We are living in interesting times. Teenagers are making millions creating and selling Non-fungible Tokens (NFTs). The blockchain industry is taking over all major industries, offering a smart, alternative solution to data security and transfer.
Cryptocurrencies are becoming the new normal with the concept of a decentralized economy. But among all these emerging trends and technologies, what has made the tech giants stop and think about next step in this new tech landscape – is the Metaverse!
Not too long after that, when the all-time, most-used social media platform, Facebook, renamed itself, Meta, we all knew something was cooking. Though VR and AR have been familiar terms for a while now, the metaverse seems nothing more than a smart integration between the two with the addition of smart gadgets, fairly higher resolution, and good-looking avatars.
But with Meta CEO, Mark Zuckerburg, pumping in billions and billions of dollars into the metaverse and buying the majority of VR studios and companies around the world, we are forced to ask; is the metaverse actually what the future looks like, or is it just another eccentric billionaire's adventure? Read on to find out!
What is the Metaverse?
Well, that’s a billion-dollar question, unfortunately there is no definite answer. A few things are better felt and appreciated than described, and the metaverse has got to be one of them. Although it is fascinating, and full of potential, the metaverse, after all, is yet to be get its time in the sunlight as companies are still working toward doing justice to the ‘Metaverse experience’.
The metaverse integrates real and virtual worlds using hyper-realistic avatars, micro-sensor-equipped headsets, and tons and tons of high-resolution overlays that allow you to enjoy an immersive experience. Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), Artificial Intelligence (AI), social media, and blockchain tech all are roped in to make this happen.
The idea is to make people ‘live’ in the metaverse without 'living' there. The movie Ready-Player-One embodies this concept perfectly. If you’ve seen the flick, you know that this will only be possible when the virtual world is equal to or more appealing than the real one.
Nonetheless, the concept that humans will be able to interact with each other and make actual transactions means there are limitless opportunities in the metaverse.
What is the Reasoning Behind the Metaverse?
Let's take a moment and remind ourselves that the Metaverse was not invented and launched by Mark Zuckerberg. The idea can be traced back to the 1982 novel, 'Snow Crash' by Neal Stephenson, in which he discusses that humans would interact with each other as programmed avatars in a three-dimensional virtual world he called the 'real world’.
Fast forward to 2021, Mark Zuckerberg announced rebranding Facebook as 'Meta,' which he believed is the next big thing. The announcement didn't sit well with netizens, and many argued whether it was a PR stunt to distract the masses from the negative sentiments and the inevitable slow decline of the social media platform.
So, what is Mark Zuckerberg's strange obsession with the metaverse, and what makes everyone care about it?
This year, despite all the criticism, the Meta CEO has already poured 15 billion into the tech-gamble project alone. The reason is simple, Zuckerburg wants to rule the future of how people interact with each other by making the metaverse the 'best and only good option out there.’
Two things; ads and devices control the internet, and all social media platforms are equally invested in this. However, with the addition of the 'Ask App, not to Track’ button on Apple and other technologies prohibiting developers from reaching users' ad preferences, the Ads thing is done and dusted.
But what about devices?
Here is the deal – He who wants to control the future of the internet and in order to achieve this, he will have to control how people interact online. Facebook knows its decline is inevitable. So, Meta decided to grab onto the next big thing, and that is why Meta is acquiring as much VR and AR as possible. The idea is to pour enough money & talent in to this, while also leveraging the best-in-breed AR/VR technologies, so that his version of the ‘Metaverse’ is the only viable version in the market for the foreseeable future.
Who Cares About the Metaverse Anyway?
Well, the investors do. Their experts believe the metaverse will revolutionize how customers interact with many businesses. Understandably, more and more financial institutions and mega brands are chiming in to claim their due share of the future world.
As of now, 500+ companies, including Amazon, Adidas, Nike, Gucci, and Apple, have become part of the metaverse, buying estate in the virtual space. In addition, many celebrities, including musicians, stand-up comedians, and actors, are holding their concerts and shows in the metaverse space.
So why would sports be left behind? Italy's Serie A enters the metaverse to showcase a new way to watch soccer.
All of this is costing brands millions of dollars; but compared to what they will be able to get their hands on in the future, it still looks like a small price to pay.
The whole point of this is to make the metaverse ‘accessible and impactful for all.’ Because the fact remains that no matter how fascinating the virtual world becomes, people will only step into it once it offers a good user experience, is innovative, and creates an impact.
This is why the metaverse has traveled from being just another tech trend to making almost all tech magazine headlines every week and forcing companies to appoint their metaverse chiefs. According to Earth Web, the metaverse's market size jumped to $100 billion from $63.83 last year. Furthermore, Bloomberg Intelligence suggests the metaverse has the potential to open $800 billion in revenue opportunities in 2024. That's huge!
With new updates and technological advancements pouring in every other day in the metaverse, it would be too early to say whether this virtual estate will succeed or fail to rule the tech future. But the takeaway here is that the metaverse is more about the experience and interaction with the technology than the technology itself.
Furthermore, with leading tech firms pouring billions of dollars and pools of talent into the metaverse, we stand a good chance of something brilliant coming out of this highly anticipated idea that will be accessible and available equally to everyone around the globe.