In the past few days when you open your Facebook, Instagram or Whatsapp apps, you might be seeing “From Meta”. This is due to the Facebook parent company rebranding itself to Meta in an effort to accelerate the growth of the metaverse.
It’s not just Facebook or Meta, other Tech Titans like Google and Microsoft are also betting heavily in the metaverse. Why are they investing in the metaverse? So what is it, how does it work and what do the future look like?
Once you understand what metaverse can become, the question of Why they are investing in metaverse will be clear, fully or partially.
Metaverse is a virtual or semi-virtual world that can be accessed using Virtual and/or augmented reality headsets, each giving a different experience.
To explain the concept further, I will use a recent Disney+ Movie, Free Guy. In the movie, there is a video game (Movie is mostly the game) that users can access, through which they will enter a virtual world, where they can do whatever they want. They can walk around the street, they have a bank account with currency(Crypto or Digital currency), using which they can buy anything(From virtual stores) and more. Each user will have an Avatar(virtual you) and can change skins(Dresses, hairstyles, makeovers etc) and can interact with each other and with virtual people(they are artificial intelligence)
Now imagine a virtual world environment, which you can access, walk around, meet friends, buy anything you want, but that will get delivered to your real home or that you can consume digitally (Digital Contents). You can walk into a virtual multiplex with your friends and watch movies with them. Basically everything we do socially, but in a virtual world that will feel closer to the real world. You can even have a virtual work or study environment and interact with colleagues and classmates. Take a virtual vacation to anywhere in the world by being in your living room with your friends on 4 continents.
That is what a Metaverse will be. And some of it is already happening. You should consider this like the 90s of the Internet, but the growth of the metaverse will be much faster.
Metaverse will use virtual and augmented reality, web 3.0 and blockchain. The blockchain part is what will make this interesting and different from the internet world or Interverse, as I call it. Actually, on the internet, the only thing that you actually own or can own in your own name is a domain name. The rest, Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, Gmail or any other accounts are actually owned by the respective companies. In a metaverse, you can own much more. Anything that you buy will be yours using the blockchain NFTs. Explaining this will take longer and the idea is that in a Metaverse, you can own digital creations and every time someone buys your creations, you and any intermediaries if any will make money as your NFT will identify you as the original owner of the content.
On the business side, imagine a virtual supermarket, where you can walk in using your avatar, buy what you need and the real goods will get delivered to your home within minutes. Instead of taking the long commute suffering the traffic jams/rush, you can enter a meeting room in the metaverse with your colleagues or classmates and interact with each other. Other users can buy your digital creations (NFT) directly or indirectly helping you to make money.
The augmented reality-based metaverses could have a more immediate impact as it interacts and augment with the real world. Once these metaverses take off, we will be living in our Universe, Interverse (Current Internet tech) and in Metaverses of our choice. I first saw a desktop computer in 1995, in my school computer lab. No one could have guessed the giant leaps technology took in the span of just two decades. Maybe in the next two decades, we will see the growth of metaverses around us.