Metaverse is a virtual 3D universe that blurs the line between the real and digital world, giving you access to infinite possibilities. It uses virtual reality, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and other advanced technologies to build online personal and business experiences.
For example, Minecraft is a “Metaverse” where you dress your avatars, explore the cities of your dreams, build your home, play to earn, and meet someone new daily. It’s a 3D life – without the ups & downs!
From Facebook rebranding into Meta and live concerts in Fortnite to virtual art galleries in Decentraland, the Metaverse ecosystem has come a long way.
It’s impossible to turn a blind eye to the buzzword, Metaverse! But what is the Metaverse?
And the Metaverse has more than gaming. Its roots grow into branding, business, shopping, socialising, learning, and more. Imagine yourself in the morning, attending quick meetings in a 3D environment from your home. In the afternoon, you can explore the city to purchase virtual land, hacking through the complex real estate process. At night, you can meet your friends in a virtual cafe.
Metaverse: Defining the Term
Coined by science-fiction writer Neal Stephenson in his book Snow Crash, Metaverse is a compound noun:
- ‘Meta’ roughly translates as ‘beyond‘ or ‘which transcends‘
- The latter end of ‘Multiverse’ refers to a theoretical reality that includes an infinite number of parallel universes.
And according to Metaverse expert Matthew Ball, the Metaverse is:
“A massively scaled and interoperable network of real-time rendered 3D virtual worlds that can be experienced synchronously and persistently by an effectively unlimited number of users with an individual sense of presence….”
Let’s unpack it, shall we?
The Metaverse will be as big and diverse as the real world.
Since the Metaverse supports the full transferability of data and digital assets, users will seamlessly exchange information across a growing network of virtual lands and experiences.
Virtual worlds will automatically respond to inputs from users in real-time to bring the Metaverse “to life”.
Interactive, 3D objects that once seemed implausible will come to life in the Metaverse. Spatial computing will mirror the physics of visual detail with digital twins.
Everyone can share the same experiences of the Metaverse in real time.
The Metaverse is always on, always there, always accessible, and constantly evolving.
“Unlimited number of users”
Millions of digital avatars will exist within the Metaverse simultaneously across multiple VR spaces. And through a wide range of devices.
“An individual sense of presence”
In the Metaverse, each person controls their own point of view through their avatar.
While defining the Metaverse differs between individuals, it is, in Lay terms, a shared virtual world characterised by interactivity, immersion, and realism.
History of Metaverse: Building A Roadmap
The concept of the Metaverse is actually more familiar than you might think. In fact, the construction of the technologies that underpin this virtual reality-based internet date back decades.
It all started back in 1838
Sir Charles Wheatstone’s binocular vision led to the development of virtual reality (VR) headsets. Since then, many things have taken place. For example, the Sensorama Machine came into being in 1956. It was the first VR machine that simulated the experience of riding a motorcycle in Brooklyn.
VR Arcade took the reins in the 1970s
The 1970s brought us the Aspen Movie Map, the first time VR was used to transport users to another place. Fast forward to the 1990s, and Sega introduced VR arcade machines, while Sportsvision broadcasted the first live NFL game with a yellow yard marker. This game-changing event introduced augmented reality (AR) to sports fans.
Virtual Worlds grasped global attention in 2000
In 2003, Linden Lab launched Second Life, a virtual world where users can create and explore content, socialise, and trade goods and services using virtual currency. And in 2016, Pokemon Go, an AR mobile game that overlays digital creatures on real-world locations, became a global phenomenon.
Metaverse hit 2021 like a bulldozer
But it wasn’t until 2021 that things took off. Facebook rebranded itself as Meta and announced its vision to create a social Metaverse that connects people across VR and AR platforms. Meta also unveiled its new VR headset, Meta Quest Pro, and partnered with Microsoft to bring Teams, Office, Windows, and Xbox Cloud Gaming to Meta Quest devices.
Also, Microsoft announced its vision for the Metaverse and joined the Metaverse Standards Forum, a group of companies and organisations that aims to establish open standards and interoperability for the Metaverse.
Importance of Metaverse: The New Virtual Ecosystem
Let’s get down to business.
You may have unconsciously stored ‘Metaverse’ into your internal vocabulary since Facebook rebranded to ‘Meta’ in 2021. The same year Zuckerberg announced plans to invest $10+ billion into the project that year. So it’s not all new.
Naturally, other tech giants, including Google, Microsoft and Nvidia, followed (and continue to follow) suit so much so that management consultancy McKinsey & Company predicted that the Metaverse economy could reach $5 trillion by 2030.
With that in mind, retail, gaming, entertainment, and education sectors are set to be transformed by the Metaverse’s digital economy. And it looks like we might be putting e-commerce to bed as it becomes a dominant engine shortly.
And while a thriving economy that may one day even become a key player in driving our world economy is an attractive concept, the real value of the Metaverse is that it can transform people’s lives. Beyond money, that is (come on, rub those dollar signs out of your eyes).
It will impact the way we communicate, the way we entertain ourselves, and the way we learn.
Read more: Metaverse Education – Learn Something New Every Day
So there’s no wonder the Metaverse is one of the decade’s most highly anticipated technology evolutions.
A mirrored, digital parallel to the physical world.
A hub for social connection.
A place where you can improve your living, breathing, and real-life self through digital means.
Be ready. It’s going to arrive with a big bang.
Metaverse Organisation: How Does it Work?
Because the Metaverse is still under construction, we have yet to figure out exactly how it’ll work.
In theory (and according to our broken-down definition up there), the Metaverse allows infinite people to connect synchronously in real-time in an always-on virtual environment. It will be immersive, three-dimensional, and seamlessly connected to our physical world.
When we think about it, that mouthful is quite an intricate technological feat. It’ll require heavy advances in smartphones, gaming devices and VR/AR headsets. Not to mention the colossal amounts of computer processing and data management.
And a single, interoperable Metaverse – one where users can carry their identities and assets across multiple platforms owned by different companies – will need stringent cooperation between various organisations.
On a scale that we’ve never even been close to before.
Think about it – when have companies ever had to allow their assets and offerings to be compatible with a competitor’s platform?
Relinquishing control, ‘playing nice’, user freedom…
How can all this be achieved in a way that appeals to the brands set to significantly impact the Metaverse?
One Word: Technology
Since we haven’t got all day, here are our top picks:
1. Artificial Intelligence
AI is a collection of technologies that combine to enable machines to learn and act with levels of intelligence comparable to humans. Its processing capabilities create avatars that enhance the lifelikeness of digital humans, particularly non-player characters that interact with gamers in virtual environments. This technology will help bring the Metaverse to life, creating a virtual world that mirrors ours.
In addition to animating characters, AI plays a critical role in maintaining the efficiency of the Metaverse’s infrastructure. It makes it possible to manage the massive scale of data necessary to control the unlimited possibilities that come with this new space.
At EXARTA, AI is an essential component of our Metaverse technologies, serving both to enhance the user experience and manage data.
2. Virtual Reality
VR creates 3D environments that interact with functionalities based on the human senses.
It submerges the user inside a digital replication of the physical world and allows them to relate to it. That means the contents in the digital world are artificial but replicate objects we find in our physical world.
The environments are digitally captured by 360º photography and videography. This allows users to capture moments from a more reactive angle.
3. Augmented Reality
Augmented reality enhances real-world environments with virtual, interactive objects, and the technology facilitates visual, auditory, and other sensory interactive information in real-world ecosystems to improve user experiences. Think Pokémon Go, which adds Pokémon to a natural landscape viewed through your smartphone’s camera.
Gotta catch em’ all!
7 Layers of Metaverse: A Value Chain of Metaverse Market
Entrepreneur and gamer, Jon Radoff, proposed our favourite model! According to 7 layers of the Metaverse model, Metaverse is divided into the following layers:
- Creator Economy
- Spatial Computing
- Human Interface
7 Features of Metaverse: Forming the Infrastructure
Let’s take a short dive into the characteristics of Metaverse that make it so special:
Everyone has their digital existence in the Metaverse. You can create cartoon-like characters to represent your identity and express your emotions and feelings. It represents the concept of gamification when you are creating or modifying your avatars.
Buy. Rent. Sell. You can climb the ladder of profits by investing in virtual lands in the Metaverse. These days, people are investing millions in plots that don’t even exist in the real world.
Instead, these lands are untouchable and represent blocks in the Metaverse. Virtual land sales are s the next big thing after NFTs. You can buy a plot through cold hard coins, known as cryptocurrency.
AR and VR bridge the connectivity between the virtual and real worlds. In return, you’ll enjoy 3D visits to museums, get lost in the groove at virtual music concerts, or enjoy endless, colourful fun at worldwide carnivals, all done and dusted without a passport and visa.
Did you know that the same Artificial Intelligence (AI) we mentioned before is one of the core driving forces behind the Metaverse?
AI is the backbone behind a ton of corporate research fields. We’re talking about content analysis, self-supervised speech processing, robotic interactions, computer vision, and even whole-body posture estimation. All of these elements come together to revamp the customer journey.
But how does AI come into play when it comes to business applications in the Metaverse? Well, there are a few ways. One of them is AIOps, which is a fancy term for using machine learning to help companies manage their IT infrastructure. And soon, this will apply to Metaverse systems as well!
Another way AI is making waves in the Metaverse is through chatbots. You might have encountered one of these already – they’re those bots that pop up on websites and assist you (and not the ones that make you want to throw your device out of a window. These are way smarter)
AI chatbots form lifelike avatars in the Metaverse. This means they can be used for various things, like sales, marketing, and customer support.
Learn More: AI Marketing Isn’t Replacing Human Marketers, It’s Helping Us Do A Better Job
In the Metaverse, people also communicate and interact with each other using avatars and visual representations. These avatars serve as a way for you to engage not just with others, but with the Metaverse itself.
I Imagine this: what if our physical experiences could be merged into one virtual environment?
With a holistic experience that combines all of these disparate encounters, people can navigate a limitless world without any of the constraints of physical reality. Pretty cool, huh?
Human-Computer Interface (HCI) Technology
One of the key aspects of creating the Metaverse is figuring out how to integrate user activities into this virtual world. And that’s where HCI comes in.
HCI stands for human-computer interaction, and it’s the process by which humans and computers exchange information to carry out specific activities. This is important because it helps people who might not have formal training or experience with computing systems to be still able to connect with them. In the context of the Metaverse, HCI is crucial to creating a seamless virtual world where users can engage in a wide variety of activities.
Decentralisation Autonomous Organisation (DAO)
DAO is a fancy term for a council or a committee that makes decisions using blockchain and smart contracts. According to DAO governance guidelines, the Digital Wallet is where they keep the money for different projects across several networks.
And when making decisions, everyone gets a say through proposals and voting processes. Because this democratic system helps everyone to weigh in on important decisions about managing resources and setting rules for a collaborative, fun, and safe Metaverse.
Applications of Metaverse: What Can I Do on It?
The scope is so gargantuan we haven’t got the space to write it all down. So, here are a few of our favourite
1. Play games
Metaverse games have been around for much longer than we realise. Digital simulations, from Club Penguin and Grand Theft Auto to Fortnite, have always remained popular favourites in the mainstream gaming sector.
Players played games for entertainment, and apart from professional gamers in tournaments, only for leisure. That was until a new Metaverse gaming model was introduced, where players could buy, earn, and sell digital assets during gameplay.
And so, the Metaverse combines traditional gaming elements while creating a sustainable, controlled and long-term economic model within play-to-earn games by adding blockchain technology and advanced VR.
Now, you can play games with other avatars, invite your friends to join in and engage in interactions, and even create and collaborate with other users on your own crafted gaming experiences.
And due to the interoperability of the Metaverse, you can easily transfer your virtual goods between different spaces. Wherever you go, your stuff goes, too! See! It’s. like. the. real. world.
2. Go shopping
Virtual stores with glass elevators. Digital twin matches of real-life items that you can try on your avatar. Intelligent, personal AI assistants at your service…
The Metaverse is transforming the way we shop.
Web3 technologies give retail brands complete creative control over all aspects of their Metaverse retail spaces. And in ways that are physically unachievable in real life. It is magical if you ask us.
What’s the appeal?
Well, shoppers will not only spend more time shopping in virtual stores but cherish memorable events that have happened there.
This will naturally increase the likelihood that they’ll return to shop again. Bonus!
Independent users, developers, and businesses are building the Metaverse as a mirror image of the physical world.
And Exarta is contributing to the emergence of next-generation internet architecture that helps its participants escape the control of tech’s most prominent corporate giants. We assist individuals in becoming the exclusive owners of their content and, eventually, the web itself. If Web 2.0 users generate the content, Web 3.0 users will generate the platform, create content and reap its benefits.
So to you creative spirits out there, the Metaverse will be a promising outlet for your art and designs.
4. Buy Virtual Land
Virtual land is the digital terrain on which your avatar can roam in the virtual ecosystem of the Metaverse.
This year, Exarta is launching Blockchain payment options. Every plot of virtual real estate purchased in Exarta will double as an NFT that lets you buy and sell unique properties and monetise activity on your land. As a landowner, you gain access to our bustling cities, where you can experience social interaction with gamification and retail commerce as you construct unique properties to express your identity.
Metaverse VS Web 3.0: What is What?
The Metaverse and Web 3.0 are related – but distinct.
- The Metaverse. A virtual world where users can connect, interact, and engage with each other and the objects around them in immersive environments.
- Web 3.0. A vision for the future of the internet. It will facilitate the Metaverse’s function.
The internet is becoming more intelligent. Data and information are better interconnected and easily understood by machines. And these advances align seamlessly with our expectations for a scalable, permissive, decentralised Metaverse.
That’s because the third phase of the internet (Web 3) will be the smartest of them all. It will aid the Metaverse’s function using advanced technologies such as:
- Artificial intelligence;
- Natural language processing;
- Decentralised Autonomous Organizations (DAOs);
- Decentralised Finance (Defi);
- Machine learning; and
Let’s put it this way. If the Metaverse is a house where user experiences (retail, education, entertainment, virtual land ownership, etc.) take place…
…Web 3 is the underlying infrastructure that makes the house liveable.
Ethical Considerations: Stay Informed & Stay in Control!
To erase fear from the minds of Luddites, one must burn the midnight oil to make it ethically safe for everyone. I have listed some of the important ethical concerns of AI and Metaverse a newbie can encounter while adapting to the fame of Web3.
Data Security and Privacy
It’s pretty wild!
But here’s the thing: it’s super important that this data is collected and handled responsibly to safeguard our privacy and security.
We all deserve to have control over our data, right? That means knowing exactly how it’s being shared and stored. After all, nobody wants their info floating around in the wrong hands.
Physical And Mental Health
When it comes to Metaverse experiences, we can’t deny the incredible level of immersion and realism they offer. However, prioritising user safety and well-being is above all else. Therefore, EXARTA ensures that you are not exposed to any physical or mental harm during your virtual adventures.
Also, be mindful of the potential effects of spending extended periods in virtual reality. These effects may include motion sickness, eye strain, addiction, feelings of isolation, and even dissociation. By staying informed about these risks, you can take necessary precautions to minimise any negative impacts.
The metaverse is a wild and ever-evolving playground that demands serious skills and know-how to navigate like a pro. But fear not, ’cause I’ve got some tips for you!
- Understand the ins and outs of the technologies, platforms, and applications you’re diving into. Get familiar with their features, functions, and even their limitations. The more you know, the smoother your Metaverse journey will be!
- Don’t forget to put on your critical thinking cap when you’re roaming around the Metaverse. Take a step back and evaluate the information, content, and experiences you come across.
In this virtual wonderland, you have the power to create and own your very own digital goodies that hold value and serve a purpose in this digital realm.
But here’s the deal: You have the freedom to transfer, trade, or sell them as you please. After all, they’re yours to control and enjoy!
Future of Metaverse: Are We Moving in the Right Direction?
The future is pretty exciting, but it’s tough to predict exactly how it will turn out. There are so many factors that come into play, like technological advancements, how many people adopt it, societal and cultural norms, ethics and laws, and even economic incentives. However, there are a few possible scenarios and trends that we can look forward to.
- We can expect a much more immersive and realistic experience. The Metaverse will make use of technologies like virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality, and brain-computer interfaces to create a virtual world that feels incredibly lifelike. Imagine being able to see, hear, and even feel like you’re there!
- Increased social and collaborative opportunities. You’ll be able to communicate and cooperate with other users in the Metaverse using voice, text, gestures, and more. Communities and networks will naturally form based on shared interests, goals, and values. It’ll be a place where you can connect with like-minded individuals and work together on projects or simply hang out.
The Metaverse is also expected to become more decentralised and democratised. Blockchain technology, smart contracts, and decentralised applications and protocols will play a big role in this. You’ll have more control and ownership over your data, identity, and assets.
And finally, the Metaverse will bridge the gap between the physical and digital worlds. You’ll be able to access it through various devices like smartphones, tablets, laptops, headsets, glasses, and wearables. With spatial computing technologies, you can overlay digital information and objects onto your physical surroundings or vice versa. It’ll be an integrated and hybrid experience that combines the best of both worlds.
Well, there you have it. We’ve wrapped up an answer to that grandiose question of ‘What is the Metaverse’, signed, sealed, and delivered – just for you.
Feel like that was a lot to take in? That’s because it is! Whether you’re an individual creator or a big retail brand, the potential of the Metaverse is undoubtedly massive. And now’s the time to make your move. Even a little knowledge will take you a long way in this new space. And if you want to learn more about this vast and ever-growing eco-system? That’s why we’re here, of course! Keep your eyes peeled for new weekly blog content at Exarta.com.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Facebook Metaverse?
Facebook has expressed its intention to build a Metaverse, but specific details about the Facebook Metaverse may have emerged since then. At that time, Facebook’s vision for the Metaverse was to create an interconnected virtual reality (VR) world where people could work, play, socialise, and engage in various activities. The Facebook Metaverse aims to provide an immersive and shared online space where users can interact with each other and digital content in new and meaningful ways.
Who owns the Metaverse?
As of now, there is no single entity or individual who owns the Metaverse.
Is Mark Zuckerberg part of the Metaverse?
Mark Zuckerberg is the owner of Meta, formerly known as Facebook, and he has shown interest in the Metaverse.
Which country made the Metaverse?
The Metaverse is not created or owned by a specific country.
How do you make money in the Metaverse?
The Metaverse presents various avenues for both investors and gamers to earn income. Investors can profit by selling digital art pieces in the Metaverse marketplace. Gamers have the opportunity to “play to earn,” meaning they can earn rewards or in-game currencies that hold real-world value. Additionally, hosting events and selling tickets, as well as renting out Metaverse real estate, offer further revenue streams. For sustainable income, exploring job opportunities within the Metaverse industry is a viable option.
What are the benefits of Metaverse?
The Metaverse offers immersive experiences, expanded social connections, creative outlets, economic opportunities, enhanced learning, virtual presence, and exploration of new realms. Users can engage in interactive virtual environments, connect globally, express creativity, earn income, access innovative education, collaborate remotely, and explore diverse virtual worlds.