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The Metaverse: A New Virtual World to Live In?

Mike Ermolaev   Feb 15, 2022 16:00 0 Min Read


   

We are witnessing the rise of the metaverse era that will have an impact on entertainment, education, financial services, and perhaps all aspects of our everyday lives.

What Is The Metaverse?

The metaverse is still in its infancy, much like the internet in the mid-1990s. You may be surprised to learn that the most accurate definition of the metaverse was given long ago, before we even knew it existed.

According to the Metaverse Roadmap, which was released by the Acceleration Studies Foundation in 2008, there are four broad categories of the metaverse:

  • An immersive virtual world with a seamless storyline 

  • A mirror world that reflects the current reality

  • An augmented reality that combines real world and augmented data, where the metaverse acts as an extension of real life 

  • Lifelogging, which is a way of capturing and storing information about people and things in everyday life

In a nutshell, the metaverse is a virtual environment where avatars can play, work, shop, or otherwise experience the digital world using Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and other technologies.

Imagine jumping off the world's highest cliff in New Zealand’s Queenstown, swimming with Great White sharks in South Africa’s Cape Town, or biking on Bolivia's Death Road — all from the comfort of your room. In the near future, there will supposedly be no limitation to what can be done in the metaverse. When fully realized, the metaverse will provide lifelike sounds, sights, and even smells.

The term metaverse was first used in 1992 in a science fiction novel Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. However, it was only when Facebook rebranded as Meta that the concept began to be seriously discussed. Moreover, Facebook announced it would hire 10,000 people to develop its metaverse — what is it if it isn't the next big thing?

The following are only a few aspects in which the metaverse can be used.

Blockchain Games 

Gamers are embracing the metaverse in droves, having already taken on avatars and become involved in various virtual adventures.

Metaverse games have spread like wildfire during the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the most popular metaverse games are The Sandbox, Axie Infinity, Splinterlands, Alien Worlds, Defi Degen Land, etc.  

The GameFi concept, which combines DeFi and P2E blockchain gaming within the metaverse, attracted many users. By passing ownership of assets to players, this ecosystem offers economic benefits as well as incentives for loyalty and engagement. Meanwhile, as games become more popular, tokens powering the games also grow in value, boosting the total market capitalization of cryptocurrencies. 

To encourage sceptical players to try the metaverse, Microsoft plans to acquire Call of Duty and World of Warcraft maker Activision Blizzard for $69 billion, which would be its biggest all-cash acquisition ever.  

Interestingly, one of the key promises of the metaverse is its independence from platforms. For example, you will be able to seamlessly transfer any item you bought for your avatar in one game to whatever other games you want to play.

NFTs

Most people would consider NFTs to be pictures of digital artwork or collectibles they can sell for huge sums. However, the most promising application of NFTs is in metaverses.

What exactly is a NFT? A non-fungible token is any digital asset with proof of ownership stored on a blockchain, such as artwork, logos, photos, gaming assets, or other assets. By the way, the NFT function has just been added to our NOW Wallet

While NFTs are still relatively new and controversial, their advantages are nearly as great as the criticism they receive. They have unique identification codes that can't be duplicated, and are usually purchased with cryptocurrency, making some of them extremely valuable.

A good example of NFTs and metaverses coming together is Decentraland, which lets users invest in property in the metaverse using LAND tokens. Ownership of a property can be transferred to another metaverse denizen, granting them all the rights to it.

Furthermore, NFTs can be used to control access to the metaverse using smart contracts. With NFTs, real-world identities can be tied to digital avatars to access the metaverse and its events. With NFT-controlled access, it is already possible to access real-life events.

NFTs can be connected to a wide range of experiences, which will be infused with a host of incredible features made possible by blockchain. Clearly, the metaverse and NFTs were made to complement each other. 

New Horizons of Virtual Worlds

The metaverse extends beyond our current online environment. We could experience a major transformation in our social interactions, business relationships, and the internet economy in general. Despite the metaverse's early stages, we can already see a glimpse of what it may become.

Virtual Property

It may seem strange to own land that does not physically exist. Nevertheless, a recent example of a user paying $450,000 to be Snoop Dogg's neighbor in The Sandbox proves people will do this.

You might be able to understand this by comparing it to purchasing a full-page advertisement in a popular magazine or TV program. By owning virtual land, you can start a business, host online events, or rent it out to others.

Art Galleries

Sotheby's, for instance, built a replica of its iconic New Bond Street Galleries in Decentraland, where artists showcase and sell their digital NFT art at auction.

Marketing

Nike has done an excellent job of promoting its brand in the metaverse. It was the first major brand to launch its Nikeland virtual world on Roblox, where fans can decorate their avatars in Nike clothing and sneakers.

As part of its ongoing digital transformation, the company recently acquired RTFKT, an NFT startup focused on collectible items. RTFKT has already released various wearables, including NFTs, for use in Decentraland.

Market potential for Decentraland Wearables is huge, and it has a lot of room to grow. As of today, there are 71,055 tokens owned by 10,262 owners.

Adidas has also been at the forefront of NFTs. It made $23 million in several hours after unveiling its first “Into the Metaverse” NFT collection in December 2021. To create the NFTs, the footwear giant worked with Bored Ape Yacht Club, Punks Comics, and GMoney. It's unlikely that the first NFT collection launch will be Adidas' last, given the success they had with it.

In the same vein, Samsung Electronics America opened a virtual version of its flagship 837 physical store in Decentraland for users to explore the new experiences made possible by Samsung technology.

Immersive Workspaces

Virtual offices go beyond Zoom and Slack – some companies are building them literally. For example, Binance.US is building a space in Portals – the Solana-based metaverse platform – where users can get the latest news, charts, and events virtually. 

This year, Microsoft will bring mixed reality capabilities to Microsoft Teams through Mesh, its collaborative platform for virtual experiences. This will work with or without a VR headset and will allow the use of 3D animated avatars. Companies will be able to create their own metaverses within Teams.

Recently, Nvidia demonstrated another astounding example of what virtual collaborative meetings can look like in the metaverse. In Omniverse, Nvidia's open-source platform that allows users to build virtual worlds, a ray-traced avatar of Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang moved around in a simulated room and made facial expressions. But the most exciting part was that Jensen wasn't operating it himself – conversational AI responded to questions the way Huang would using his voice. 

Virtual Concerts 

Warner Music Group (WMG) announced plans to bring music-themed attractions to The Sandbox, which will feature concerts and musical performances by the company's stars. In March 2022, The Sandbox will sell 'LANDS' adjacent to the WMG property to celebrate the occasion.

Earlier examples of virtual concerts include a multi-day virtual music festival organized by Decentraland that hosted over 80 artists and live performances by Snoop Dog in The Sandbox.

Bottom Line 

The metaverse is here to stay. The digital transformation that's currently taking place is seen as the next big development in the evolution of the internet. It opens the way for a future where social interactions, communications, enterprise collaboration, financial transactions, and almost all activities will happen in the metaverse. The world is moving a lot closer to becoming a virtual reality. How do you feel about living in a digital world?

 

 


Image source: pexels.com


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