Facebook recently announced a name change. Mark Zuckerberg renamed the company, Meta.
The company explained that they are going to pursue an augmented reality called metaverse. The exact words were “bring the metaverse to life and help people connect, find communities and grow businesses.”
Since October 2021 it has caused a frenzy among the technology industry. The news and hype become even louder since the name change officially happened from Facebook to Meta.
Mark Zuckerberg explained that Metaverse would take 10-15 years and that the company will spend USD 5 Billion to hire 10,000 European employees and on the concept. He termed that Metaverse is the future of Facebook.
Features of the Metaverse
Mark Zuckerberg and the team introduced the augmented reality platform in a detailed Facebook connect keynote session. They went through every aspect of what the metaverse will be in the video.
The defining quality of the metaverse is the feeling of presence. A user can feel if the other person is right next to them and seem real.
It will make the user feel in the moment as if they are actually at an event or with friends. The metaverse avatars will make eye contact for further enhancement of the in-game experience.
The aim of developers for the metaverse is not to add more screen time but to improve the current time on the internet better.
Metaverse will be using a lot of advanced technology such as AI, VR, NFTs etc. These are still in the developmental stages and years away from testing.
Another feature of the metaverse is the move through experiences. Avatars can teleport anywhere and on any platform part of the metaverse.
Concepts of the Metaverse
Several concepts are going to be incorporated within the metaverse. These are important in providing the best possible user experience to consumers.
Presence: The main focus of metaverse is on presence. The reality platform needs to make the users feel connected and together. From eye contact to talking, thinking, tapping and gestures, all need to be flawless. The developers have worked tirelessly to perfect complex hand movements. The presence of users needs to be so real that they cannot tell the difference between reality and virtual reality.
Avatars: In most games, avatars have limited shapes and items. The avatars in metaverse would have limitless options to choose from. From hairstyles to clothes, unlimited colours and cuts will be available for the users. Not only this, a user can have multiple avatars for different platforms that are part of the metaverse.
Home: The home concept in the metaverse is explained as “home away from home” The team will provide homes that are interactive and reality-based. The user can make a home as he wishes; the colours, settings, furniture. Anything and everything is possible according to the users’ demands. Meta released a Beta version of a metaverse in Quest headsets as the Horizon series in 2020. Horizon Homes will be released which will test this home feature.
Teleport: The metaverse will have several features and platforms included in the game. Usually, to switch platforms a user exits and enters that. In the metaverse, a user can just teleport between platforms. The player will automatically switch between characters and avatars.
Interoperability: One of the concepts that make metaverse so great is its interoperability. Which is when multiple platforms operate together for providing a better experience. One of the key features of the metaverse is providing and improving the existing experience. It is a technology for people and gives a new experience. Digital currency and assets, data, content all need to be carried from each platform and usable anywhere in the metaverse. If a brand’s virtual store is releasing a new product, that product needs to be operational all over the metaverse.
Goods: Regular games have in-game currency and products that can be purchased for game use. These goods cannot be used in another game nor have any value in the real world. This will change with metaverse and its goods and purchases. Metaverse will use NFT technology and be backed by blockchain for goods. These goods will have real value and use on any platform. Usually, if a game wraps up then the purchased goods are lost and waste the players’ money.
There are several applications of metaverse apart from being a gaming platform. Metaverse is targeted at all ages. This means that it needs to be useful for everything.
Entertainment: The metaverse will host parties and concerts that are happening in the real world. Users can become a part of these even if they are across the world. They can get special backstage passes for the metaverse parties.
Fitness: During the lockdown, the gyms and fitness centers were shut and a lot of workouts were carried inside. Not a lot of people enjoyed themselves. Keeping this in mind, several fitness and workout applications are being developed that can give in-class experiences at home by using the metaverse.
Work: Remote work became a norm during COVID-19 lockdowns. Even with the offices back in operation, the remote mode is still being used a lot. So, the metaverse will still give an in-office feeling from the comfort of the person’s home. Virtual meetings can be held and designs and plans can be seen in real-time.
Education: Students can use metaverse for their education as well. They can go back in time and live through the life of any era. Or they can look at the constellations closer if interested in astrology. Apart from this, students can work together from anywhere in the world on shared assignments.
Commerce: Creators and brands can use the metaverse to get closer to customers. They can enhance customer experiences and reach a wider audience. During a launch party, metaverse allows the customers to attend and get an exclusive look at the products. Creators and others can build a business and operate it in the metaverse.
Previous Virtual Reality Ventures
Metaverse is not a new concept. In previous years, a lot of games were launched that follow the same structure as the metaverse does.
Virtual Air Force Simulations
Before the 2000 and gaming consoles, simulation games for air crafts were launched for the PCs. That was the first taste of VR for users of the internet and PC. These were funded by the Air Force and were in 3D technology.
The closest similar platform would be Second Life. It is a virtual world with many similar concepts and features as Zuckerberg’s metaverse. It launched in 2002 and it garnered a total of less than point one percent of the total internet users.
Fortnite is another game example that gained a lot of popularity. It is a virtual reality game and within a year got 100 million users. In 2020, Travis Scott hosted a virtual concert in the game which got 12.3 million people in attendance.
Companies Backing Metaverse
Apart from the Meta Platforms, other large companies look forward to the metaverse becoming a reality. These companies are stakeholders as they are already testing out their games and products based on metaverse virtual reality gameplay.
Some of these companies include Roblox, META and SNAP, TakeTwo, EA games, ATVI and Warner Music. You can read more here.
To wrap up this topic, it is important to remember that the metaverse will take 10-15 years to kick off. The trends since the 1980s show that with newer and advanced technologies, a lot of the newer generation is interested in VR. With all its concepts, perks and features, metaverse seems as if it will be the next big thing.
As Forbes said
The Metaverse Is Coming And It’s A Very Big Deal