Does a new frontier await? One where any world imaginable can virtually exist in cyberspace? Instead of trying to visit different parts of the earth, space, the galaxy, and the universe physically, can we experience them virtually with anyone from anywhere on earth? Is this new frontier the Metaverse?
More and more companies are working to make this a reality. These include Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, Disney, Nvidia, and video game manufacturers such as Roblox and Unity software. Tech communities believe that the metaverse should be an open and interoperable ecosystem, not dominated by any single company, but it is hard to believe that these companies aren’t racing for majority control.
At the present time, one may wonder whether the Covid pandemic, forcing us to increase reliance on Zoom, blockchain technologies, cryptocurrencies, Facebook’s Oculus, and NFTs hasn’t already pushed us there faster? Items that exist virtually in current society are becoming more valuable such as NFTs and Cryptocurrencies. These items can be exchanged in the metaverse to access concerts and other digital venues and items.
Will we be able to attend any concert virtually within the comfort of our own homes without having to worry about maximum occupancies and disease transmissions, reducing the cost for admission making them more accessible to everyone virtually?
A digital twin – a virtual simulation of a real-world scenario – can augment this physical experience. Imagine you have a stadium that can only host an audience of 20,000 people for a live concert, but you can enable millions of users to participate in that event through a digital twin process and get at the same time a dynamic interaction between the two.
Some companies and musical artists have already experimented in this area. Balenciaga held a virtual fashion show and musical artist Travis Scott performed a concert on Fortnite drawing 27 million users at the time. Both events provided experiences like never before.
When we need to go to work for a business meeting, can we actually be there in the meeting room virtually getting more of a real-life interpersonal feel than meeting through Zoom? That is the promise of the Metaverse: It is more than just a game that incorporates other companies’ intellectual property. Instead, it’s an Internet where people will more tangibly replicate many common aspects of real-world life, including socialization, commerce, and entertainment.
trying out Horizon Workrooms, aka Facebook’s “Metaverse for Work” pic.twitter.com/E2GKqNOMT7
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) August 21, 2021
With space, real estate, increasing prices, and Covid transmissions becoming more of a burden and affecting everyday life, the promise of a future where the living conditions are still cramped but people have accepted their material conditions and retreated into a fantasy world created by the tech companies becomes more appealing.
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The Metaverse has the potential to be another parallel economy where anything that can be dreamt up can be built. In the real world, web and software design is a huge part of the economy with tech and software leaders as some of the richest people in the world. In 2019, researchers estimate that “the digital economy is worth $11.5 trillion globally, equivalent to 15.5 percent of global GDP and has grown two and a half times faster than global GDP over the past 15 years. The development of the metaverse can add to this.
Also, Metaverse needs massive content to entertain the users. It needs experiences like virtual amusement parks, virtual movie theatres, virtual concerts, virtual casinos, virtual schools, virtual conferences and so on to be created in exchange for cryptocurrencies or backed by NFTs.
The Internet as we know may quickly become a thing of the past with the creation of the Metaverse. Once created, the metaverse has the potential to lead to a more equal world, reducing experiences in life based on economic differences and advancing our communication and information as we know it.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here by Impakter.com columnists are their own, not those of Impakter.com. — In the Featured Photo: Virtual Reality Gear. Featured Photo Credit: Stephan Sorkin