Getting Started | 3 min read

What is the Metaverse?

Metaverse is a virtual online space where we use avatars to meet people, hang out with friends, play games, or maybe attend concerts or events, etc. Sometimes, people may work collaboratively as the world is more used to admit its presence. It has its roots in the science fiction movies like Snow Crash and Ready Player One. In all these science-fiction they have a connection from VR, where they put on goggles and they get transported to a virtual space out of health scape they live in, in the real world. This has led people to confuse VR with the metaverse but in reality, if we have an oculus quest and put it on, and we are on to play Beat Saber, it cannot be the metaverse. It's just a different version of gaming.

The metaverse is more of a social sphere, as the thinking has evolved with the games like Fortnite and Roblox. In these games, there are gaming environments where the individuals have their avatars. They hang out with each other, talk, and go to concerts, there’s a whole virtual economy in Roblox. In a way, these gaming environments are early versions of the metaverse. Facebook has bought Oculus in the year 2014 and posses a platform named horizon. Horizon is a kind of Social Media Platform that uses Oculus VR hardware. Similarly, facebook’s horizon and Oculus VR team collectively are building a metaverse of its own. Metaverse only exists as long as people existed. Horizon right now is a sort of private INVITE ONLY platform. Facebook has bought Oculus several years ago and they have been trying to make this technology social for some time now. As we have acknowledged there are oculus venues, oculus rooms, etc. The main question is- What are we going to do there when we meet people in VR, and it shouldn't sound creepy? How can we make this experience more pleasurable for people?

It turns out to be significantly hard. This might be the biggest reason that horizon is not public yet. Probably later this year or in the coming year, when they will find a solution and open the system more widely we can see it public. The important information is that all the chief members of Facebook are coming out and suggesting that Metaverse is where they want to go as a company.

Future of Social Media and Metaverse

Mark Zuckerberg recently had given a speech addressing the investors that Metaverse is the next big thing in the coming future.

Metaverse is a space of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality where people may socialize and virtually experience things without being physically exposed. It saves traveling time, allows people with disabilities to witness accentuated experiences. It would be a virtual simulation of the real world that will be used to give special training to individuals simultaneously saving resources etc.

The investors right now are more eager to know the details since AR and VR have been around for some time now and currently In Facebook, 10,000 employees are working on this technology. The investors wanted to know how this technology will make money for them and how long will it take.

Mark Zuckerberg's response was vague on this front; however, he explained certain possibilities of monetizing the metaverse. For eg- when we see an Ad on Facebook we can just scroll it down but in Virtual Reality, Ads will be there on display, which would be a more invasive way of advertisements. Multiple studies have been done in this remark which proves a substantial improvement in commercials effectiveness. Moving forward, there will be a completely digital economy where there would be the economy of content creators, Friends, Business professionals, etc. The same we are witnessing through the pandemic, where people are buying tickets for concerts, standup comedy, etc. In response to that what they get is a rudimentary zoom call. Once this technology will be more accessible, people would like to pay more for a good life experience with their respective Avatars.

Friends who live in different countries would like to pay more for a cool 3d virtual meeting where they can spend quality time together in the virtual space. They may go on virtual dates, play adventure sports or just sit with their avatars and socialize, etc. As the acceptance of this space will grow, the money will start flowing in. Facebook is also working on its digital currency that is Libracoin. It is also based on Blockchain technology with Facebook secured algorithms and encryptions. It would be different from Bitcoin because the Libracoin is centralized but Bitcoin is completely decentralized. But it can become a good currency for the Facebook virtual space for easy and secure transactions.

Present-day economics

There are Oculus stores, where Facebook charges Software developers, a fee to sell their games to VR users directly. Coming forward there’s also a huge market for driving audiences to respective platforms through Social Media which Facebook is also monetizing. There are certain games, experiences related to the Avatars which also have a huge potential of being monetized. Multiple games are available for free on the Oculus VR platform. Once we start playing them we would desire some upgrades related to Avatars like buying a new dress, coloring their hair, buying a car, etc each of one these upgrades costs money.

As we start acknowledging our social presence more and more, our virtual social presence will also become important to our personality. Some upgrades that may represent our current social status will be needed to be appended in our virtual social presence which will ultimately become a driving source of wealth creation for those who own these platforms. There is a huge market out there where people are paying to modify their Avatars to make them unique. Soon, there will be patents on digital appearances as well.

There’s a huge potential in Virtual Reality as well as in Augmented Reality. Facebook along with other tech companies are working on it. The real question would be, how will it happen? And how long will it take? With the current scale of acceptance to Virtual Reality, it is extremely difficult to launch services that are profitable for this platform. These tech companies are now focusing on building a gateway so that a person with a Smartphone, AR glasses, or VR headset, etc would be able to join and take advantage of this system. With the limited availability of Hardware, the quality of the experience would be compromised but it will also educate new experiences to the audiences. As the acceptance of this platform will grow, there’s a whole new industry of biological implants with advanced Hardware systems which will help us in reaping the benefits of Metaverse, as to how it is been predicted in the Science Fiction movies.

Metaverse Science Fiction / Reality

Indeed, the metaverse is going to become the ultimate reality but it will indirectly need some acceptance from the general public. Probably, Facebook is the one who can make this happen, but everything requires financial strength because this technology is new. It also requires some additional funds and state-of-the-art engineers. Instead of taking a risk, Mark Zuckerberg plans to move forward with a step-by-step provision. To begin with, he will make micro metaverses which will include gaming environments, virtual working environments, adventure sport environments, etc. Sources and tech experts suggest that in the beginning phase, these environments need to be compatible with android phones to increase their reach, while gadgets such as VR or AR can be used as added accessories to expedite the experience.

Once people start acknowledging its presence, there is a scope for its up-gradation through updates suggested by users. All these environments will be developed in such a way that they can be compatible with each other. Later, considering studies based on the likes and dislikes of users, microenvironments can be added or discarded. As soon as the general public gets used to them, they will come to the next stage of making these environments more accessible. Then there are chances of introduction of microchip implants.

In a nutshell, metaverse will become a quintessential part of reality since all the big money is flowing in this direction. It will take time, not 1 or 5 years, but at least 20 years from now in innovation in technology to develop an existential cum parallel virtual metaverse. The big question is that “Who will take this leap, How and Why?” The simple and correct answer would be Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook because he currently manages the world's biggest virtual interaction and communication business which will ultimately be the future of Facebook as he is very aggressive and passionate about his vision.

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