The metaverse is a term used to describe a fully immersive virtual reality experience that seamlessly blends the physical and digital worlds. Think of it as a massive virtual universe where users can interact with one another in real-time, just as they would in the real world.
The concept of the metaverse was first popularized in Neal Stephenson’s 1992 science fiction novel Snow Crash. The book envisioned a future where people could plug into a virtual world and interact with each other in a way that was indistinguishable from the real world. While the concept of the metaverse was once purely science fiction, advancements in virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and blockchain technology have made it a reality.
Propelled in the eyes of the general public by Mark Zuckerberg and Meta, formerly Facebook, the term “metaverse” is nevertheless mostly misunderstood. What are metavers and how do they work? Do these virtual worlds really have a future? Discover the answers to all your questions about the metaverse.
What is the metaverse?
Definition of the metaverse
The metaverse, or metavers in French, is a fictional environment in 3D, interactive and immersiveforming a combination of the real world and virtual worlds. Inside, individuals can embody avatars and interact with other people or with digital objects.
Born from the contraction of the words meta (meaning “beyond”) and universe, the metaverse described by some as a digital revolution a major digital revolution of the next ten years.
The emergence of the metaverse participates in the transition from Web2 to Web3. If Web1 offered access to information, Web2 brought interaction with social networks, then the Web3 brings immersivity – and the real ownership of its assets – to the web. with these new virtual environments in which one feels fully present.
As an example, a metaverse can be assimilated to a multiplayer online video gameIt is a multiplayer online video game that brings together several different game universes in which it is possible to navigate. Its most accomplished representation was offered to us in the film Ready Player One by Steven Spielberg, dating from 2018.
Note however that there are two types of metavers Those that are based on blockchain and non-fungible tokens (NFT), which could be called “crypto-metaverse” and those that are not. These are the “VR/AR metaverse” and are simply virtual worlds equivalent to video games.
Hook: Are you ready to step into a world where the virtual and the real blur together? That’s what the metaverse promises, and it’s generating excitement across the tech industry.
The history of the metaverse
Although we have been hearing a lot about the metaverse for a few months now, the concept is not new. In 1992, Neal Stephenson was already talking about it in Snow Crash, a book that evokes the life of a crazy entrepreneur who decided to create a virtual world in which he could control the minds of individuals.
Ignored as technically unfeasible at the time, metaverses have really materialized with the advent of new technologiesand in particular of the augmented reality. Allowing to superimpose any image to the universe which surrounds us, this one creates the illusion that the real and the virtual coexist on the same level.
Illustration of the use of a VR headset to enter the metaverse
One detail was still missing to conceptualize perfectly the metaverse. In these parallel worlds where digital objects have a real value, the blockchain and more particularly non-fungible tokens (NFT) were the missing pieces that fit perfectly into this puzzle.
The NFTs allow uniqueness and real ownership of digital assets. But above all, they open a new horizon for these virtual worlds: interoperability. Digital assets can be transferred from one metaverse to another and retain their value.
Finally, the key date to remember in the history of the metaverse is the October 28, 2021. With Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement to rename the Facebook group to “Meta” and to invest massively in the creation of its metaverse, the general public then becomes aware of the potential of these virtual worlds.
The Technology behind the Metaverse
The Metaverse is built on a combination of blockchain technology and NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens). Blockchain technology provides the infrastructure for the virtual world, while NFTs enable the creation, ownership, and exchange of digital assets.
In the Metaverse, users can own virtual land, buildings, and other digital assets. These assets are represented by NFTs, which are unique digital tokens that cannot be replicated or duplicated.
Virtual Real Estate in the Metaverse
One of the most exciting aspects of the Metaverse is virtual real estate. Just like in the real world, owning property in the Metaverse can be a valuable investment. Virtual land is limited, and as more people enter the Metaverse, the value of virtual real estate is likely to rise.
Creating and Trading NFTs in the Metaverse
NFTs are an essential part of the Metaverse, as they enable the creation, ownership, and exchange of digital assets. In the Metaverse, users can create their NFTs, such as digital art, music, or virtual clothing. These NFTs can then be bought and sold on virtual marketplaces, just like physical assets in the real world.
Gaming in the Metaverse
Gaming is a significant part of the Metaverse, with many virtual worlds offering a range of games and experiences. These games can range from simple puzzle games to fully immersive role-playing games. Many games in the Metaverse use blockchain technology to enable players to earn rewards and even real money.
What are the main metavers?
At the time of writing, there are already well-developed metavers in which it is possible to venture. Here is a non-exhaustive list of the most popular metavers:
- Otherdeed for Otherside;
- NFT Worlds;
- Arcade Land;
- The SandBox;
- World Horizon by Meta.
Many other virtual worlds are currently in development. Most of the video game, social network and tech players are planning to launch their metavers, like Epic Games (creator of Fortnite), Apple, Roblox, Alibaba, TikTok, Reddit, VR Chat, and even Microsoft.
Overview of the world map of The SandBox
On the year 2022, trading volumes in metaverses reached $1.29 billion according to data from aggregator Dune. Otherdeed, the Otherside game developed by Yuga Labs, leads the way with 73.8% of the total funds flowing into these virtual worlds. It is followed by NFT Worlds at 7.9% and The Sandbox at 5.5%.
The Potential Impact of the Metaverse
The metaverse has the potential to revolutionize the way we live, work, and play. It could create new opportunities for businesses, change the way we socialize, and even reshape our economy. Here are just a few potential ways the metaverse could impact our lives:
Virtual Commerce: In the metaverse, users can attend virtual stores and purchase digital products. This could create new opportunities for businesses to reach customers and sell products in a new way.
Socializing: The metaverse could provide a new way for people to connect and socialize with each other. Virtual events, like concerts and festivals, could become a new norm.
Education: The metaverse could provide a new way for people to learn and explore new topics. Virtual classrooms could offer a more immersive and engaging learning experience.
Real Estate: The metaverse could change the way we think about real estate. Virtual spaces could become just as valuable as physical ones, opening up new opportunities for investment and development.
Remote Work: The metaverse could provide a new way for people to work remotely. Virtual offices could offer a more collaborative and immersive work environment.
The Challenges of the Metaverse
While the potential of the metaverse is exciting, it also comes with a number of challenges. Here are a few of the main concerns surrounding the development of the metaverse:
Privacy: In the metaverse, users will be sharing a significant amount of personal data. It’s important to ensure that this data is protected and used ethically.
Accessibility: The metaverse should be accessible to everyone
Interoperability: The metaverse will require a high level of interoperability between different platforms and technologies. This could be a challenge, especially as different companies compete for dominance in the space.
Regulation: As the metaverse grows in popularity, there will be a need for regulation to ensure that users are protected and that the virtual world operates fairly.
Digital Divide: The metaverse could create a new form of digital divide, where those without access to the technology or the resources to participate are left behind.
What is the purpose of the metaverse?
In concrete terms, the metaverse opens up an immense field of possibilities, limited only to the imagination of developers, the funds of investors and the resources of users. As Spielberg presents perfectly in Ready Player One, all you need is a computer, an Internet connection and possibly a virtual reality headset to enter these digital worlds.
At the time of writing, the main uses of the metaverse revolve around gaming, events and social relations. As an example, Mark Zuckerberg and Meta have invested about 10 billion dollars in this technology and in particular to develop a world to work for companies :
Overview of the Meta Horizon Workroom metaverse
Since Zuckerberg’s announcement, there is no end to the number of companies that are choosing to get into the metaverse. They are turning to already well-developed solutions, such as Decentraland or The Sandbox, or choosing to develop their own platforms. Here is a non-exhaustive list of major brands with a foot in the metaverse: – Carrefour and Groupe Casino: giants of the retail industry;
- Square Enix, Ubisoft and Epic Games: video game studios;
- Axa USA, JP Morgan and HSBC: banks;
- Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent: luxury brands;
- Nike and Adidas: ready-to-wear;
- Apple, Samsung and HTC: Tech giants;
- Snoop Dogg, Slipknot and mk2: artists;
- Fiat and Ford: the automobile.
Let us take the example of the companies of the large distribution, they can consider to offer immersive and playful virtual experiences to their customers. As a result, they would be able to get coupons to buy products in the real world.
For artists, such as musicians for example: it is possible to organize a virtual concert in the metaverse where each fan can receive a souvenir t-shirt of the event (tokenized as NFT) reusable in other metavers. He could also attend the concert, wear his Gucci sweatshirt and carry his Louis Vuitton bag as an NFT.
In the future, some experts believe that metavers will bring together all our daily activities: shopping, cultivating, working, participating in cultural activities, relaxing, having fun, etc. However, copying the real world is not the final goal. Everyone will be able to shape their own world in their own image.
What is the potential of metavers?
According to a Bloomberg Intelligence report, the annual metaverse market could be worth $800 billion by 2024. In parallel, the American bank Morgan Stanley speaks of a market of 8,000 billion dollars. For comparison, the video game market is worth about $180 billion in 2021. While these figures seem extremely exaggerated, they do indicate an enthusiasm for this growing industry.
The growth potential of augmented and virtual reality technologies is also exponential. PWC predicts a growth of 39.6 billion in 2019 to €1,280 billion in 2030 (+ 3 000%).
The 90 companies that build the metaverse
Despite a huge potential and the interest of giants like Microsoft, Meta or Apple, the metaverse is struggling to convince users. A subject of mockery taken up everywhere in the media, pointing the finger at Decentraland and The Sandbox for their low attendance. While these numbers are wrong and the reality is more like 100 to 200 times more, it’s still very small compared to the capitalization of these projects in the cryptocurrency market.
Potential Impact of the Metaverse on Society
The Metaverse has the potential to transform society in many ways. It offers new opportunities for creative expression, socialization, and economic activity.
In the Metaverse, people can connect with others from all around the world and form communities based on shared interests, rather than geographical location. This has the potential to break down barriers and promote understanding between different cultures and groups.
The Metaverse also offers new opportunities for economic activity, with virtual real estate and NFTs providing new forms of investment and income. It could also lead to the creation of new jobs and industries, such as virtual architecture and design.
However, there are also concerns about the impact of the Metaverse on society. It could potentially exacerbate existing inequalities, with those who can afford to invest in virtual real estate and NFTs having a significant advantage over those who cannot. There are also concerns about the impact of the Metaverse on mental health, with some experts warning that excessive use of virtual worlds could lead to social isolation and addiction.
The metaverse is an exciting concept that has the potential to change the way we live, work, and play. It could provide new opportunities for businesses, create new forms of social interaction, and offer a more immersive and engaging way to learn and explore. However, the development of the metaverse also comes with challenges, such as privacy concerns, interoperability issues, and the risk of creating a new digital divide. As technology continues to advance, it will be important to carefully consider these challenges and work to create a metaverse that is accessible, equitable, and fair for everyone.
The Metaverse is a virtual world, not a physical place.
The Metaverse is a virtual world that exists independently of any one application or platform, while virtual reality typically refers to a single application or platform.
Yes, it is possible to make money in the Metaverse through virtual real estate, NFTs, and gaming.
No, the Metaverse is not meant to replace the real world but rather to complement it and offer new opportunities for interaction and creativity.
The metaverse is a term used to describe a virtual universe where users can interact with a computer-generated environment using avatars or digital representations of themselves. It’s a fully immersive digital world that blurs the line between the physical and virtual world.
Some popular examples of the metaverse include virtual reality games like Second Life, social media platforms like Facebook Horizon, and blockchain-based virtual worlds like Decentraland.
The metaverse is a fully immersive virtual universe where users can interact with a computer-generated environment. It’s a concept that has gained a lot of attention lately due to the advancements in technology and the growing interest in virtual reality. You should care about the metaverse because it has the potential to revolutionize the way we live, work, and play in the future.
To get into the metaverse, you’ll need to have a device that can access virtual reality or augmented reality experiences, like a VR headset or a smartphone with AR capabilities. Once you have the necessary equipment, you can start exploring virtual worlds, games, and social platforms that make up the metaverse.