The metaverse is on its way: This is what you need to know
The metaverse, which is the next step in the internet’s evolution, has been a topic of discussion in the tech industry, and its potential impact on human life has generated buzz. The metaverse refers to digital worlds where people can come together, work, play, and interact with one another. It could take different forms, with some spaces being immersive 3D experiences that require advanced technology like fancy goggles, while others will be accessible through regular computer screens. Although the word has been in flux lately and may continue to evolve and change, interest in the concept keeps growing across various sectors like gaming, NFTs, and shopping.
The buzz surrounding the metaverse has led to some major moves in the tech world. Microsoft’s acquisition of ActivisionBlizzard for $69 billion was said to be part of their expansion into the metaverse. Facebook has also rebranded itself as “Meta” to reflect its ambition to play a central role in this innovative new world. Games like Rec Room, Minecraft and Roblox are often mentioned in discussions of what the metaverse could look like in the near future. While there is no guarantee that all of these changes will come to fruition, the possibilities for the future of the internet and human interaction are certainly intriguing.
The concept of the metaverse has been around for quite some time, dating back several decades. It encompasses advanced technological concepts such as virtual reality, augmented reality, and 3D computing, which have been around for even longer. However, what has changed is the way this technology is being put to use, with a renewed emphasis on reimagining the internet as we know it. The current surge of interest in the metaverse is simply another peak in the ongoing effort to make these futuristic advances accessible to everyone.
The extent of these changes and their impact remains unpredictable, as the roadmap for the metaverse is still a work in progress, with only a half-paved foundation. Despite this, corporations such as Microsoft, Meta, Qualcomm, Nvidia, Valve, Epic, HTC, and Apple are already imagining new ways to connect people online and exploring the potential of the metaverse. This means that when it comes to the metaverse, more fascinating developments are guaranteed to be forthcoming in the coming years.
What is the metaverse?
The concept of the metaverse can be difficult to understand and define in concrete terms. It is an evolutionary extension of the internet that allows for virtual spaces where individuals can connect, work, and play using avatars. Unlike other online experiences like Zoom calls, these shared spaces are always available and don’t disappear once you log off. Some argue that the metaverse already exists within popular gaming platforms like Minecraft, Roblox, and Fortnite, and even within the two-decade-old social and gaming platform, Second Life, which is currently undergoing a revamp.
However, innovators like Mark Zuckerberg, Satya Nadella, and other proponents of the metaverse are envisioning a much deeper, more immersive experience. They see the possibility of creating a 3D virtual world that can be accessed through VR headsets, mobile devices, personal computers, and cloud-connected servers. While it’s unclear whether VR or AR will be necessary to enter the metaverse, as the two technologies are intrinsically linked, it’s likely that a new wave of advanced VR and mixed reality headsets will soon be released on the market by tech giants like Meta, Sony, and Apple, among others.
The metaverse, a virtual world that is predicted to mirror our physical lives, has become a topic of interest for many. It is expected to have digital neighborhoods, parks and clubs, either in a single virtual world or dispersed across multiple ones. A few enthusiasts suggest a metaverse that overlaps with the physical world and includes augmented reality (AR) overlays, while investors have already indulged in purchasing virtual land. Even Barbados has spoken about having an embassy in the metaverse, proving the popularity of the idea. However, there are cynics who doubt that the metaverse will match the high expectations set by thought leaders such as Mark Zuckerberg, given the limited capability of current cumbersome headset technology required for the most thrilling aspects of the metaverse. Critics also believe tech giants have not yet figured out how to tackle issues of hate speech, misinformation, and bullying already rampant on the web. Therefore, managing these challenges in an unbridled metaverse could be difficult, according to them.