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September 25, 2022

An Introduction: The Metaverse Explained

An Introduction: The Metaverse Explained

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve likely heard the term metaverse. And, unless you’ve done your own research, you’re probably thinking it’s some alternative digital reality that Mark Zuckerberg is creating for us to have a digital version of ourselves.

While that’s partially true, that statement is incredibly limiting. The metaverse has the potential to be much more than that, changing the way society communicates, works, transacts, and lives.

So, rather than being overly complicated, this article sums up the metaverse explained in simple and logical terms.

By the time you’ve finished reading, you’ll know the metaverse basics, including what it is, why it’s important, what it does, and its benefits, with a few examples along the way.

Let’s get to it.

What Is the Metaverse?

A metaverse is a digital world. These interconnected, real-time spaces offer interpersonal interaction where individuals can carry out real-life day-to-day activities. For example, individuals can work, plan, transact, create, and communicate virtually.

To do this, users harness the power of modern technology such as Virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), haptic sensors, and much more. This gives digital interaction the look and feel of a physical space.

Currently, there are many metaverse worlds to choose from. However, the consensus is that these will eventually become interconnected. Individuals can carry their digital personas and assets with them in one interconnected space. Essentially, the metaverses of today will all be sub-worlds in one giant space.

What Is the Metaverse Used for & What Does the Future Hold?

To us mere mortals, the metaverse may sound like one big video game. Well, it’s most definitely not. While metaverse gaming will be part of this expansive societal alteration, it’s a drop in the ocean compared to what else it is and will be used for.

The metaverse will become a crucial part of society. Operating in conjunction with the physical world, with its own fully operational ecosystem and financial economy. How we experience education, entertainment, socializing, and business will all be impacted by the metaverse.

Live Entertainment

Music concerts, theater, sports, and many other live entertainment events could be transformed by the metaverse. Audiences will be able to attend no matter where they are in the world, making performing in front of a global audience much easier and cost-effective.

Metaverse Education & Learning

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw schools, colleges, and other education institutions move online. Often, classes were limited to using Zoom and other virtual meeting tools. With metaverse education, teachers and students will be together in a fully immersive digital learning space.

Workspaces

As with education, workplaces have also adapted to remote employment. Already, colleagues can work from anywhere in the world without hindrance to performance.

However, there are advantages to shared working and office spaces. They build comradery, improve communication, and increase team morale. The metaverse fuses the benefits of physical and digital working perfectly.

Travel & Tourism

Travel is an expensive hobby not everyone can afford. Furthermore, with climate change becoming an ever-prevalent issue, travel could become more restricted.

The metaverse empowers people to explore the world without leaving their homes. What’s more, you’ll be able to take part in activities as if you were there, such as climbing a mountain or walking through a famous city.

Metaverse Gaming

Undoubtedly, we’ll see some unbelievably immersive video games created to be played in the metaverse. Think of The Sims or the movie Ready Player One, and you’re on the right track.

This will take virtual reality to a whole new level entirely. By implementing haptics, players will not only be able to see their surroundings, but they’ll feel them too.

Virtual Products & Businesses

The metaverse will become a fully functional ecosystem within itself. You can already purchase digital products such as clothes and sneakers in the form of NFTs – this will continue to evolve. Businesses will exist solely in the metaverse, and people will purchase digital items as they currently acquire physical ones.

What’s more, current retailers will be able to open web shops, allowing buyers to inspect physical items without traveling to a store or ordering it online.

Socializing

Another use case for the metaverse is how it supports a lifestyle of socializing. Social media is already an incredibly important aspect of society. It connects us with like-minded people from across the globe.

Now, imagine you can meet, see, discuss, and be in the same space as these people. The metaverse will expand social circles, bringing people together.

Key Benefits of the Metaverse

There are many benefits of the metaverse. Some have already been mentioned, such as improvements to online education, digital workplaces, gaming, and business opportunities. We won’t look into them again, but let’s discuss the key overarching benefits.

An Interconnected World

The metaverse doesn’t care for distance. No matter where someone is in the physical world, they can be in the same room as someone on the other side of the planet. Geographic barriers become irrelevant, meaning people can expand their personal and professional circles.

Currently, many people are limited to interacting with people in their city, town, school, or workplace. With the metaverse, you’ll be able to easily meet people with similar interests, hobbies, and ideas.

Furthermore, you’ll be able to engage with, employ, and discuss business with great minds in your industry. Being able to work for any business in the world will become a reality, and you’ll be able to share office space with all your colleagues.

This will see new inventions and ideas come to life that otherwise couldn’t. It will drive innovation and solutions to ever-present issues and transform the world of communication and human interaction as we know it.

Metaverse Concerns

This wouldn’t be a metaverse explanation if we didn’t discuss the genuine concerns about the technology. While it sounds like it will bring great benefits – which it will – it also presents potentially catastrophic issues for society.

Detrimental to Human Interaction

The majority of users and early adopters of the metaverse will be young people. It must be considered that their interpersonal skills could be damaged. Furthermore, they could lose their connection to the physical world completely, basing their lives around the digital world instead.

Cybercrime, Privacy, & Security

Ever since the internet began, cybercrime has been rife. As the metaverse is a new concept – that anyone across the globe can contribute to, it leaves the potential for criminals to exploit millions of users in a currently highly unregulated space.

Corporate Takeover

Although the metaverse is driven by web3, a decentralized system that gives control back to individuals, it has the potential to become yet another capitalist takeover by greedy corporations. We’re already saying globally recognized companies are purchasing masses of metaverse real estate.

We’re Not Ready

The metaverse is in its infancy, and you can tell. It’s clear to see why most people continue to see this as a game.

The graphics don’t replicate reality. People are using less-than-realistic avatars, and platforms aren’t fully developed.

Metaverse Examples

There are many metaverse platforms, all offering ranging levels of customization, flexibility, and functionality. Here are three of the most commonly known.

Decentraland

Often considered the largest and most usable metaverse platform. Decentraland allows users to build experiences on their own land. Furthermore, the creator can claim complete ownership of their experience, enabling them to charge others for use.

Roblox

Gaming platform and metaverse pioneer Roblox recently partnered with the NFL to bring a metaverse game to its millions of users.

Sandbox

Community-driven Sandbox offers players and creators the chance to monetize the virtual reality NFTs they’ve created. In addition to gaming, you can host events in Sandbox.

How to Access the Metaverse

Before getting started with accessing the metaverse, you need to make sure you have the correct VR equipment. One of the best headsets to use is the Oculus Quest 2.

In a similar fashion to how you’d access any online or gaming experience, you need to create an account with your chosen metaverse platform to get started. With most metaverse platforms, you’ll also need to create an avatar.

From there, you’re free to explore. Check out all the spaces other users and businesses have created, and begin finding your way in the metaverse.

Yes, it’s that easy to get started.

In Summary

We’re some way off seeing the metaverse as described above. While it does offer some features and functionality we’ve explained, it’s not the finished article – it won’t be for a while. With that said, if used correctly and developed as expected, it will change society as we know it.

These platforms will present opportunities for people across the globe – socially, professionally, and educationally.

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