Metaverses. A glance at the nearest future
The metaverses is reality, not the future. Hundreds of thousands of people are already using what Mark Zuckerberg is just going to create. Many brands managed to come to the metaverses and began to feel the ground for marketing the future.
In July 2021, Facebook announced the creation of the metaverse. This procedure will take up to 5 years. In order to confirm the seriousness of their decision Facebook even renamed themselves to Meta. While large companies are only evaluating prospects and hiring employees, there are projects in the industry that have been working for many years.
Where did the metaverses come from?
The metaverse in the view of science fiction was written as a utopian virtual universe that is “liberated” from the cultural, social, economic and political problems of reality, or a virtual “refuge”.
The term “metaverse” was coined by science fiction writer Neil Stevenson in 1992 in the novel “Avalanche”. According to Stevenson, the metaverse is the next stage in the development of the Internet: a common digital world combining “physical” and virtual reality.
People can connect to it in the form of avatars and do everything that they do in the real world: search for information, communicate, go shopping and work — but at the same time escape from reality and live in a virtual universe. The avatar of a person in the metaverse can be anyone and do anything, and death in the metaverse does not mean death in the real world.
Why do we need metaverses?
The mobile Internet has changed people’s attitude to the web: it has become available at any time and in any place. The metaverses seem to be the next logical step in the development of the Internet.
As Mr Zuckerberg says, the beauty of the metaverse is not that people will begin to interact more actively with the Internet — many spend most of their time online today. But the interaction itself will become more organic. In the sense that people will no longer look at flat small screens — the virtual space will become voluminous and tangible. Just like the people you communicate with online.
Meta gives the following example of a possible use of the metaverse. For example, in your augmented reality glasses, you can go to a real coffee shop, sit down, take your drink. With one wave of the hand, you can have working monitors in front of you, of any size and in any quantity. If you want, you can even call a friend who is on the other side of the world, and with the help of his glasses he will be in the same space with you and will look at the same monitors.
The metaverse is a completely new way for people and brands to interact. Now social networks are relatively closed systems that use complex algorithms to decide which ads and in what quantity to show to users.
Eventually, the metaverses will create many new jobs. Even during the pandemic, companies began to actively experiment with remote work, but with the creation of a global virtual space, the problem will disappear altogether. People will be able to visit the office from anywhere in the world using augmented reality glasses.
In this sense, the metaverses perfectly respond to the request of society, which is becoming less and less attached to certain places on the map every year. Zuckerberg even calls metaverses the closest analogue of teleports — people will really be able to instantly move between spaces. Even if not physically.
The seven basic principles of the metaverse summarized by Matthew Ball. The metaverse should:
- Be constant. No pauses or reboots — this is an immanent, endless world.
- Exist synchronously for everyone and in real time.
- Do not have a limit on the number of users.
- Have a fully functioning domestic economy. People can not only spend money in it, but also earn, open their own business, invest and sell.
- To link together real life and virtual. This is not so much a separate world from the present, as its augmentation, addition.
- Provide users with “unprecedented data compatibility”. So that if you bought clothes for your avatar in Fortnite, you can use them in any other game or application.
- Be open to any authors and content makers who can create their own “experiences” inside the metaverse.
How do the metaverses of technology companies work?
The metaverse can work as a mixture of software, equipment for immersion in the virtual world, data centers and blockchain technology. Let’s analyze each of these points and its significance for the existence of the metaverses.
- The software is virtual world projects that are created using 3D engines. The most famous platforms are Unreal Engine and Unity. These engines build the infrastructure of the virtual world: cars, houses, landscapes, characters. And they do it so realistically that film studios use them to speed up the filming process. Example: the TV series “Mandalorian” and the animated film “The Lion King”, where some of the scenes were created using the Unreal Engine.
- The equipment is VR glasses and AR gadgets for interacting with the metaverse. They are the user’s guide to the metaverse.
- Data centers are used as a cloud storage for metaverses data.
- Blockchains that will attach the data and assets of each user directly to his digital account and allow to use the purchased products throughout the metaverse.
Fortnite could become a metaverse
In April 2021, Epic Games raised $1 billion in investments to “support the long-term vision of the metaverse.” The company positions its Fortnite game not as interactive entertainment, but as a “metaverse” with an emphasis on social functions.
Fortnite has become a cultural phenomenon and has turned into a platform where people come to chat with friends instead of social networks. Brands use the game for their projects:
- In April 2020, rapper Travis Scott held a concert at Fortnite, which was simultaneously watched by more than 12 million players.
- In December 2019, Disney premiered an excerpt from the ninth episode of “Star Wars”, and also conducted a live interview with the film’s director J.J. Abrams. The event itself is mentioned in the film.
- The Weezer band created an island where players could exclusively listen to the new album.
- Epic Games arranges time-limited events inside Fortnite, tied to releases in the real world. The game map is transformed into a virtual world that changes the style and in-game objects in partnership with brands: DC, Nike, Lionsgate, Marvel, Microsoft, Sony and others. So Fortnite has become a place where different universes intersect: players can literally wear a Marvel character costume inside Gotham while chatting with a friend in a licensed NFL uniform.
- Players have the opportunity to create their own content through creative mode in Fortnite, as well as monetize it. These can be emotions, costumes, game mechanics and worlds. At its core, Fortnite’s creative mode is a “proto-metaverse”, Ball claims: players can upload their unique Fortnite avatar to the lobby and choose from thousands of worlds created by other players.
The metaverse is virtual platform that anyone can access via the Internet. Thanks to virtual reality technologies metaverses give many “players” a chance to socialite and even educate themselves. So metaverses have a high chance of becoming one of the main playgrounds for the new economy due to the increased interest of investors in it.
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