Lately, almost everyone may have heard of the word Metaverse used in a way or another. The word may sound strange or seem like something abstract, but it is not that far away from us or our reality as we know it. This post will delve into it and try to explain it in its basic terms and what it should mean to us.
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Metaverse is a combination of two words; Meta which means “after” or “beyond”, and Verse, derived from the wordi “Universe”. A metaverse means beyond the universe or reality. Investopedia describes a metaverse as a digital reality that combines aspects of social media, online gaming, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and cryptocurrencies to allow users to interact virtually.
When technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are merged, a shared virtual environment is created that users may access over the internet. Some people also use the term metaverse to refer to virtual environments like games in which players may roam around and interact with other players.
Simply described, it is the fusion of virtually improved physical reality with physically persistent virtual space, including all virtual worlds, augmented reality, and the Internet.
Why is it suddenly a big thing?
Lately, there is a lot of noise about metaverse especially among investors and major tech companies because post-COVID-19 showed how much easier things will be when it becomes a reality.
As more individuals worked from home and went to school online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, interest in the metaverse grew. Even in a post-COVID world, there are fears that the metaverse will make it even simpler for individuals to spend time apart.
In addition, current advances in virtual reality games and networking show the technology is available for it to happen.
No one wants to be left behind if it turns out to be the internet’s future. There is also a sense that, for the first time, the technology is almost there, with advances in virtual reality games and networking approaching what is needed.
A number of people and tech companies have expressed interest in the field and have even gone ahead to start making investments to research more about the technology. From firms with virtual reality products to social networking platforms, the interest in merging the virtual augmented and digital realities is keenly competed for by many.
Roblox, Amazon, DoorDash, Microsoft and Robinhood are a few companies that have pitched in money to invest in metaverse development and technologies. Microsoft as well has suggested and given hints about exploring the ecosystem.
Facebook and Zuckerberg
Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, has in recent times expressed his interest in the metaverse, especially after Oculus joined the number of firms he owns. Oculus is a virtual reality technology firm.
With the interconnectivity of his various platform: Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, he hinted that the next phase for him is to give customers more than just the smooth sail between the apps. He wants to create virtual environments that he believes will change the human experience.
In August, Mark Zuckerberg on a CBS show demonstrated how to use the Oculus Quest 2 headset to have a meeting with others in a virtual workspace with live avatars of one another. The leader of Facebook – now Meta, is hoping to change the phase of human interaction through technology through the use of the metaverse.
The investments of Zuckerberg have gone into billions of dollars in the creation of this metaverse. With the rebranding to be called Meta, the chairman and CEO of Meta has solidified his position as the leading investor in the metaverse, and hopefully soon, we shall see what he speaks about become a reality.
One of the world’s leaders in technology, Microsoft, has also started putting efforts into branching into the metaverse. Its product, Microsoft Mesh leads the way in this capacity.
Mesh is a revolutionary mixed-reality platform that enables individuals in various physical places to participate in interactive and shared holographic experiences on a variety of devices, including VR headsets, mobile phones, tablets, PCs, and any Mesh-enabled software.
The idea is to make clients feel as if they are in the same room with someone who is sharing material or there with others even if they are not physically present by using any gadget.
People will be able to express themselves as avatars in shared virtual experiences using Mesh, and then project themselves as their most lifelike selves over time.
Microsoft plans to create a platform that allows users to digitally trace and monitor everything that happens in a real-world setting such as warehouses, factories, and shops.
After metaverse, what next?
The coming of the metaverse means a 180-degree transformation of how we interact and share information with one another. In that space, one would just need a pair of digital glasses to zoom right into a world where they can work, shop, have fun, and possibly live without having to move around much.
If the movie, Matrix, is anything to go by, we will transcend what we know currently as reality into a different realm where what is physical is only a thought away. Though many are yet to talk about the impact on the human brain and its adverse effects, the advantages of a metaverse seem to outweigh many other options.