What Is Metaverse: Complete Beginners' Guide To The New Virtual World
You’d be living under a rock if you haven’t heard the term “Metaverse” by now. It’s the talk of the town, with its promise of a new virtual world that can blur the lines between reality and imagination.
But what does metaverse mean? What is this metaverse virtual reality?
In this complete beginners’ guide to Metaverse, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about this incredibly exciting concept – from its origin story and vision for the future down to practical applications.
We will also discuss how developers are pushing boundaries and helping us reach new heights in the realm of augmented reality.
So, read on; this is “Metaverse” explained!
What Is Metaverse?
Although “metaverse” has been a buzzword in the past three or four years, it was first used in a sci-fi novel called Snow Crash, in 1992, by Neal Stephenson.
In Stephenson’s renowned book, he discussed the metaverse as an encompassing digital realm that runs parallel to our real-world environment. This means living in a virtual world where everybody has their own digital avatars, their workspace, and money, and they’re free to move around and meet others while actually sitting on their laptops — that is what metaverse means.
But have we reached that stage yet? Not really.
Here’s what Ibrahim Baggili, a cybersecurity expert and the founding director of the Connecticut Institute of Technology at the University of New Haven said, “It’s not real at this stage and won’t become real until people have a single location they can go to to get into in a virtual world they could live in,”
That means the metaverse is still under construction, and there’s no single metaverse out there yet.
However, we’re closer than ever to turning this sci-fi dream into reality with the emergence of powerful technologies that are capable of creating immersive experiences and bringing them to life in our world.
But what does the metaverse look like?
What Does The Metaverse Look Like Today?
Generally, when people talk about the metaverse today, they usually talk about video games where they buy virtual items in the form of NFTs like virtual land, clothes, weapons, and other in-game virtual goods.
However, the metaverse of today is much more than just playing games.
Besides this gaming world, tech companies are also exploring the possibilities of a digital economy. The idea is to enable users to create, purchase, sell, and flip goods or digital assets. While this practice is already happening within a single game or platform, it’s still a challenge to make these transactions across different platforms.
Still, when it comes to working with a virtual currency, blockchain technology has already created waves in the online and offline world. Bitcoin already has real-life applications, while the idea of metaverse shopping is far-fetched but in the works.
In a nutshell, the metaverse of today includes virtual worlds, game-like experiences, marketplaces for digital goods and services, blockchain-based transactions, and a distinct community of users.
How Do You Get Into Metaverse?
You can get inside the metaverse through two interesting metaverse technologies.
Virtual reality transports users to an immersive, realistic 3D world in which they can explore and interact with their environment. Whether it’s through sight, sound, or touch—VR brings a simulated experience as close to real life as we’ve ever seen!
The mediums through which this happens include VR headsets and haptics such as gloves, vests, and tracking suits.
Augmented reality or extended reality offers a slightly different experience than virtual reality, as it layers digital elements over the real world we inhabit. Through glasses or some other type of lens, users are able to interact with their surroundings while also engaging in augmented activities.
Pokémon Go was a pioneering example of augmented reality (AR). Google Glass and vehicle windshields’ heads-up displays are other consumer AR products that have gained recognition in the market.
However, you don’t really need VR or AR to access these virtual places. Why?
Because there just isn’t one specific metaverse, and there’s not a single gateway to the metaverse currently.
For example, some components of the popular video game Fortnite are accessible via simple gaming consoles, computers, and even smartphones. (Even though the developers proudly call themselves part of the metaverse.)
Now that you know about metaverse virtual reality and what does the metaverse look like, let’s see why it is important.
Why Is Metaverse Important?
The potential of the metaverse has already been realized by some big companies.
When Facebook rebranded as Meta in 2021, it became clear that the company is not only interested in creating a digital world but also wants to build a cohesive platform where all the experiences, digital and real, could be integrated seamlessly
Do you know what is the metaverse Facebook?
Facebook, itself, defines Facebook metaverse as: “The metaverse is the next evolution in social connection and the successor to the mobile internet”
It is actually a virtual reality-based social platform, which is in fact Meta’s innovative contribution to the metaverse. Zuckerberg says people will be able to “connect, work, play, learn, and shop” inside the Facebook Metaverse.
He also announced that the company will be investing $10 billion in metaverse development. Tech giants like Google, Microsoft, Nvidia, and Qualcomm followed suit and started pouring billions more dollars into metaverse visions.
Because the metaverse has the potential to revolutionize the way we interact with each other and with technology. By bridging the gap between physical and virtual, the metaverse can create an immersive experience that enhances our daily lives in ways we never thought possible.
As proof, we see every tech company slowly shifting to virtual meetings and virtual workspaces, using multiple technologies to build business models in a virtual environment. Microsoft’s Mesh and Meta’s Horizon Workrooms, Horizon Worlds, and Horizon Venues are prime examples of it.
However, due to multiple companies working separately, the current versions of all metaverse platforms look more like a multiverse of virtual worlds than one big shared virtual space.
This, again, supports Ibrahim Baggili’s words about having a single entryway into the metaverse if tech companies want to create one platform for virtual experiences.
Still, the metaverse virtual reality is bound to happen — taking our physical world into a virtual land where digital humans can do anything that’s possible in reality without any boundaries.
Now that you know what does metaverse mean, let’s try to understand what the future holds.
What Is The Future Of Metaverse?
So far, the metaverse is half-cooked. We don’t yet know who will control it or what final form it will take, but we know that the building blocks for a unique digital space have been created.
Innovators, entrepreneurs, and business leaders from all over the world are predicting the metaverse to be our new reality. In fact, a 2022 survey at Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center, Pew Research Center showed 54% of business leaders and innovators believe the metaverse will be an integral part of daily life for at least 500 million people worldwide.
Similarly, McKinsey & Company, a well-known management consultancy, has confidently projected that the metaverse economy could reach an extraordinary $5 trillion by 2030.
It is believed that the main driver of this growth will be e-commerce, but gaming, entertainment, education, and marketing in the metaverse are also predicted to become significant parts of it.
How will it happen?
Well, simply because things are already moving in the right direction.
For example, Travis Scott held a virtual concert in 2020 in Fortnite. It was attended by a massive 12.3 million people. While you could only see avatars and digital humans dancing to Travis’s songs, these were real people who showed up.
Similarly, VR and AR are excellent tools for training medical students, and hospitals are already using these technologies for education and research. Medivis, for example, is an AR surgical system that allows surgeons to quickly connect with the hospital’s digital imaging platform.
So, what does all of it mean for businesses?
5 Ways Metaverse Technologies Can Impact Businesses
1. Remote Work And Collaboration:
As already mentioned, Meta’s cloud-powered platform, Horizon Workrooms, provides a virtual work environment to companies and allows teams around the world to collaborate without geographical limitations.
This will and has already opened more doors for companies to hire talent from around the world and also create virtual office spaces that can be accessed anytime.
2. Live Events From Around The World:
The Metaverse already allows companies to host virtual events and conferences, allowing people from all over the world to join in on the same event.
This will make events and conferences more accessible, interactive, and engaging for a larger audience.
3. Better Educational Experiences:
The Metaverse provides an immersive virtual environment that allows students to learn and interact in a way more engaging manner.
Education providers can use the Metaverse to create interactive and immersive learning experiences with augmented reality, virtual reality, 3D simulations, and more.
4. Mesmerizing Shopping Experience:
The Metaverse also allows companies to create an immersive and interactive shopping experience for their customers.
Customers can browse through virtual stores, try on virtual clothes and experience virtual product demos. Moreover, ecommerce companies can use 3D product previews and virtual reality to give customers a more realistic shopping experience.
5. More Visibility And Brand Awareness:
As the metaverse virtual reality continues to grow, companies will be able to use it as a platform to increase their visibility and create more brand awareness.
Companies can create virtual stores, host events, and even produce content that helps to spread the word about their brand.
The possibilities are truly endless, and businesses can take advantage of this new technology to reach more people, create better experiences and drive more sales.
Overall, the Metaverse is an incredibly powerful tool that can revolutionize how businesses operate, engage with customers, and increase their visibility.
But how exactly can businesses cope with such rapid technological change?
What Should Businesses Do?
The main takeaway here is that business owners should start looking into metaverse technologies and start exploring how they can take advantage of them.
Here is how you could become a metaverse-friendly business:
1. Get A Space On The Metaverse:
The first step is to get a space on one of the many metaverse platforms. This could be as simple as creating a 3D environment or as complex as creating a fully interactive virtual world. It all depends on your budget and the goals you want to achieve.
2. Get Your & Team Members’ Avatars:
Once you have a space in the Metaverse, it’s time to create avatars for yourself and your team members. Avatars are digital representations of people and can be customized according to your needs.
3. Create NFTs & Digital Assets:
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are digital assets that can be used to represent any type of asset in the Metaverse. Companies can create their own NFTs and digital assets to use in the Metaverse and monetize them.
4. Create Virtual & Events:
The Metaverse provides the perfect platform to create virtual experiences and events. Companies can use this technology to host live conferences, webinars, virtual summits, and more.
5. Explore AR/VR To Enhance The Customer Experience:
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) can be used to create an enhanced customer experience. Companies can use these technologies to provide customers with immersive shopping experiences, interactive product demos, and more.
6. Invest In Data Analytics & AI Technologies:
Data analytics and AI technologies can be used to gain insights into customer behavior and market trends. Companies can use this information to make informed decisions about their products and services, as well as optimize their customer experience.
Overall, the metaverse virtual reality promises a bright future, and companies should start looking into how they can benefit from this technology. It’s an incredibly powerful tool that can revolutionize how businesses operate, engage with customers, and increase their visibility.
With that said, ecommerce businesses need to be specially prepared for this technological shift because metaverse commerce is the future of ecommerce!
As this virtual world continues to grow, customers will soon be ready to use new technologies and shop in virtual spaces.
So, ecommerce business owners should consider employing metaverse marketing strategies for ecommerce in order to stay ahead of their competition.