Is Metaverse the Future or Just a Bubble Waiting to Explode?
Metaverse

Is Metaverse the Future or Just a Bubble Waiting to Explode?

5m
11 months ago

Is metaverse actually quite as influential to the future of the digital world as it is being hailed to be, or is it another concept waiting to fall flat on its face? Read more to find out!

Is Metaverse the Future or Just a Bubble Waiting to Explode?

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If you’ve been even slightly active on the internet over the past few weeks, or have at the very least skimmed an article headline or two, you must’ve faced the word “Metaverse.” So, what exactly does it mean? And is it actually quite as influential to the future of the digital world as it is being hailed to be, or is it yet another concept waiting to fall flat on its face and be forgotten?

What Is a Metaverse?

Source: VentureBeat

As of now, metaverse refers to a hypothetical proposed version of the internet. However, the concept is not too far from practical fruition. It aims to allow users to access permanent online 3D virtual worlds using not just headgear made specifically for virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), but also traditional personal computers and laptops.
When a lot of sources say “the Metaverse,'' they are often referring to the recently released ambitious business rebranding of the company Meta, previously known as Facebook. On October 28, 2021, Facebook announced that they would be renaming and refocusing their brand, with a newfound interest towards building a metaverse (thus, the name, Meta) based on AR and VR. Meta aims to bring people closer together in an online setting, enabling them to be connected in ways they couldn’t be before.

The metaverse would allow you to immerse in the experience of the internet in 3D, beyond just using it from afar on a 2D screen.

How Did We Get Here?

While Meta may have just announced their plans for the future, they surely haven’t just come up with it. Metaverses have long been in planning, and have been implemented in video games before.

Are you familiar with the game Second Life from 2003? It was a platform where you could create a personalized avatar for yourself, and enjoy a “second life” in the virtual world, deeming it fit to be labelled a metaverse. Similarly, Roblox, Minecraft, and Animal Crossing can all be classified as metaverses of their own, given that they allow players to interact with other players in real-time over the internet in a virtual reality.

So, what’s the difference? If it’s been done before, why is it suddenly all the rage? The answer is simply due to the scale on which it is being designed right now. Breaking the concept of being merely reduced to a video game and in-game actions, Mark Zuckerberg’s metaverse intends to combine the real world and the digital world by the use of virtual reality and augmented reality both, meaning that you won’t just be in a fictional game universe online, but also an online version of the real, non-fiction universe on top of it.

A Possible New Future

The very basis of a metaverse is to enhance human contact. As we evolve more and more into a species more technologically advanced than ever before, it is imminent for us to pay heed to who we are connected to: the world and the people around us. Meta encapsulates this concept perfectly.

Imagine an educational metaverse where you take your classes from home, but see and interact with your instructor as if you were there with them in reality. Imagine attending a meeting from the comfort of your couch, where you don’t dress up, but your avatar does and you’re seated at a virtual table with other people whose reactions and body language you can gauge just as well as you would in real life. A metaverse could very likely bring these imaginations to reality, and soon.

If you’re wondering what else metaverses bring to the table, the answer is a lot. With the rise of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), a metaverse brings forth a new form of advertisement for brands. Since it allows trading lands, purchasing properties and exhibiting the company's brand with posters or logos, it can possibly prove to be a good method to not only spark but to renew customer interest.

Companies can profit from metaverses in a variety of ways. In a basically infinite universe; organizing events, developing crossovers across properties, and communicating with the user community is made easier than ever, allowing enterprises to engage with their consumers in a way they couldn’t before.

With AR and VR already as advanced as they are, and a lot of funding which these tech giants already have, there are almost no creative limits to this vision. Technical limitations, however, and possible shortcomings, are not things the Metaverse is immune to.

Shortcomings and the Market Competition

Although metaverses are taking up the internet by a storm right now, it is important to keep in mind that as companies turn their focus to enabling the virtual space to be a more integral part of our lives, it does come with darker aspects to it.

Despite the fact that businesses and organizations continue to improve their IT surveillance systems, data protection has always been a worry for visitors of any digital context. Metaverses need the evolution of surveillance systems to a whole new extreme, in order to keep up with its feature of ever-expanding space. This would need the development of new systems capable of ensuring the security of one's identification and belongings in the online world.

Furthermore, law and legality is another aspect one needs to ponder upon. The subject of regulation and power will arise as a result of the world's immersion in the metaverse, necessitating a greater focus on digital legal areas. With the rising virtual space available to users across the globe, it will be necessary to determine how the matter of jurisdictional power will be addressed.

When comparing the actual world to a simulated reality, the idea of the perception of time might be different for everyone, since users are less likely to be aware of their physical bodies when they are engrossed within the virtual world. Users may subconsciously spend a lot more time within a metaverse as a result of the total immersion. Owing to the danger of a skewed perception of time, it is critical to implement systems that keep people in touch with reality.

When it comes to virtual worlds, one can question what really constitutes an individual's identity. Most crucially, how to show that you really are the person you say you are, rather than someone else or a machine attempting to imitate your identity. This is the part where reputation comes into play, not just in terms of verification, but also as evidence that the user with whom one engages is reliable and legitimate. The ability to manufacture forged face characteristics and speech poses the greatest obstacle, and thus it would be vital for new verification protocols to emerge in the coming years.

The Bottom Line

Weighing the pros and cons, it is quite balanced to expect metaverses to have a lasting impact on the future, and perhaps even shape it. Whether or not the metaverse is in the monopoly of our digital future is something only time will tell, but it is fair to calculate that given the decade-long preparation, it is here to stay.

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