelligence
Meta is also developing contextual AI systems to optimize the use of augmented reality.
Meta used its virtual apartment reconstruction as an underlying map in order to assist a system to understand the intent of the user. It also observed their gaze to aid the glasses to understand the user's intent.
Meta Reality Labs claims that by anticipating intent, users may only need one button to input the right action depending on the context. For example, turning on a TV or light.
What is the difference between virtual reality and the metaverse?
While VR/AR, and the metaverse are closely related, the difference really comes from the purpose of VR/AR technologies were being used in the past, and how VR/AR will complement each other in the metaverse.
VR headset immerses people in the virtual world that allows people to be teleported for gaming, virtual tourism, and even porn. Meanwhile, augmented reality glasses such as the Microsoft Hololens overlays the physical world buy proving useful information for things such as job training or digital asset placement.
Metaverse will be coming these two technologies alongside with NFTs, blockchains, and cryptocurrencies to form a new way for people to connect.
How does Metaverse and Web3 Fit into Future of the Internet
The promise of the metaverse, whether in virtual reality (VR), AR, or just on a screen is that it will allow for greater overlap between our digital and physical lives in wealth and socialization, productivity and entertainment.
The metaverse, which is at the core, is an evolution of our Internet, also known as Web3 (short form for web 3.0).
In the 1990s, the Internet was still in its infancy. Although the web was seen as a way of increasing access to information, there wasn't a great way to navigate it other than to your friend's GeoCities pages. It was chaotic and confusing.
Web 2.0 was born in the middle of 2000s. Google, Amazon and Facebook were created to make it easier to connect to the Internet and transact online. Critics claim that these companies have accumulated too much power over the years.
Web3 is all about getting some power back.
Currently there are a few companies that owns everything, despite the fact that we actually contribute to these platforms' success, most of us don’t really get anything back.
The Metaverse is an iteration on the internet that sees new social networks, search engines, and marketplaces emerge without any company overlords.
They are instead decentralized and built on a system called the blockchain. This system is already behind Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency. It's a form of bookkeeping, where multiple computers can host data that is searchable by everyone. Instead of being operated by a corporation, it's managed collectively by users. Participants are awarded tokens for their participation, and these tokens can be used to represent real value.
For example, you can earn tokens for every message you post, which gives you ownership of the platform and eventually a chance to cash in.
Web3 allows people to control their data. They can use one account to manage all of their activities, from shopping to email to social media.
What can we do in the Metaverse?
The possibilities are endless in the Metaverse. You can imagine being able to do everything you do in the physical world and extend that in the Metaverse. You can learn, work, play, and even earn money. In the future, business activities such as training, meetings, will be catered via the Metaverse.
Metaverse is not a new concept
This concept isn't new. In the early 2000s, there were many forerunners to this metaverse. These included Second Life, which was launched in 2003 by Linden Lab, and Habbo Hotel, which was created by Sulake in Finland. Second Life has over 200,000 active users daily.
Neal Stephenson, a science fiction writer, coined "metaverse" as a term for a computer-generated universe in 1992's Snow Crash. It is a shared, immersive virtual world that allows people to socialize, play games and work together.
Ready Player One, Ernest Cline's 2011 dystopian science fiction novel, portrays a world that is in a state of energy crisis and global warming. This causes widespread social problems, and economic stagnation. A metaverse known as the OASIS is the primary escape route for humans. It can be accessed via a VR headset or wired gloves. It can be used as both an MMORPG or a virtual society.
Facebook officially changed its company name to Meta in October 2021 and declared that the metaverse was the future of the internet.
On December 9th, 2021, Meta announced that Horizon World, its virtual reality realm of avatars, will be open to everyone 18 years old or older in the U.S.A and Canada. Horizon Worlds invites will no longer be required.
Meanwhile Microsoft wants to create the enterprise metaverse.
Bill Gates made a prediction about the future and how it might be affected by the rise in the metaverse in a year-end personal blog post
“Within the next two or three years, I predict most virtual meetings will move from 2D camera image grids—which I call the Hollywood Squares model, although I know that probably dates me—to the metaverse, a 3D space with digital avatars. Both Facebook and Microsoft recently unveiled their visions for this, which gave most people their first view of what it will look like.”
Gates also stated that Microsoft is currently working to add 3D avatars to its Teams workplace software. Microsoft's partnership with Meta and Mark Zuckerberg to make Meta's Workplace social network compatible with Teams could give Teams an even easier access to the metaverse.
Epic, the maker of Fortnite online multiplayer game, raised $1bn in funding earlier this year, proving that investors are willing to invest big money in immersive online experiences.
Online multiplayer games such as Fortnite, Minecraft (owned and operated by Microsoft), and Roblox have made social gaming a major phenomenon. They have also created platforms that can help to build the metaverse.
Roblox was founded in 2004 and hosts scores of user-generated games. These include role-playing options like Bloxburg or Brookhaven where users can create homes, work, and plan their lives. Roblox's current value is more than $45 million after it went public in 2012. Roblox and Vans have teamed up to create Vans World. This virtual skateboarding park allows players to dress up in Vans gear. A limited Gucci Garden is also available for you to purchase clothing and accessories.
The Microsoft-owned Minecraft, another virtual world that kids love, is the digital Legos of Minecraft. Players can build anything they want and create their own character. Minecraft has more than 140 million active monthly users as of August. It gained popularity during the pandemic and among children who were forced to rely on virtual connections more.
Nowhere, an online haven, offers temporary and persistent virtual spaces that can be used for private or public events, such as concerts, reunions, concerts, and conferences. The platform was developed by the Windmill Factory in New York, a production company that has worked on projects for Lady Gaga as well as Nine Inch Nails.
The metaverse is not about playing video games
The Metaverse is more than just playing games. While games are a good starting point, it is important to consider the wider Web3.0 perspective. The metaverse can be much more. Fortnite hosted Travis Scott and Ariana Grande concerts, while Lil Nas X’s Roblox concert attracted 33m viewers last year.
Musicians and fashion designers can create businesses that offer goods and services to the metaverse. Gravity Sketch, based in London, recently launched a virtual collaboration area where designers can collaborate remotely on the same 3D design project.
Metaverse Business Application
Mike Allender, chief executive and cofounder at Talewind Studios, which is developing games for the Roblox platform.
“Every company has a 2D website right now. In the metaverse it will have a 3D version of that.”
German car manufacturer BMW has partnered with Nvidia. Nvidia's Meta-Universe platform Omniverse allows users to create a virtual factory, digitally reproduce its systems, processes, and assets. Hyundai Motors will launch the "Hyundai Mobility Adventure" in Roblox's Meta-Universe space in October 2021. This is a modern car's advanced solutions and future mobility solutions. Users are invited to join the public beta. The shared virtual space allows users to create their own avatar and interact with others and experience Hyundai's products.
Metaverse can also come up with new ways of working. Most of the work during the epidemic was done remotely via Zoom software. While online collaboration software is convenient, there are limitations to how it can be used. Metaverse allows users to create virtual meeting rooms that simulate real meetings. This gives them the option of remote offices while optimizing their work experience.
Zoom and Facebook are leading the charge to bring a collaborative office to Metaverse. The two companies recently released new tools that allow for a more realistic hybrid workplace. Horizon Workrooms, a virtual office environment created by Zoom and Facebook, can be used with the Meta Quest VR headset (previously called Oculus VR). Zoom's meeting and whiteboard functions have been integrated into Horizon Workrooms. Users can now share their screen and write on the shared whiteboard. They can also communicate with stereo to enhance the dialogue scene.
Can I make money inside the Metaverse?
Crypto and NFTs allows anyone easily buy and sell things inside the metaverse.
Virtual worlds will each have their own tokens that are based on their own blockchain system. These tokens can be exchanged for tokens from other worlds when needed. Additionally, you will be able to have unique digital assets that act as art, jewelry, or any other valuables in this virtual world.
You will eventually be able to exchange these tokens for your virtual identity and goods across different metaverses. You could, for example, take a Roblox virtual asset and make it a Fortnite virtual asset.
Metaverse entrepreneur Carrie Tatsu is a metaverse entrepreneur. She has been designing avatars, pets, and accessories for Second Life citizens for over 15 years. The game was launched in 2003 and offered a blank-slate digital universe where people could purchase land and actually spend money on clothing. This was a major turning point in her career.
She and her husband set up as store, Zooby, and soon earned enough to allow her to quit her job and focus full-time on Second Life accessories and pets. She was immediately struck by the way that other players were forming real connections with these virtual animals.
Young users are the majority of those who are able to take advantage of this potential. Josh Okunola is a 17 year-old digital artist from Nigeria who is currently studying in London. He has been playing Roblox since 2014. After years of exploration, he became curious about the game's development tools and began to use his artistic talents on the platform. He earned his first Roblox paycheck in 2018 for $7. Okunola says
“Eventually I was able to cash out $1,000 from the platform. My parents were in shock because it was very rare to see a 16-year-old make that much in just a little time from a side hobby.”
Blockchain-based games allow players to convert the time they spend into cryptocurrency. Axie Infinity is a popular game where players can buy, train, and breed Pokemon-like creatures. Each NFT is individually registered on the Ethereum blockchain. Players can sell their creatures on an active marketplace to earn cryptocurrency. Axie Infinity gained a lot of popularity internationally during the pandemic.
The Philippines has seen the most growth with people of all ages playing the game to make money. To be able to play the game, you must have three of these "Axies", and the current lowest priced creature on the market is over $100.
New Digital Economy
Metaverses rely on blockchain technology to enable companies to sell services on a new platform. Metaverse is more open to crypto currencies as the digital space is becoming the backbone for the global market.
Take Sotheby as an example, Sotheby created a Decentraland NFT gallery. Sotheby's decision to open an NFT gallery on Decentraland is not made by top-down but rather is generated and made by Decentraland users. This decentralized experience can only be created by Decentraland's MANA. The strong evidence that new currency has led to new business development is Decentraland. MANA has been used as a medium for more than 900,000. Decentraland allows users to decide how they want to use MANA. They can either buy NFT or virtual property or use MANA to play online.
These examples show how to create a bridge between real business operations and Metaverse. Gucci and Sotheby's are examples of companies that have successfully transferred their business models to Metaverse. Other companies need to consider how they can do the same. The mainstream is accepting Digitization more frequently, and Metaverse will continue to be a popular place to do business.
The growing number of digital assets has opened up new sales channels. NFT has allowed traders to buy and sell collectibles as well as other virtual items such the CryptoKitties and CryptoPunk, which are all very popular. Entertainment derivatives will soon join the ranks. HYBE Labels, a Korean entertainment company, joined forces with Dunamu, a blockchain trading platform, to create a joint venture company that specializes in NFTs. SM will also be entering the NFT market and is expected issue NFTs based upon major platforms like Solana.
NFT art galleries, voxel shops, and other industries that are based on digital assets have also seen a boom. Due to the close relationship between NFT art and galleries, gallery are the most popular business model in Metaverse.
The Metaverse's constituent materials are totally different from the real world. CryptoVoxels, which encompass all buildings and wearables, are completely composed of voxels. Voxels are essential for CryptoVoxels. Voxels are essential for everything, from house decoration to display personal items. Voxels were a key part of many voxel shops, like Vox Walk.
You can buy virtual land in many of these virtual worlds and use virtual money that is based on crypto technology to build virtual buildings. You will also be able trade stocks, offer virtual services and purchase real and digital crypto assets. These assets can be moved between virtual worlds or even into the real world.
The metaverse's key feature is its persistence. It will be there even when you are gone. It will be there no matter what you do or how you change it. It will be your identity that is permanent no matter what virtual world you are in.
Careers in Metaverse
While some landlords have many plots, they have limited amount of time and energy to build. Some landlords hire a professional team to build their brand headquarters. These two requirements led to the creation of third-party construction services within Metaverse. These service providers include MetaEstate and Voxel Architects. Voxel architects produced the four most popular buildings in the Cryptovoxels Origin City. These include spaceage, stoneage and glass. MetaEstate also designed MetaChi headquarters, Creation fashion hall and other venues.
Real Estate Rental
Leasing and trade are also possible in the Metaverse, just like the real estate market in the real world. CV Analytics statistics show that many sites have multiple plots. Land plots are sometimes bought by landlords for long-term investments and not for trading. Landlords have the option to rent out land that isn't being used for building or operating, which creates a native market.
Digital Fashion Industry
The digital fashion industry is able to produce all the traditional fashion items, including shirts, dresses and pants, as well as shoes, hats and shoes. However, none of these items are tangible. Customers "wear" digital clothing via augmented reality or digitally altered photos.
Since years, people have been using social media filters to put on digital accessories. Fortnite players can purchase customized outfits or "skins" for their avatars. The gaming skins market, is estimated to be worth multi-billion dollars.
Designers are now creating digital fashion pieces that bend reality to allow people to express their creativity and push the boundaries of design. One might argue that digital fashion is becoming more real.
Games are the most profitable sector in the Metaverse. Marketers can make full use of this medium to place advertisements on popular gaming platforms to attract users.
Dressing up in the game is not a new concept. Major fashion brands like Gucci, Oscar de la Renta and Casablanca are now focusing on Metaverse to set the fashion trends in the virtual world. The demand for Metaverse fashion designers is expected to rise as Metaverse users increase. To create and decorate avatars that reflect their personalities, people need to work with specialized designers. IMVU is both a Metaverse and social networking site. This year, it opened its first fashion show. IMVU's online store has 50 million items of clothing, their virtual store saw a 44% increase in users during the COVID-19 epidemic. There were approximately 7 million active monthly users. A fashion designer's job in a Metaverse such as IMVU is to help customers buy NFT-style clothing, and give advice on how to wear it.
Bollyverse is being developed, which is a movie industry Metaverse that Bollywood is building. Bollyverse is a parallel universe of Bollywood that brings together many resources, such as production companies and major brands, film and TV celebrities, music labels and game studios, as well as other resources like animation companies and music labels. Bollyverse allows ordinary people to use Legend NFT or Hero NFT to create stories and legends. NFT holders will be eligible for a 2.5% revenue share as well as the exclusive right to create new products.
Metaverse asset advisors can be compared to real-world financial advisors. As NFT grows in popularity, people need asset advisors to help them buy assets and give investment advice. Asset advisors also help clients to adjust their investment strategies and grasp market trends.
Metaverse is undergoing revolutionary technological and communication changes. However, Metaverse is also seeing major changes in trading methods and creative forms. It is necessary to create laws and regulations that apply to Metaverse. Reed Smith, a well-respected law firm, published a whitepaper entitled "Guide to the Metaverse" earlier this year. It expressed curiosity and concern over the order of the metaverse. The Metaverse lawyer's main task is to create regulations for transactions occurring in the Metaverse.
The Metaverse is an infinite world that offers endless possibilities. It's likely to be a new type of tourism and travel, much like the characters from "Avengers" who jump from one planet into another. To explore virtual worlds, users need a Metaverse guide. To provide professional services for tourists, tour guides must be knowledgeable in the areas of art history, gaming, immersive navigation, culture, and other fields.
Decentralized Apps that are Metaverses
As NFTs become more popular, the present NFTs will become more mainstream.
Decentraland and Upland allow you to jump in and start owning digital property. You have the freedom to create and buy blockchain land in any way you like. You can even control a humanoid avatar to travel the metaverse.
Decentraland is the best example of a metaverse in the NFT space, a main destination for digital real estate. Many people are already making a living flipping land in virtual reality and earning an income. You can buy all the land in Decentraland, except roads and plazas. You can easily find land for sale on the market that is available for thousands of dollars by doing a quick search. One is currently being offered for 301,000 MANA, the price is equivalent to 381000 USD at the time of this writing.
How is that possible? The property you purchase could be located near some desirable locations, such as near the land of an influencer or near the land a company with sentimental values, like Atari. These properties could be ideal for showcasing your company to thousands of people.
The gaming industry has shifted from the developer-earning model to the play-to-earn model, resulting in income generated for gamers. The Metaverse is believed to increase gaming potentials, it is also powered by blockchain technology where users can purchase virtual real estates and other forms of digital assets using crypto currencies. Users need NFTs to purchase on these networks to send and receive rewards.
Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) are virtual tokens traded on the blockchain for digital scarcity, security, and authenticity. They are unique, indivisible, and non-interchangeable - allowing true digital ownership of in-game digital assets.
Think about the idea of how it would be possible to buy a gun skin or car design from one game, but then use it in all the games you play.
Gaming platform, The Sandbox, has shifted from traditional gaming to cryptocurrency gaming. The Sandbox Gamer Maker console enables users to produce games from scratch, play other people's games, and purchase digital assets.
"The Sandbox is a virtual world where players can play, build, own, and monetize their virtual experiences. We empower artists, creators, and players to build the platform they always envisioned, providing the means to unleash your creativity."
We can now track and analyze data from connected environments to identify patterns, trends, and anomalies. We can now simulate any possibility, evaluate outcomes, determine the impact of any change or condition. We can now harness AI to perceive the physical world, to improve and automate tasks to give superpowers to your frontline workers.
Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, says
"I think of the Metaverse as the next generation of the Internet"
Instead of looking at flat panel 2D screen, it is essentially 3D Internet of the future.
The metaverse market ecosystem