The metaverse, explained: what it is, and why tech companies love it

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That impressed many with what was possible – and thrust Mr Sweeney’s vision of the metaverse into the spotlight. However, there is a huge amount of excitement about the metaverse among wealthy investors and big tech firms, and no-one wants to be left behind if it turns out to be the future of the internet. To the outsider, it may look like a souped-up version of Virtual Reality (VR) – but some people think the metaverse could be the future of the internet.

  1. Technologies like VR headsets collect highly personal information, such as physical characteristics, eye movements, posture, pupil dilation, and other behavioral data.
  2. This stands out from traditional gaming models, where users purchase downloadable content (DLC) for a fixed price that’s determined by the makers of the game.
  3. Instead of currency, an NFT can represent a piece of art, a song or digital real estate.
  4. A very solid example of this is the aforementioned live events hosted in Fortnite.
  5. Other futurists, however, argue that while it is early days for the metaverse and fundamental technical barriers still exist, the metaverse will happen.

Among other non-Facebook products, Meta has already sold millions of its Meta Quest — formerly Oculus — VR headset units for navigating the metaverse. The internet is something that people “browse,” but people can “live” in the metaverse to a degree. The growth of the internet has spawned many services that are leading the way to the creation of the metaverse.

How will the metaverse affect the future?

It’s clear that while internet users may be finding love in new spaces, they can’t escape the real world forever. Couples need to experience shared physical intimacy, quality time and real-life communication to ensure they’ll have a healthy, successful partnership. And more than ever, they’re interested in meeting potential romantic partners in virtual spaces.

On the positive side, an immersive metaverse enables humans to go where they were never able to go before, including outer space. Of course, the bad behavior witnessed on social platforms has the potential to be magnified in a virtual world. Creating successful metaverse work environments will require far more than grafting existing office spaces and protocols onto virtual spaces, according to employment experts interviewed by technology writer Lawton. Indeed, early research suggests that simply translating existing offices into a 3D virtual equivalent can reduce productivity and even cause nausea and motion sickness.

When is a full-fledged metaverse coming?

This level of detail, which will only become more intricate as technology advances, opens the door to unprecedented privacy challenges. Companies could use this data for targeted advertising, while unauthorized third-party access to such sensitive information poses significant risks for enabling crimes like identity theft. Potentially limiting the participation of less affluent individuals in the metaverse could result in social inequality being more pronounced in the digital world. These tokens are commonly perceived as proof of ownership for digital assets, but they only confer rights to the tokenized version, not the actual intellectual property it may represent. Imagine a digital artist in the metaverse starts creating and selling NFTs of Van Gogh’s Starry Night. Despite being tokenized as NFTs, this act could infringe upon the copyrights held by the real-world owners of the original artwork, who may then have legal grounds to challenge such reproductions in the metaverse.

It’s impossible to separate Facebook’s vision of a future in which everyone has a digital wardrobe to swipe through from the fact that Facebook really wants to make money selling virtual clothes. But Facebook isn’t the only company that stands to financially benefit from metaverse hype. These banking behemoths’ foray into the metaverse could signal a bridging of the gap between financial services in the physical and virtual worlds. As more banks get involved with the metaverse, it could become easier for web3 users to trade traditional financial instruments with virtual money.

Dating is getting hot in the metaverse, per exclusive Reddit data

Companies might significantly reduce expenses by minimizing the need for physical office space, while educational institutions could offer more dynamic and engaging online learning experiences. With the blockchain gaming market projected to reach $65.7 billion by 2027, we’re seeing just the beginning of a revolution in how we play, interact, and transact in virtual worlds. These activities provide a level of engagement and interaction that traditional internet or real-life settings cannot match, thanks to the advanced VR and AR technologies. The lifecycle of metaverse-related hardware, including VR/AR headsets, PCs, and gaming consoles, also affects its environmental footprint.

A closer look: How virtual reality, metaverse relate to each other

I’ve always been fascinated with the Metaverse, long before I even knew there was a name tied to the idea. Some are calling it the next evolution of the Internet, others chapter 4 models and services say it’s already existed for years. One way or another, it’s the focus of some of the most influential media companies in the world, and you should look into it, too.

Security and privacy concerns, like the vulnerability of NFTs to theft and the potential misuse of personal user information, are two major disadvantages in the metaverse. The environmental impact of the metaverse is another, as the metaverse uses a considerable amount of energy to operate​. The metaverse is technically available to everyone, but it isn’t universally accessible in its current form. One of the bigger accessibility challenges is that technologies like VR and AR require specific equipment that may not be available to everyone. Choosing the right platform is your first step in embarking on your metaverse journey.

Anonymity can be beneficial, but it often makes it impossible to sue bad actors. Will Cady, who serves as director of Reddit’s creative strategy arm KarmaLab, anticipates that food subscription services like Blue Apron could see new opportunities as long-distance couples try to connect in new ways. In 2021, after rebranding from Facebook, Meta invested approximately $50 billion over four years into the division, aiming to revitalize its efforts.

The metaverse is expected to be an equivalent watershed, and lots of businesses want to get ahead of that. The term “metaverse” is the latest buzzword to capture the tech industry’s imagination — so much so that one of the best-known internet platforms is rebranding to signal its embrace of the futuristic idea. It’s important to keep all this context in mind because while it’s tempting to compare the proto-metaverse ideas we have today to the early internet and assume everything will get better and progress in a linear fashion, that’s not a given. The flashiness of VR and AR also obscure the more mundane ways that our existing, interconnected digital world could be improved right now. Even Apple’s Vision Pro has some breakthrough tech that is genuinely exciting, like controller-free interfaces or pass-through screens that can be very exciting and feel futuristic.

Despite not actively promoting a metaverse vision, Apple’s actions speak volumes. Even amid tech industry layoffs, Apple’s job board lists several roles focused on developing immersive experiences. These steps indicate a commitment to this evolving field, with projections suggesting the Apple Vision Pro could generate $63 billion in revenue by 2032.

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