Tech guys are probably the most ambitious group of people ever. Why? Take Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg as an example, who has just announced his current project is to “bring the metaverse to life”. If you have never heard of the term “Metaverse”, Preface is here to give you the most comprehensive introduction to this life-changing big idea.
What is Metaverse?
Metaverse is in fact quite hard to explain since it is not a real thing, at least for now.
Back to 1992 when the term first originated in a book called Snow Crash, the author Neal Stephenson outlined a world that has seamlessly connected 3 continents solely with the use of transatlantic cables. In that story, Stephenson called the world “Metaverse” and people living inside the “avatars”, although these terms were quite ahead of time back then, they have set a blueprint for future generations to follow.
In general, Metaverse refers to an immersive digital environment where people can socialise, play and work as avatars. With the use of technologies such as virtual and augmented reality, people are allowed to move between different devices and communicate with each other in a 3D real-time virtual environment exactly like living in a sci-fi movie.
Why is Metaverse trending recently?
Ever since the concept of Metaverse was first coined in the 90s, it has been bouncing around the tech world for a while. Later in 2019, the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the interest in the Metaverse as people started to realize they depend on the internet for pretty much everything, from conducting business to buying groceries.
This year, after the speech of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, “Metaverse” has officially become a buzzword given that this big tech giant seemed to be very devoted to taking the fantasy a step forward.
Mark Zuckerberg, 2021
Why is Metaverse worth the investment?
The reason is simple – the potential of Metaverse is boundless.
If our future is digital, Metaverse is where our future happens. Similar to the former great technological leaps, the development of Metaverse requires new technologies, protocols, companies, innovations and discoveries, which will bring inevitable transformation to human existence, creating countless business opportunities and thousands of well-paying jobs.
As forecasted by Jensen Hang, CEO of NVIDIA, “The metaverse is going to be a new economy that is larger than our current economy.”
Who is working on Metaverse right now?
Facebook has always been a leading voice on this high-end concept. As a matter of fact, Facebook has officially changed its name to “Meta” since 28 October 2021, showing its strong determination in bringing Metaverse to live. Considering to rebrand itself as a ‘Metaverse Company’, Mark Zuckerberg has recently announced his plan to hire 10,000 people in the European Union for idea implementation.
NVIDIA has already created a platform for connecting 3D worlds into a shared virtual universe, namely the NVIDIA Omniverse. It is an open platform built for virtual collaboration and real-time physically accurate simulation, designers, artists as well as reviewers across globe have benefitted from its true physical accuracy. NVIDIA will continue to expand this foundation of metaverse.
3. Epic Games
Epic Games has become a front-runner in creating the Metaverse and successfully completed a $1 billion round of funding in April 2021.It has reinforced its commitment to a real-world metaverse with the launch of Project Anywhere.
Roblox has positioned itself as a hub for virtual and immersive experiences where people can seamlessly attend concerts, classes or business meetings. It has put heavy investment in technology development, hoping to support these experiences as well as possible.
Microsoft has been working on Metaverse for years, for instance, the AltSpaceVR. Its next step is to build an enterprise-grade Metaverse, a mixed-reality cloud-based meeting app, that can teleport a person digitally to a remote location for shared experiences.
How can Metaverse go beyond gaming?
As the digital twin of the real world, not only is Metaverse the future of gaming, it is also the game-changer for marketing, retail, sports and more industries.
For over a decade, businesses have wanted to push customers making buying decisions within a blink so badly. Fortunately, the rise of visual data displays and data visualization is helping to meet this need since our brain processes visual elements 60,000 times faster than plain words. The invention of the virtual world can give customers the option to easily shop, for example, consumers could visit a virtual storefront located on the Metaverse, touch the products while staying at home, and then instantly buy and convert.
According to Verified Market Research, the sports streaming market was worthed $18,119.35 million USD in 2020. To cater the growing interest among individuals related to sports, companies are so dedicated to making attendees feel like they are part of the one-of-a-kind experience. Thankfully, the technology of Metaverse is able to deliver the excitement of a live event to at-home audiences. Unity Metacast is already making progress – it can process around five million 3D pixels per second, moreover, viewing angles can be manipulated to any position without sacrificing detail, while the computer-generated images also avoid the ‘uncanny valley’ effect and collision detection issues.
As always, marketers have to keep up with the latest technological developments in order to give customers the most immersive experience. At a conceptual level, Metaverses will likely be less constrained by being tied to a specific theme or genre than traditional marketing channels, allowing for a wider range of product integrations. You can take reference from big names such as Vans and Gucci which had launched branded virtual collectibles and successfully generated a lot of noise.
Is it possible to build Metaverse with today’s technology?
At that moment, Metaverse is still at its early stage.
But good news to who are excited about the concept, existing technologies such as VR, NFTs and 5G have actually set a solid foundation for Metaverse’s further success – VR enables natural accommodation cues in 3D displays, NFTs proves it is possible to track ownership of virtual goods, 5G offers the speed and power for a massive digital world to function…
Though it is still unclear to what extent a true Metaverse, it is believed that as we continue to create new forms of connected devices, the Metaverse will become increasingly accessible.