As I have previously described in some of my articles, the Metaverse is a network of virtual 3D worlds with a focus on social interaction that is a development of traditional social media. The metaverse is a simulated digital environment that includes 3D worlds, augmented reality (AR glasses), virtual reality (VR headsets), smartphone apps, blockchain, and various Internet and social media concepts. It creates a user experience that is similar to that of the real world. The term “metaverse” was first used in Neal Stephenson’s 1992 science fiction novel “Snow Crash.”
Avatars, digital representations of people, can interact with each other in a variety of ways and in different places thanks to the advances in technology. The Metaverse provides a space for interconnected virtual communities, whether at work, an office, a concert, a sporting event, or while trying on clothes.
What characterizes metaverse:
- Users are constantly online
- Interaction takes place in real-time
- It is a mix of different platforms
- User-generated content
It is primarily millennia and Gen Z that are the target market and go crazy for technology. These generations are users of certain forms of the metaverse, such as computer games like Roblox and technologies like VR.
Payment systems and new currencies are used that are based on cryptocurrency
Participants in the Metaverse can participate in decentralized virtual economies powered by cryptocurrency. Marketplaces where users can buy, sell, and exchange items and digital assets such as avatars, virtual clothes, NFTs, and event tickets are examples of this.
Rush around land sales in the metaverse
Land sales in the Metaverse increased to $501 million last year, and are expected to reach $1 billion by the end of 2022. However, in a fully digital world, such a high number brings the question of whether there are sales critics and whether digital assets can be valued at such levels. Investors may be caught in a bubble of questionable returns as the industry grows to an expected $82 billion by 2025.
NFT (Non-Fungible Token) is a key concept that many people are testing and that is used by artists and other communities. Evedome, Sandbox, Decentraland, Cryptovoxels, and Somnium, which run their own virtual worlds, sell the majority of the lands in the Metaverse. Sandbox, based in Hong Kong, believes that virtual real estate will be a valuable asset. The land is sold in the form of NFT tokens that give the buyer digital ownership of these digital assets. On the five platforms, the 300,000 packages are regularly sold for tens of thousands of dollars, with a record of 4.3 million US dollars. Only time will tell how this market will evolve and how big it will become.
Examples of metaverse solutions
Meta (the parent company formerly known as Facebook) has launched Horizon Worlds, a social media platform for virtual reality that can be used by Oculus Quest. Horizon Worlds allows up to 20 avatars to meet at once to explore, socialize, and build in the virtual space, which is similar to Minecraft. To put the technology to the test, you’ll need an Oculus 2 headset and an Oculus account. After that, you’ll need to sign up for a Facebook Horizon account and create an avatar in the Oculus Home Dashboard. Meta has also acquired the company Customer which has a customer communication dashboard.
There are also several games with metaverse-like elements on their platforms. One of the most popular games is Fortnite in which you compete with your personal avatar and can buy clothes in the game’s virtual store using V-bucks, the game’s own currency. V-bucks can be purchased with money or earned through various tasks. Players can use V-bucks to buy in-game items such as clothes, emotes, pickaxes, gliders, and the season’s Battle Pass.
A recent collaboration also has been announced between Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN and Everdome, the world’s first hyper-realistic metaverse. In this collaboration, Everdome will provide Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN with the most powerful metaverse where fans and the wider racing community can interact with the team and brand in the team’s real estate.
Nintendo’s TV game series Animal Crossing will hold concerts in their games, and Warner Music, the world’s largest music company, will build a theme park in the metaverse. Sandbox, an ecosystem built on the Ethereum-based metaverse and gaming platform, will be used by Warner. Gucci, Nike, Disney, Snap, and Facebook are among the major brands that are developing virtual communities, content, assets, fashion, art, experiences, and worlds.
But how should a company relate to all this? What role models are there and where should you start?
My best advice is not to wait; the metaverse is being built right now, and those who get in early can help build the framework if they want, or position themselves correctly against the competition. Everyone will need to relate to the metaverse; development occurs whether you choose to participate or not. The choice is to be a part of it or to stand by and watch. My advice is to begin to research the metaverse right now and see how your company can best adapt to it.
Three ways to get to know metaverse
It’s easy to become abstract when discussing the metaverse, but here are three ways to get your brain working and start exploring the possibilities.
Try virtual reality for yourself. Virtual reality has been around for a while, but both technology and content have placed constraints on what can be done. There are now VR glasses with accessories that allow you to move in the tank to completely different environments and content, ranging from games to full-scale simulations of work environments. Take the time to experiment and consider where your company fits into that world.
Discover the possibilities with augmented reality. Your smartphone can open the door to a completely new perspective about the world you live in. The field of augmented reality (AR) is rapidly evolving. AR solutions are available in tens of thousands of apps that can do everything from calculating distance and furnishing to trying out new hairstyles. How can you put this technology to use in your business?
Think about a concept, for example, a sports chain or a fashion brand broadcast on Facebook or Instagram Live. As a consumer, you then have the opportunity to learn more about the products, ask questions from experts and buy directly online. Live shopping is expected to be an important part of the metaverse where you should be able to buy products and services regardless of which digital environment you are in.
One thing is certain, the Metaverse isn’t a fad; it’s here to stay, and there are plenty of opportunities in this brave new world.