A look at the Metaverse
30.11.2021 • Просмотров:

A look at the Metaverse

By Decimal

The term “metaverse” was first used in Neil Stevenson’s 1991 science fiction novel Snow Crash. In it, the author describes the metaverse as a global virtual reality in which people are represented as avatars, and live their lives in a digital format, as in modern online games. However, the metaverse is not a comprehensive game, but rather a digital alternative to the physical world.

In an essay by Matthew Ball, published in 2020 and considered one of the most influential essays on the metaverse, the venture capitalist identifies seven main features:

  1. The metaverse will be permanent: that is, it will never “reboot”, “pause” or “end”, it will just continue indefinitely.
  2. It will be synchronous and alive: despite the fact that pre-planned and independent events will occur, as in “real life”, the metaverse will be a living experience that exists consistently and in real time for everyone.
  3. The number of simultaneous users will not be limited, and at the same time each user will feel an individual presence: everyone can be part of the metaverse and participate in a certain event or place of activity, at the same time and with individual responsibility.
  4. It will be a fully functioning economy: people and businesses will be able to create, own, invest, sell and be rewarded for an incredibly wide range of “work” that will create “value” recognized by others.
  5. It will be an experience covering both the digital and physical world, private and public networks, open and closed platforms.
  6. It will provide unprecedented compatibility of data, digital items/assets, content, etc. in all these applications: for example, a skin for weapons in Counter-Strike can be used to decorate weapons in Fortnite or to give to a friend via Facebook. Similarly, a car created for Rocket League (or even for the Porsche website) can be used in Roblox.

Today, the digital world basically behaves like a shopping mall, where each store uses its own currency, requires its own identifiers, has its own units of measurement for things like shoes or calories, and various dress codes.

  1. This world is populated by “content” and “experiences” created and managed by an incredible variety of participants, some of whom are independent individuals, while others may be informally organized groups or commercially oriented companies.

Ball expects metaverse to generate even more revenue than the web does today. It was this forecast that probably became the decisive factor that prompted Zuckerberg and Sweeney to enter this sphere so early. After all, just as Internet corporations were able to dethrone many classic companies, so the future success of the metaverse could lead to a lot of things changing in the real world, at least if Ball turns out to be right.

Working environment in the metaverse

With the exception of the transition to virtual reality, the metaverse will not be very different from today’s Internet. The only difference is that it will cover much more areas of our lives, changing the world of work even more.

“Although this work is usually routine, repetitive and limited to a few applications, the diversity and value of this work will grow along with the metaverse itself. Value is an important participant, if not the driving force, of such a system. Today there is no “owner” of the Internet, but almost all the leading Internet companies are among the ten most expensive public companies in the world”, Matthew explained.

As an example, Ball cites companies that already hire video gamers in poorer countries to earn in-game items, which are then sold to gamers from richer countries. The author assumes that the metaverse will bring even more income than the web brings today.

Leading companies recognize the potential of the metaverse

Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg, as well as Fortnite CEO Tim Sweeney and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella have recognized the potential of the metaverse, and are refocusing in this direction. Since Stevenson’s science fiction novel, various developments have become milestones on the way to a real metaverse – a virtual world on the Internet that includes augmented reality, virtual reality, three-dimensional holographic avatars, video and other means of communication.

As the metaverse expands, it will provide users with a hyperreal alternative world in which they can coexist. Hints of the metaverse already exist in the universes of online games such as Fortnite, Minecraft and Roblox. And the companies behind these games also have ambitions to participate in the development of the metaverse. By logging in to Coinmarketrate.com you will find more than one blockchain project working in this direction.

Self-determination instead of platform dependency

Many roads lead to the metaverse, and it doesn’t seem like a fad. Instead of using a Facebook login, to which the history of the physical world is probably tied, you can create new digital personalities, contextually expanding them in the metaverse. Transaction history and ownership of the relevant NFTs constitute an automatic and tamper-proof biography. The avatar reflects a digital personality, and can be dressed appropriately in the metaverse.

Identification as such does not depend on the platform, it, like objects and other things, is decentralized in the corresponding blockchain wallet of the owner. However, whether it will still be presented outside the platform or will contain the promised function depends on the way the NFT is created. A token of a certain standard (for example, ERC-721) can be moved, sold or destroyed by the wallet owner at any time without involving a third party.

Silicon Valley is positioning itself

Let’s take a brief look at Meta. The tech giant, formerly known as Facebook, has already made significant investments in virtual reality. Partially due to the acquisition of Oculus in 2014, Meta envisions a virtual world in which digital avatars use VR headsets to communicate with each other at work, while traveling or for entertainment. Zuckerberg expressed optimism about the metaverse, and believes that it can replace the Internet as we know it.:

“The next platform and the next medium will be an even more immersive and embodied internet, where you get an experience rather than just looking at it, and we call it the metaverse”

Meta’s Silicon Valley competitors have also recognized the potential of the metaverse. Software giant Microsoft is already using holograms and developing mixed and augmented reality (XR) applications using its Microsoft Mesh platform, which complements the real world by combining it with things from virtual reality.

Earlier, Microsoft announced plans to introduce mixed reality, including holograms and virtual avatars, to Microsoft Teams in 2022. Next year, it is also planned to develop three-dimensional virtual spaces for retail and workplaces.

Currently, the US Army is working with Microsoft on an augmented reality headset Hololens 2, which soldiers will be able to use for training, rehearsals and combat operations. In addition, Xbox Live already unites millions of video game fans around the world.

When will the metaverse come?

In principle, it already exists, but at the moment it is probably useful or even exciting only for people who are interested in technology and powerful computing devices. The cost of modern VR headsets for moving in the metaverse is more than $600. More versatile are sets with input devices that encourage creative people to transfer their own creations to the metaverse.

According to estimates by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, it may take from five to ten years for the most important functions of the metaverse to become universally recognized. Some aspects of the metaverse already exist. Ultra-fast broadband, virtual reality headsets and permanent online worlds are already working, although they may not be available to everyone.

Thus, the release of the metaverse to the general public is a matter of the near future.