The term metaverse has made so many waves around the world. Although few people are still ignorant of the term, it has changed the world in so many ways. In this guide, we shall discuss the topic of the metaverse and its uses. It would help a great deal if you take time to read through this guide keenly.
What is the Metaverse?
The Metaverse is a collection of every virtual world built using blockchain technology. They can be gaming planets or NFT galleries, created lands, or digital streets.
The main thing to always remember when you think about the Metaverse is that it is not one place. It is the aggregate of the new digital spaces that people are calling the next iteration of the internet.
Media companies, music publishers, sportswear brands, and cryptocurrency analytics platforms all have a presence in the Metaverse. So too do rock stars, rappers, Care Bears, and Smurfs. So it’s a broad church and there’s room for everyone.
What makes the Metaverse different from online social platforms like Second Life and Minecraft lies in the space between centralization and decentralization.
Those earlier iterations of digital spaces were tightly controlled by a single company from their own servers. Each time you left their world and went to a different one, you needed to sign up with a new identity.
The Metaverse allows you to use a single identity to travel across and through the growing network of virtual landscapes. This makes it more like a mirror of the real world. When you travel to new towns, cities, and countries, you don’t need a new passport every time you arrive at a new destination.
What is the difference between the internet and the metaverse?
The internet is a network of billions of computers, millions of servers, and other electronic devices. Once online, internet users can communicate with each other, view and interact with websites, and buy and sell goods and services.
The metaverse doesn’t compete with the internet it builds on it. In the metaverse, users traverse a virtual world that mimics aspects of the physical world using such technologies as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), AI, social media, and digital currency. The internet is something that people “browse.” But, to a degree, people can “live” in the metaverse.
Even governments may extend their reach into the metaverse. For example, while most countries have a relatively static presence on the internet, Barbados plans to open a diplomatic embassy in the metaverse — specifically, the online world Decentraland.
The growth of the internet has spawned many services that are leading the way to the creation of the metaverse.
Metaverse Terms to Know
A virtual world is a simulated environment that can be accessed by many users who can explore the world simultaneously and independently through the use of an avatar. The virtual world presents perceptual data to the user while also including the real-time action and communication of other users along with their movements.
Massive multiplayer online games use virtual worlds to allow players to do things like build and travel between spaces within the world. Proponents of the metaverse believe virtual worlds can have applications outside gaming including in things like collaboration software and medical care. Virtual worlds are also sometimes called synthetic worlds.
Virtual reality is a simulated experience that’s usually provided by a virtual reality headset that projects realistic images, sounds, and other sensations to a user within a virtual environment. Virtual reality is currently used for video games but could be used for virtual meetings, medical training, or military training. A person who is using virtual reality equipment is able to do things like look around a virtual world, move, and interact with objects and other users.
Mixed reality is the integration of real and virtual worlds to create new ways to interact with physical and digital spaces and other users. In mixed reality, you are not solely in the virtual world or entirely in the real world but somewhere along the ‘virtuality continuum’ between the real and virtual environments.
Examples of mixed reality are place-specific simulations such as 3D representations of charts or concepts projected to virtual reality headsets or glasses in a university lecture or the use of augmented reality in Pokemon Go where users could see the Pokemon they found in the real world via their mobile device’s camera. Mixed reality has applications for video games, education, military training, healthcare, and the integration of humans and robotics.
Augmented reality is similar to mixed reality in that it creates an interactive way to experience real-world environments. Augmented reality often enhances the real world through digital sensory additions such as visuals, sounds, sensory data, or olfactory data.
Augmented reality features integration of real and virtual worlds, real-time interaction, and 3D visualizations of both virtual and real objects. An example of how it might be used is to allow shoppers to visualize a product they are considering in an environment that resembles their home.
Nonfungible tokens (NFTs)
NFTS play a big role in the usefulness and popularity of the metaverse. NFTs are a secure type of digital asset based on the same blockchain technology used by cryptocurrency. Instead of currency, an NFT can represent a piece of art, a song, or digital real estate. An NFT gives the owner a kind of digital deed or proof of ownership that can be bought or sold in the metaverse.
The term ‘virtual economy’ was first used to refer to the exchange or sale of virtual goods within online games, particularly massively multiplayer online games. In some of these games, players can buy things from each other and exchange real money for game-based money.
However, virtual economies can also now incorporate cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens. Many believe that social media companies and other corporations might create their own virtual currencies in the future, although regulators might put limitations on their capacity to do so.
Benefits of Metaverse?
With the tremendous growth of telecommuting, people mostly rely on virtual spaces and digital modes of communication like video and web conferencing to socialize and interact online.
Take the existing digital experience to next level, the Metaverse brings a wide range of real-world capabilities to users in a 3D immersive world. Following are the key advantages the Metaverse brings to us.
A World Without Limitations
In the digital sphere of the Meta, the world is similar to the world they encounter daily. In video games, players experience building, driving, shooting, enacting stories, and living game actors’ lives. Games like GTA 5 provide a real-time simulation for players, but the players cannot feel or touch the environment in the game. Within the metaverse, players will feel the 3D virtual world, where they can wander and perform several activities.
Solving the Remote Work Challenges
During the pandemic, the majority of people working in the IT sector worked from home, but this lacked real-life interactions between employers and employees. With the metaverse apps, managers can interact with their employees likewise in the real world, while staying in a virtual world. Similarly, doctors can also interact with their patients virtually.
New Opportunities For Businesses And Marketers
Meta is developing a better version of social media platforms, which will also open up opportunities for businesses and marketers. Businesses can provide real-time interaction for customers to try different clothes and accessories with avatars and bring Virtual Reality closer to real life.
Great tool for healthcare professionals
Metaverse is a boom for healthcare and medical professional staff who were previously unable to visit the patients due to geographical limitations. In the virtual world, they get to interact with the patient and have a clear insight into their health condition.
Providing the experience of virtual tours
Travelling is an adventure, but everyone can’t travel around the world. That’s where the Metaverse comes true. It allows people to visit places virtually where they can’t go physically. By utilizing the combined power of Metaverse, AR, and VR with the advanced virtual world is being developed and offers a first-person experience to the users.
Demerits of the Metaverse
Cybercrime is a serious problem that has plagued the internet ever since it existed. Governments have spent millions of dollars and years fighting to combat it, which has helped strengthen the security levels of our current internet systems.
However, since the metaverse is a new concept, it still doesn’t enjoy these sophisticated cyber security levels. This makes it extremely vulnerable to all sorts of illegal activities, such as fraud, money laundering, child exploitation, illegal goods, services trafficking, and cyberattacks, to name a few.
Another reason for concern is the fact that due to the decentralized aspect of the metaverse, governments don’t have much power to fight and counter cybercrime.
Negative impact on cultures and societies
One disadvantage of bringing everyone so close together, and fusing the different cultures of the world into one is losing the beautiful cultural diversity currently present in the world.
If people are going to be spending the majority of their time in the metaverse, they will no longer feel connected to their small immediate society, and won’t feel the need to embrace their own local or regional culture.
This may eventually lead to the end of many traditions that have existed since the beginning of mankind, and will likely create a new society, although unifying and all-encompassing, it may end up stale and uninteresting.
Similar to gaming, addiction can become an issue. Some argue that there is a bigger addiction risk with the metaverse, as you’re fully immersed in a virtual world. Besides your essential physical needs like eating and sleeping, you don’t need to leave your VR setup.
Kids and teenagers are the most at risk, as experts suggest that exposing individuals under the age of 18 to the metaverse and letting them spend too much time in it will cause some serious harm to their development.
Losing connection with the physical world
One major concern that many people have about the metaverse is how easy it is to lose track of time while you’re in it. As your senses are basically disabled, or to be put in another way, they’re connected to the virtual world instead of the real world.
People who are exposed to the metaverse for too long might lose their attachment to reality and may go beyond that—to not wanting to acknowledge the existence of a world besides the virtual one.
Privacy and security issues
Privacy has always been a concern on the internet, with people unaware of their data being collected and sold to advertisers, among many other things.
What makes these concerns worse is the fact that Meta is leading the charge towards the new metaverse. Considering their previous history with privacy concerns of their users, that doesn’t simply fade away with their name change.
Uses of Metaverse Today
- Facebook/Meta Platforms
- Nvidia Corp.
- Epic Games
- Medical Learning
In conclusion, the metaverse has brought a whole lot of change to our world. Interestingly, in time to come, there would be improvements that would leave us all in awe. It is best you learn the metaverse now, so you can get accustomed to the way it operates.