Suppose one day, you woke up and found out that you are inside virtual reality space. Everyone is roaming around in their cartoon-like avatars, doing every activity that one can do in this world. The metaverse is trying to turn this into reality, from the comfort of our homes.
Meaning of the word ‘metaverse’
The word ‘metaverse’ is synonymous with multiverse which means a possibility of an infinite number of parallel universes in co-existence. The current state of affairs implies a highly immersive augmented reality space where people can work, play, meet up with friends from anywhere in the world, with an almost near to real experience.
The term was first coined by Neal Stephenson in his 1992 novel ‘Snow Crash’.Symbolically, ‘meta’ means ‘after’ in Greek, therefore metaverse means a world that goes beyond the real realm and transcends into a virtual realm.
Everyone by now most probably knows that Facebook has changed its name to “Meta” as it believes that meta-verse is going to be the next big thing on the internet. Heavy investments are being done to create the metaverse.
Is it the next biggest thing in the gaming world?
Gaming industries that mainly focus on providing a great user experience are already working on this concept. Roblox, Epic games have already started creating their meta-verse. Nvidia, Unity, Roblox are pioneers in building the infrastructure that might become the metaverse shortly.
But you can say wait! Doesn’t Fortnite already have virtual experiences like concerts and exhibits and in ‘War of Warcraft’ people can already sell and buy virtual goods. So, is metaverse just the next biggest gaming experience?
Yes, you are partly correct but it is not the only thing that metaverse provides.
In metaverse, you can experience heart-to-heart conversations with your friend in your favourite chai-tapri stall. It won’t be just your Zoom experience as you will be available to feel the touch of him with the use of gadgets that will let you feel their warmth, providing a close to reality experience.
Events taking place in the metaverse world
Roblox has successfully hosted Gucci’s 100th anniversary on meta platforms. Fortnite has also conducted virtual concerts of Marshemello, Travis Scott, and many other famous personalities of the music industry. Even restaurants like McDonald’s, Starbucks are building their presence on the metaverse to take it to the next level experience.
People who were following Shark tank India must be aware of the metaverse startup LOKA. It gave their pitch to the sharks as the first metaverse platform in India also shows how fast the concept is gaining popularity.
Suppose you want to attend the wedding of a very close friend. But unfortunately, he is based in the US and you neither have the time nor the money to give a visit to his wedding. That’s where metaverse comes in to provide a very close to a real experience of the wedding which everyone can attend irrespective of where they are present.
In the current technology of online meets, you need to find out who is even making an expression on your screens by searching in the small boxes that are hardly real. The avatars of people which can be personalized to one’s choice will solve this solution along with the visual appeal of the surrounding set up by technology.
Just like games where people buy accessories and skins, metaverse will provide everything from haircuts to party-wear customers to the avatar of the customers making it more real.
Characteristics of the metaverse
Decentralized– It isn’t owned by a corporation or a single person, but by every user of the platform who has major control over their data. Blockchain plays a significant part in this as all transactions are safe, public, and can be easily tracked.
Social experiences– Every participant in an augmented space takes part in experiences and helps in improving the metaverse through user-generated content, from virtual creations to personal stories and interactions with AI-driven avatars.
Persistent– A metaverse can’t be rebooted or reset, neither it has modded versions that games provide for cheats and hacks. Users can enter this world freely anytime and anywhere. The metaverse will continuously evolve from user-given inputs like content and experiences.Immersive- The use of VR headsets, AR goggles will provide a transcending immersive experience. It will be more interactive, where all human senses will be engaged to give a surreal experience to the user.
Non discriminative- Here, people will not be judged based on their looks and identity as one can give their avatar a personalized identity that suits them the best. No one will be discriminated against in this space based on their appearances or community culture and traditions.
Virtual Economy– Decentralized virtual currencies will ensure smooth transactions happening in the metaverse. People will be able to buy, sell, and exchange digital assets like event tickets, virtual clothing, and accessories of avatars. The list is endless.
Positive aspects of the metaverse
Metaverse is set to bring in web 3.0. The platform will be decentralized as it will be made with the help of Blockchain Technology (Public Blockchain). Thus it will be protecting user data to be controlled exclusively by software giants like Facebook and Google. It is sought as a solution to the existing problems of data privacy in the current web 2.0.
Refer to this article for more information about Blockchain : Blockchain Technology and Crypto Simplified
The work from home concept will get more real as taking virtual conferences will be more meaningful than its current state. Already, corporates like Walmart, have started setting up shops in the meta-verse showing how much belief they have put in this concept.
Now the concept doesn’t need to be only limited to our world. It can be extrapolated to experiences of space voyages, fantasy worlds, ancient medieval world, under oceanic experiences, and many more.
Metaverse will open new platforms for businesses as people will be able to buy products in metaverse too. People who let’s say are interested in real estate can buy/sell virtual plots in the metaverse. One will be available to buy yachts, houses, helicopters, even private jets in the meta-verse.
The world will truly become a global village if the project is successful. As people will be able to work in the metaverse, requirements of traveling will decrease leading to less pollution. The concept of time travel may also become alive just through the metaverse. And obviously, every benefit of online studying and working from home remains.
Concerns regarding the metaverse
Addiction: Youngsters nowadays already face the issue of increased screentime. People can’t keep track of their time while scrolling through Instagram reels, YouTube shorts, or Facebook posts just to name a few of the biggest distractions. In this highly engaging platform, this problem is only going to rise.
Internet, social media and video-game addiction can have mental and physical repercussions over a prolonged period. The sedentary lifestyle will lead to obesity and other cardiovascular diseases and may even lead to depression and anxiety issues. Experts also warn of the possibility of metaverse getting used as an escape from reality option.
Possible misuse of metaverse: If the platform is just used for the sheer hunger and greed of shrewd capitalists, then it can drastically affect the world. A prime visualization of this misuse of power was shown in the second episode of 1st season of The Black Mirror: Fifteen Million Merits (guys give it a watch, take it as a recommendation).
It gives a vivid demonstration of how our normal lives can be controlled through screens and technology where we will have to pay even to not see something that we have no interest in.
Shortcomings of the metaverse
Though the ambitions of man never stop rising, he often forgets to think about everyone in the community and ends up inventing something that may not be beneficial to the masses.
The metaverse requires a very high internet speed to run in its full glory or you will be only able to enjoy the metaverse just like when you play a high-end pc game in a potato pc in half the full graphic experience provided.
And though internet penetration has increased in recent years in India, not everyone has access to unlimited data which is a must for use of metaverse. As it can be seen, it will become a realm of the upper strata.
The most striking question is that do we really need to put so much energy into creating a new world where there is so much left to perfect? Isn’t it a scientific thriller to make you forget about worldly worries for a short span of time?
Hey folks, thats all for now. If you want to know about anything else, let us know in the comments. We will get back to you.
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