What is the Metaverse?
So, what is the Metaverse in reality?
A gaming platform? A virtual retail outlet? A training tool? An advertising channel? A digital classroom? A new gateway to digital experiences?
Is it a virtual universe that can satisfy our desire for escapism? Is it the future of the internet built on speculative sci-fi concepts? Or is it just a posh way of categorizing augmented, virtual, and mixed reality technologies?
Is it all of the above?
In theory, yes. But in reality, the Metaverse will become whatever our imaginations dream it to be. That’s why it’s so difficult to define.
But we’re going to give it a good go.
What’s in the name, ‘Metaverse’?
Coined by science-fiction writer Neal Stephenson, the word ‘Metaverse‘ has 2 parts:
- ‘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.
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….”Matthew Ball in The Metaverse and How It Will Revolutionize Everything
Are you thinking what we’re thinking?
What on earth does that mean?
Let’s unpack it, shall we?
- “Massively scaled”
The Metaverse will be as big and diverse as the real world.
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.
- “Real-time rendered”
Virtual worlds will respond to inputs from users 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.
- “Virtual worlds”
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 be able to exist within the Metaverse simultaneously across multiple VR spaces. And through a wide range of devices.
- “An individual sense of presence”
Each person controls their own point of view through their avatar.
Read more: 7 Important Principles That Define the Metaverse
While defining the Metaverse differs between individuals, it is, in Layman’s terms, a shared virtual world characterized by interactivity, immersion, and realism.
Why should you care about the Metaverse?
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 predicts 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.
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 largely 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 that 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, real-life self through digital means,
Be ready. It’s going to arrive with a big bang.
History of the Metaverse
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.
How do you access the Metaverse?
There’s actually no single portal to the Metaverse at this point.
Structurally, it’s like the Apple App Store right now. That’s because it’s made up of many platforms that offer immersive experiences. These can range from gaming and virtual workspaces to live entertainment and real estate.
This has led to a medley of tech heavyweights racing to make their stamp in the space. Decentraland, Horizon, Fortnite, Roblox, Axie Infinity, and – get ready for a big ol’ plug here – Exarta, of course.
The current set of Metaverse worlds each has its own means of access, avatars, interactions, and currencies.
The bottom line? It’s up to you how you want to enter the space.
How does the Metaverse work?
Because the Metaverse is still under construction, we have yet to figure out exactly how it will work.
In theory (and according to our broken down definition up there), the Metaverse allows an infinite number of people to connect in real time in an always-on virtual environment synchronously. It will be immersive, three-dimensional, and connect to our physical world seamlessly.
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 organizations.
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 make a significant impact in the Metaverse?
One word: technology.
Since we haven’t got all day, here are our top picks:
1. Artificial Intelligence
AI makes up the different technologies that combine to power machines to act and learn with human-like levels of intelligence. Its processing capabilities create avatars that enhance the characteristics of digital humans to make them appear life-like. These apply to non-player characters that interact with players in gaming environments. They’ll bring the Metaverse to life as a mirror image of our real world.
Another primary role of AI is maintaining the efficiency of the Metaverse’s infrastructure. It will make the colossal scale of controlling unlimited new data possible.
It’s an integral piece of our Metaverse puzzle at Exarta Metaverse, from direct user experience to data management.
Read more: Artificial Intelligence and its Role in the Metaverse
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. The contents in the digital world are artificial but replicate objects we find in our physical world.
Virtual reality environments are digitally captured by 360º photography and videography. This allows users to be placed inside the world and experience the captured moment from a more reactive angle. This reality is enabled through a virtual headset.
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!
Read more: Five Pillar Technologies that are Powering the Metaverse
So, with all that advanced tech, what can I do in the Metaverse?
The scope is so gargantuan we haven’t got the space to write it all down. So, here are a few of our favorite examples.
1. Play games.
Metaverse games have actually been around for much longer than we realize. Digital simulations, from Club Penguin and Grand Theft Auto to Fortnite, have always remained popular favorites 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 NFT 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 will return to shop again.
Read more: 6 Ways the Exarta Metaverse Will Revamp Retail
The Metaverse is being built by independent users, developers, and businesses, 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 own 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.
Read more: The Virtual Land Rush – What’s All the Hype?
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 monetize 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.
Web 3 vs Metaverse
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, decentralized Metaverse.
Read more: Why Dropping Centralized Systems is Essential to the 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;
- Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs);
- Decentralized 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.
What is the Metaverse?
The Metaverse is a massively scaled, persistent and interconnected virtual space, made up of 3D real-time rendered worlds. That will eventually serve as a gateway to online experiences as an evolution of the internet as we know it today. It’s a digital layer of our lives; an extension of our physical lives into the digital realm.
Individuals can immerse themselves into a thriving online community and engage in activities such as socialising, working, shopping, creating and having fun – just as they would in the real world. Metaverse experiences are made possible by combining advanced technology, including virtual and augmented reality, blockchain, and artificial intelligence.
What can I do in the Metaverse?
The Metaverse is made up of interconnected virtual worlds, allowing users to create avatars and engage in various activities like gaming, socialising, and commerce.
There are limitless possibilities in the metaverse for consumers and businesses. As a consumer, you can:
- Create customisable avatars
- Experience entertainment like concerts and games
- Purchase NFTs and other digital assets
- Own virtual land
- Trade or sell virtual assets
- Socialise and network
- Build your own VR experience
- Currently, one of the largest markets within the metaverse is gaming. Businesses across all industries are creating their own VR games for consumers to help promote products and interact with customers.
As a marketer or brand, you leverage the Metaverse to create immersive experiences for consumers, sell products through hosting virtual events, own a virtual shop, and offer NFT assets.
Read more: 6 Ways the Metaverse Will Reshape Retail
Who governs the Metaverse?
In short, nobody!.
The Metaverse will not be built directly by the underlying platforms that enable it. Instead, it’ll be constructed by independent users, developers, and businesses, as a mirror image of the physical world.
Exarta is contributing to the emergence of next-generation internet architecture that helps its participants escape from the control of tech’s biggest corporate giants. We are assisting individuals to become the exclusive owners of their own 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.
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 space? That’s why we’re here, of course! Keep your eyes peeled for new weekly blog content at Exarta.com.
Written by Hannah Clayton, Exarta.
There is always something new and exciting happening at Exarta. Read all the latest info, press, and updates here.