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Imagine a virtual world where people can live, work, shop, and socialise all from the comfort of their own home. This is referred to as the metaverse.
The term “metaverse” didn’t catch on until October 2021, when Facebook changed its name to Meta. The company announced at the time that it will invest $10 billion in technologies over the next year to achieve its metaverse ambition.
The metaverse is supposed to be the next stage in the internet’s evolution. Gaming, online communities, and business meetings in which participants interact with a digital replica or avatar of themselves are just a few examples.
In the metaverse, avatars are used to represent oneself, connect with others, and create a virtual community. In the metaverse, digital money is used to buy clothing, weaponry, and shielding in video games, among other things. Users can also utilise a virtual reality headset and controllers to go on a leisurely stroll around the metaverse with no particular goal in mind.
The internet is a vast network of computers, servers, and other electronic devices that connects billions of people across the world. Users can chat with one another, see and engage with websites, and purchase and sell products and services once they are online.
The metaverse complements rather than competes with the internet. Users in the metaverse employ virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), artificial intelligence (AI), social media, and digital currency to navigate a virtual world that mimics aspects of the physical world. The internet is a place where people go to “browse.” People can, nevertheless, “live” in the metaverse to some extent.
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Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, released an open letter in which he defined his company’s metaverse investment as a “fundamental change” that was part of a new vision to “bring the metaverse to life.”
He also remarked that Facebook is more of a metaverse-first company than a Facebook-first one. This is an important change since it means that in the future, users will not need a Facebook account to access other metaverse services. Facebook has already sold millions of Oculus VR headgear units, as well as other non-Facebook things, to navigate the metaverse.
Following the revelation of the Meta news in late 2021, Facebook launched Horizon Worlds, a virtual reality realm that users can explore as an avatar and tools for developers to create new virtual worlds.
Epic Games, the creators of the famous online shooter game series Fortnite — which has 350 million users — and the Unreal Engine software for game developers, sought to establish a claim in the metaverse after obtaining $1 billion in funding in 2021. Sony Group Corporation provided $200 million to the cause.
Epic Games’ vision of the metaverse varies from Facebook’s in that it aims to create a social environment where users may connect with one another and brands without being bombarded with advertisements in their news feed.
Microsoft Teams, the software giant’s online meeting competitor to Zoom, is getting the metaverse treatment. According to Microsoft, Mesh for Microsoft Teams will be available in 2022. The new technology allows Team members in various physical locations to collaborate and share holographic experiences during virtual meetings.
Mesh, according to Microsoft, will allow users to create a virtual presence on any device by employing a personalised avatar of themselves. Mesh for Microsoft, a developer platform that contains a suite of AI-powered tools for avatars, session management, spatial rendering, synchronisation across many users, and “holoportation,” was previously announced. Holoportation is a real-time 3D reconstruction and transmission technique that allows users to reconstruct and transfer high-quality 3D models of themselves.
Microsoft and Accenture have already been working together to develop Mesh-enabled immersive environments. Accenture hires over 100,000 workers each year and uses Mesh to assist with onboarding.
Nonfungible tokens (NFTs) are expected to play a significant part in the metaverse’s utility and popularity. NFTs are a type of secure digital asset that works on the same blockchain as cryptocurrency. Instead of currency, an NFT might be used to represent a work of art, music, or digital real estate. A digital deed or proof of ownership is given to the owner of an NFT, which can be bought or sold in the metaverse.
While the metaverse has given new enterprises like Metaverse Properties the opportunity to sell digital items, existing brick and mortar businesses are also getting involved. Nike, for example, bought RTFKT, a company that uses NFTs, blockchain authentication, and augmented reality to create one-of-a-kind virtual footwear and digital artefacts. RTFKT describes itself as “born on the metaverse, and this has shaped its feel to this day” on its website.
“The foundation for digital ownership is laid by NFTs and blockchain,” said Nick Donarski, CEO of ORE System, an online community of gamers, content providers, and game developers. “Ownership of one’s real-world identity will extend to the metaverse, and NFTs will serve as the vehicle for this.”