What Is The Metaverse

Market Analysis
What Is The Metaverse

When Facebook, a multi-billion dollar company, rebranded itself as Meta, the world stood up to take notice of the Metaverse. Here’s what you need to know about the Metaverse.


Talk about the future and what it holds and the topic of the Metaverse will most likely come up. After all, some of the biggest companies in the world not limited to Meta, Microsoft, and Nvidia have stated or at least implicitly applied publicly that the Metaverse is the next evolution of the internet, also commonly known as Web 3.0. 


An article by Forbes recently labelled the Metaverse as a $1 Trillion revenue industry. To give you some comparison, the fashion industry – the biggest ecommerce sector in the world – is valued at $759.5 billion in 2021. Not surprisingly, this has gotten many people and companies excited about the Metaverse.


So if you’re wondering what is the Metaverse and the things you need to know about it, here’s what you need to know about the Metaverse as a beginner.


What Is The Metaverse?

While the “Metaverse” might seem like a relatively new term, it has actually been around for a while now. In fact, the earliest mention of the Metaverse can be traced back to almost 30 years ago in 1992 when Neal Stephenson first released his dystopian novel Snow Crash.


In his novel, Neal Stephenson described the Metaverse as a virtual reality space where developers can build things that do not exist in reality such as “hovering overhead light shows”.


Facebook, now Meta, depicts the Metaverse as a 3D virtual space whereby people hang out and socialize with one another. Microsoft envisions the Metaverse as an extension of the work environment and the next evolution of gaming. 


With so many different interpretations, it is easy to get lost figuring out what is the Metaverse. And it’s not hard to see why. As of the writing of this article, the Metaverse is more of an idealistic vision rather than a technical reality.


Perhaps the prominent venture capitalist, Matthew Ball, described the Metaverse best. He classified the Metaverse simply as “a sort of successor state to the mobile internet”. Smartphones revolutionized our way of life, society, and economy. The Metaverse is expected to be the successor of smartphones. 


Characteristics Of The Metaverse

While the Metaverse can take many forms such as gaming, business meetings and online communities which can confuse some people, there are certain common characteristics that define the Metaverse.


  • Boundless 
  • The Metaverse world is not bounded by the limits in the physical world. One can keep creating more and more spaces for participants to explore. The limits are not physical but rather by the imagination of the creators


  • Decentralized
  • Open and shared world where users can move seamlessly across platforms without any restrictions. The vision for the web has always been one of complete decentralization, where the power lies with the individuals and not with Big Tech or governments.


  • Immersive 
  • Allows us to enter a space instead of just observing it from a distance. For example, a meeting in the Metaverse would require us to take on our digital avatar and be part of an office meeting rather than through a video conferencing app


  • Virtual economies
  • Citibank noted in March 2022 that the Metaverse and its economies could be worth between $8 trillion and $13 trillion by 2030. The Metaverse will have the digital infrastructure to mimic our real-life interactions, but it will be backed by a fully functioning and lucrative crypto-economy where users can create, sell, buy, and trade in unique digital assets (NFTs) or cryptocurrency, which they can at any time cash out for fiat money if they choose so. Metaverse assets can be anything; digital art, virtual goods, or even experience, all minted into secure NFTs stored on the metaverse blockchain. Users can sell one metaverse asset to purchase other metaverse assets, creating a self-sustaining digital economy


  • Social experiences 
  • Social networking, meeting new people, or hanging out with friends of old will all be part and parcel of the Metaverse. In fact, firms around the world are also incorporating the Metaverse as part of their corporate strategy


  • Interoperability
  • the Metaverse will allow participants to use their virtual items across different experiences on the Metaverse. For example, items that users unlock in an adventure game can be used in a racing game, and vice versa. Interoperability will prevent from keeping users inside a single platform which is predominantly beneficial to the network owner and not users. Interoperability will allow the Metaverse to tap on the network effect and increase the external value of the network to consumers. Interoperability is all about to what extent users can take out the value they created inside one platform and bring it to another platform and vice versa without any barriers.


What Is The Difference Between The Metaverse And The Internet?

Many people assume that the Metaverse functions as a separate entity and differs wholly from the Internet. However, the two actually have more similarities than differences. For instance, the Metaverse builds on the Internet. It uses technology that is already present on the Internet such as Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and social media. Think of the Internet as a 2D version while the Metaverse aims to be a 3D version.


Perhaps the only difference between the Metaverse and the Internet is the purpose of each. With the Internet, people can be online without having to interact with other people. However, for the Metaverse, the foundation is about digital human interaction. The Metaverse acts as an extension of the physical world for people to work, socialize and interact with one another. 


How Does The Metaverse Work?

The idealized version of the Metaverse is to be as open, interconnected, and interoperable as the internet is now. Right now, that is far from being the case. Many companies are creating their own different versions of the Metaverse and most of them currently exist as a single and separate entity.


Despite the differences, all these versions of the Metaverse still count on these two foundational elements: virtual reality (VR) and avatars. 


The current versions of the Metaverse all have their own VR world where participants can take part with their selected and customizable avatars.


Choose your character and immerse yourself in the world after. If this sounds familiar, it is because it is very similar to how gaming works. But the Metaverse goes beyond just gaming, it is a virtual space where people can work, play, socialize, shop, and many more. Basically, do the things that people do together in real life but on the internet.


How To Join The Metaverse?

As of the writing of this article, the concept of the Metaverse centres mainly around VR, AR, and mixed reality (MR) experience. Thus, to participate in many of the Metaverse experiences, you will need to have hardware that supports VR. As different Metaverse have different hardware requirements, there is no one size fits all advice on what type of hardware you should get. Instead, select the Metaverse that you want to participate in and then purchase the hardware based on the requirements specific to that Metaverse.


How To Invest In The Metaverse?

While the Metaverse is still in its infancy stage, many companies and investors are pouring millions of dollars into the space. Republic Realm, a real estate development company, splashed $4.3 million on a parcel of virtual land. 


Decentraland and The Sandbox are examples of current-day Metaverses which offer investors opportunities to participate in the potential of the space. Investors can buy and own digital land in these Metaverses. Digital land works just like property in the real world. Prime locations are worth more than other areas and investors are willing to pay top dollar for these locations. Buying virtual land is straightforward – either directly from the platform or through a developer. 


Buying virtual land is not the only way to invest in the Metaverse. Investors can also invest in the respective cryptocurrencies in these Metaverses. These cryptocurrencies are fuel for these Metaverses economies and their value tends to closely correlate with the popularity of their worlds. Buying of these cryptocurrencies can be done on exchanges which offer them.


Which Companies Are In The Metaverse Space?

The Metaverse is not only gaining the attention of individuals but also some of the largest companies in the world. Here are some companies that have a presence or are exploring the Metaverse.


  • Google

Google, one of the largest companies in the world, invested $39.5 million in a private equity fund that it will partner with to invest in Metaverse projects. It is expected to release its AR headsets in 2024 using “outward-facing cameras to blend computer graphics with a video feed of the real world, creating a more immersive, mixed reality experience than existing AR glasses.” 


  • Meta

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, said that “We’re going to be metaverse first, not Facebook first,”. The company launched Horizon Worlds, a VR space that users can navigate which the company will work jointly with creators and developers to create and build. 


  • Nike

Nike first entered the Metaverse with its launch of “Nikeland,” a virtual world made in partnership with Roblox. Nike made an eye-watering $185.3m from its NFTs which showed how the company is planning to foray into the Metaverse


  • Microsoft

Microsoft is entering the Metaverse with its online meeting software, Microsoft Teams. Its new service, Mesh, will let Teams users in different physical locations join collaboratively and share holographic experiences during these meetings 


  • Epic Games

maker of the popular online shooter game series Fortnite and the Unreal Engine software for game developers, raise $1 billion in 2021 to stake a claim in the Metaverse


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