New Delhi | Ashita Singh: Metaverse is currently making waves. If you’re an internet user, you’ve probably come across the term “metaverse” at least once in the past few months. It’s a term associated with a new vision of the internet that has been spotlighted by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
But what is metaverse? Metaverse is augmented reality or virtual reality that helps build connections. It is touted as the Web 3.0 that will allow users more autonomy and control over their online creations, identities, digital assets, etc. In the Metaverse, we can literally do anything we want, just in our own 3D avatars.
Metaverse is a hybrid of the two words “meta” meaning “beyond” and “verse” meaning “universe”. Metaverse can be summarized as the virtual universe or 3D version of the internet that exists now. To give an idea of the metaverse in layman’s terms, let’s take the example of a science fiction series or movies like Player One or Altered Carbon, the metaverse is typically experienced as a digital, ‘walk-through’ internet reality. Only, here Metaverse is not limited to games but will continue like the real world indefinitely.
It will be synchronized with our real world and there will be no limit to the “users” of this parallel digital world. People have now started experimenting with the metaverse, and it’s changing the meaning of the internet and virtual space.
How is the Metaverse changing the internet?
Metaverse is technically a newly updated infinite version of the internet that allows users to experience things in virtual reality. Currently, for tech enthusiasts, the metaverse is synonymous with nirvana. It is a space in a digital world where your digital avatar can exist and participate to indulge in any activity. For example, the Covid-19 pandemic has made “marriage” a very physical activity that requires the presence of everyone, virtually. Couples in the midst of the pandemic chose to get married and host their wedding reception in the Metaverse, where the digital avatars of all guests and the bride and groom were present and engaged in an activity that humans typically do at physical or real-world weddings.
The concept of online shopping has been taken to the next level with brands like Balenciaga and Gucci hosting their dress launches and runway shows at the Metaverse. Gucci even designed a digital pair of sneakers for hypebeasts for people to try, and it was accessible to people for a certain amount of money. The Metaverse has great monetization ability and takes brand marketing to another level. Clothing brands like American Eagle have already joined the Metaverse to take their brand one step further. American Eagle has created a virtual space where people’s virtual avatars can try and buy the brand’s clothing.
Similarly, workspaces can be created in the Metaverse to give employees who work from home an office atmosphere. Metaverse is a treasure trove for NFT enthusiasts. People are feeling a surge of opportunity that comes with the popularity of metaverse. NFT collectors jump at the opportunity to buy or acquire virtual land and rooms and other collectibles that can yield large returns. The Metaverse also contributes to real-time interaction, people can now experience things like visiting a theme park or watching movies in virtual space. The Metaverse has hosted DJ Marshmellow and Ariana Grande concerts. Both artists collaborated with the games company to have their concerts take place in virtual reality.
Social media platforms like Snapchat, Meta, and Instagram have also reached out toward their long-term vision of building the Metaverse. They have brought 3D avatars of the users that allow users to express themselves in their unique ways. Through these avatars, users can engage in a range of activities in virtual space or social space.
One of the most important and oldest assets of the metaverse is online gaming. The games in virtual reality or augmented reality are the biggest investors of the metaverse. Games like Fortnite, Minecraft and others are already offering users a Metaverse experience, where players do everything and experience things in their customized digital avatars that are not possible in the real world. Games are probably the closest thing to the idea of the metaverse right now.
Put more simply, the Metaverse is the successor to the evolution of the internet that is sure to change the current internet experience for the next generation.