Why should you know about the Metaverse, and what are the exciting facts that you should know about it?
Wondering why so many people started talking about the “Metaverse” suddenly? Keen to know more about the Metaverse? Wondering why and what should you know about it? You are at the right place! We will explain what the Metaverse is. Subsequently, we will talk about the sudden rise in the interest around it. Finally, we will cover a few key facts about the Metaverse. Read on.
The Metaverse: What it is
The Metaverse is the online world that will emerge in the future. This futuristic online world will have digital representations of real-world entities and substances. People will have their digital “avatars” in the Metaverse. These avatars will visit digital versions of places, and they will experience digital representations of things.
Several technologies will make up the Metaverse. One of them is “Virtual Reality” (VR). The Metaverse will have a persistent virtual world. This simply means that the virtual environment will exist even when you don’t interact with it.
The Metaverse will also make use of “Augmented Reality” (AR). Users will create and trade goods in this digital world. They might use cryptocurrencies for such transactions, therefore, the Metaverse could utilize blockchain.
Metaverse will ultimately offer an experience that includes VR, AR, online gaming, online collaboration, and social media. Users will not need to access the Metaverse using VR and/or AR devices alone. They can access it via computers, gaming consoles, and phones.
What made so many people sit up and talk about the Metaverse suddenly?
As we will soon see, the word “Metaverse” has been around for a while. Why have so many people suddenly started to talk about it so excitedly then?
The answer lies in how some of the major technology companies perceive the Metaverse. Several technology majors are highly bullish about it.
Take the example of Facebook, which has rebranded itself as “Meta” in October 2021. It’s now known as the Meta Platforms, Inc. The move amply demonstrates the seriousness of the company about this futuristic online world.
Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of the company has been bullish about the Metaverse even earlier. In June 2021, Zuckerberg described the plans of the company around the Metaverse. Zuckerberg explained that Facebook intends to build a “maximalist, interconnected set of experiences straight out of sci-fi – a world known as the Metaverse”.
Microsoft jumped into the Metaverse bandwagon even earlier. Satya Nadella conceptualized an “Enterprise Metaverse”. It will have “digital twins” to transform what we now know as “remote working”. Microsoft envisages the Metaverse as the virtual work environment of the future, which will have avatars of people.
These well-publicized moves by Meta and Microsoft made people sit up and notice the emerging concept known as the Metaverse. We will shortly talk about the other companies that invested in this concept.
What you should know about the Metaverse: A few key facts
Want a few exciting facts about the Metaverse to bring yourself up-to-date quickly? Here you go:
1. Neal Stephenson, A science fiction author coined the term “Metaverse” in 1992
The word “Metaverse” has attracted plenty of attention recently, however, it isn’t new. Neal Stephenson used this term for the first time in his 1992 science fiction novel named “Snow Crash”.
Stephenson described a 3D virtual world in that novel, which is the Metaverse. This virtual world had a very long “Street”. Avatars represent people in this virtual world, and people access the Metaverse using terminals and goggles.
2. Do we have the Metaverse already?
Yes, and no! The technologies that will likely make the Metaverse a reality in the future exist. Examples of these technologies are VR and AR. People might buy and sell things in the Metaverse using cryptocurrencies, and cryptocurrencies exist.
Meta, formerly Facebook, has released the “Horizon World” in December 2021 for adults in the US and Canada. It’s a social gaming project depicting an online world. Conceptually, it’s quite close to what the Metaverse could be in the future.
Meta had acquired the VR major Oculus in 2014. It’s utilizing the considerable VR capabilities of Oculus to build the Metaverse.
Epic Games, the company that built the popular game Fortnite is bullish on the Metaverse. The company positions Fortnite as the right game for the Metaverse, and it’s trying to expand the player base.
Microsoft Teams showed its mettle during the COVID-19 pandemic. It proved to be a robust workplace collaboration tool when the pandemic forced most people to work from home. Experts contend that Microsoft Teams is well-positioned to succeed in the Metaverse.
In summary, you already have plenty of groundwork for the Metaverse. However, CEOs like Zuckerberg and Nadella paint an expansive picture of the Metaverse. According to them, people will work, play, socialize, and trade goods on the Metaverse seamlessly using their digital avatars. We aren’t there yet.
3. How large is the market for the Metaverse?
The market for the Metaverse encompasses components, platforms, technologies, and applications. Note that this includes components and applications that already exist, e.g., online games, VR headsets, etc.
Market observers expect this market to grow rapidly. A Bloomberg report estimates that this market will grow from $478.7 billion in 2020 to $783.3 billion in 2024. The report projects a CAGR of 13.1% during the 2021-2024 period.
4. Which companies are the front-runners to build the Metaverse?
Experts believe that the following companies are leading the pack when it comes to building the Metaverse:
Meta: Meta is positioning itself as the company to provide the platform for the Metaverse. Its investments in Oculus are important in this context. Meta has further proven its commitment by launching the “Horizon World”.
Microsoft: Microsoft has already built powerful capabilities in the context of the Metaverse. Examples are Microsoft Teams and Xbox.
The Sandbox: Sandbox is a blockchain game that allows players to play-to-earn and build virtual worlds using (NFTs) non-fungible tokens on the Ethereum blockchain. Players can create and design personalised avatars to access the different games, environments, and sections on The Sandbox metaverse. Established by Pixowl in 2011, The Sandbox was initially a mobile gaming platform along the lines of Minecraft. Major brands and artists like Adidas and Snoop Dog have acquired plots of The Sandbox virtual land, which they will fill with exclusive content and experiences to engage their communities.
Roblox: This provider of online video games has built a platform to enable players to create their avatars, i.e., digital identities. Roblox provides a platform for users to build communities and games.
Epic Games: Epic Games is poised for a leap in the Metaverse with its Fortnite. The company also offers Unreal Engine, a well-known VR engine. In April 2021, Epic Games announced a $1 billion funding round to realize its Metaverse-related vision.
Unity Software: Unity Software is one of the leading providers of software solutions for video games and animations. It recently acquired Weta, a prominent visual effects (VFX) company. With this acquisition, Unity can now make an impactful entry into the world of the Metaverse.
NVIDIA: NVIDIA, the well-known semiconductor company has announced a significant expansion of NVIDIA Omniverse. It’s a simulation and collaboration platform that will help NVIDIA to make a big entry into the Metaverse space.
5. When can we have the Metaverse as promised by the technology giants?
We can’t yet predict when Metaverse will be available with the expansive vision that the technology giants have shown. As we explained, some of its foundational technologies and platforms are already available. However, the following challenges exist:
Privacy risks: Many observers contend that the Metaverse will have considerable privacy risks. The presence of Meta, formerly Facebook, in the forefront of the Metaverse might fuel some of these apprehensions.
Infrastructure-related limitations: Senior Intel executives believe that the currently available computing, storage, and networking infrastructure can’t support the Metaverse.
Cryptocurrency-related regulatory uncertainties: Users of the Metaverse might pay for goods using cryptocurrencies. However, many cryptocurrency-related regulatory uncertainties exist in several countries. It’s not yet clear whether these countries will allow cryptocurrencies as a medium of payment.
We explained what the Metaverse is. We discussed a few key facts about Metaverse. You can expect plenty of developments around the “umbrella” concept that is the Metaverse, therefore, watch this space.