VR & AR

Metaverse: what is, what is not and what we will do it

The metaverse is a technological revolution with the potential to transform our era, learn what exactly it is and what awaits us.
  Metaverse is a vitally important word for the future of digital connections, and yet few know what it means. It surely reminds you of one of the largest companies in the world, Facebook, which changed its name to Meta in a hasty attempt to position itself in the conquest of this idea. And it is no wonder, all the technological giants have been in the same task for months, because… The metaverse will be the next major milestone in the history of the digital society. In this article we will talk about the metaverse in depth, we will explain what it is and you will be able to understand why it is the center of attention in the new great technological race.  We will debunk myths that have emerged over the past few months so that you understand what the true scope of this idea is. You will know how the technologies that are already often confused with the metaverse are related and we will show you some examples of what is being done and what we can do in a future of virtual worlds that is increasingly closer.  

What does Metaverse really mean?

To put it simple, meta is a Greek word that translates “beyond” and verse, from Latin “versus,” means “what surrounds you“.  Yes, we know, “beyond what surrounds you” is not something that says much about the future of digital connections, but you will see that it will make a lot of sense with what we will tell you later. First of all, you need to understand that the metaverse is not some specific kind of technology, but rather an idea to transform our online interactions. It will connect us in a way that we have only seen, so far, in science fiction. The metaverse will be a virtual universe in which it is sought to create and unite virtual spaces that will be permanently online. We will visit totally new places to work, socialize, play and everything we do in the real world.  But is not there something similar called the internet? True, but the metaverse proposes an immersive experience, more advanced and with many more benefits. The advancement and adoption of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies has been very exciting and promising over the past decade. It is one of the reasons why we can now dream of creating a virtual universe that we will know using VR glasses and other haptic gadgets that will allow us to interact with it. In theory, we can recreate our reality or create a new one to live part of our lives in the metaverse.  That is why many believe (and we bet) that it will be the future version of the internet. So, the metaverse “is a universe of virtual spaces“, “is the future version of the internet“, but do you have a hard time imagining what exactly it will be like?  Don’t worry, it happens, because (here is a secret) … At the moment there is no clear vision of what the metaverse will look like, but that is not a bad thing. The 60s were a time when no one had computers in their homes and yet the idea of the internet already existed.  Do you think you would have imagined the internet as it is today during those years? Well, that is exactly the same scenario that we live now with the metaverse: We don’t know what it will look like, but we know it will change everything, forever. However, there is a consensus on what are the characteristics that should have the metaverse and we will explain them below so that you have a clearer idea what this is all about.   6 characteristics that will define the metaverse  

6 characteristics that will define the Metaverse

Inmersiveness

Why is immersiveness one of the great attractions of the metaverse? Because at the moment all our digital experiences are limited by a screen, but that is already changing. Sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch are the senses with which our brain perceives reality. They work as well together as they do separately and it is the reason you can “feel” the taste of a chocolate just by seeing an image. Therefore, the better we manage to stimulate our senses, the more immersive our virtual experience will be. Devices such as virtual reality glasses, haptic suits and treadmills for virtual reality are able to emulate the sensations that the metaverse will produce for us. And they will stimulate our sight, hearing and touch in a realistic way by combining screens, vibrations, surround sound, electrical pulses and omnidirectional motion detectors. Curious?  A great option (and perhaps the cheapest) to start testing this technology are the Meta Quest 2 virtual reality glasses (before Oculus Quest 2).  Give them a look.  

 

Identity

In the metaverse we will have a virtual image of ourselves or avatar. It will be an interactive character that will imitate our movements, we can make it look as we want and it will be what other people will see when we interact with them. With your avatar you can express yourself at will, of course, depending onthe place and the occasion. In a work meeting you could find photorealistic avatars for you and your companions to get to know each other, while a virtual chat room would be relaxed and fun, with avatars as unique as your personality.  

Community

Are we alone in the universe? We do not know, but certainly one place where we won’t be alone will be the metaverse.  We will have the feeling of living in community, because we will be surrounded by other people. We will share experiences with everyone in real time, just as we do in the physical world. The metaverse will provide social experiences, not only because that is what the real world is based on but because we well know that video games, social networks and dating platforms, have been very good business to connect with each other (Besides, you know that it would be very boring if it were not so). A very interesting example that can give you an idea of what society will be in the metaverse is Second Life, a virtual community where each user enters with their own avatar to socialize and have a second life beyond what surrounds them.  

 

Persistence

The internet has worked uninterruptedly since the 90s globally no matter who connects to it or leaves it. If the metaverse will be the internet of the future, it is expected to have one of its fundamental characteristics: persistence.  

Economy

The metaverse will be a place where we will find virtual experiences, digital products or virtual versions of physical products, services and many other resources that we can exchange forming an economy. The video game industry does it all the time. They offer their users virtual goods and in-game money or other means of payment that they acquire with real money. Even “real money” may be an expression that falls into disuse, because the authenticity of transactions, products and government in the metaverse could depend on technologies such as blockchain and its derivatives: cryptocurrencies, smart contracts, NFTs, among others. This is a broad topic that we will explain on another occasion. It would be surprising to know how many possibilities and niche markets could arise with the metaverse. Take for instance: Decentraland, a virtual world with a functional economy. Its users have the MANA cryptocurrency to buy plots of virtual land and unique products.  

 

Interoperability

This is the feature that represents the biggest challenge, because it is the one that makes isolated virtual worlds connect forming a metaverse. Think of it like this: You connect to the internet on many devices and its interoperability becomes evident when you can be chatting on WhatsApp while attending a meeting with friends on Zoom on the same phone or listening to a podcast on Spotify while organizing an Instagram album in your computer browser. The simultaneous activities and the ease of connecting and “going from one place to another” in the metaverse will be fundamental so that we do not feel that going from Apple’s virtual spaces to Google’s is such a dramatic change in its infrastructure that we feel it as moving from Mexico to Japan. Now that you have a somewhat clearer idea about what the metaverse is, let’s debunk some myths that exist and could confuse you.  

What is not the Metaverse? 3 common myths

Virtual reality

To say that the metaverse is virtual reality is like saying that the internet is Google Chrome. Virtual reality is a technology with which we can shape and experience the metaverse in the same way that Chrome is a software that allows us to visualize, navigate and interact with different websites that are on the internet. Look at it this way: we can create a VR app, but that does not mean we will have a metaverse, just as creating a website will not get the whole internet in our hands.  

Videogame

Although some video games comply with the characteristics we saw above, none does justice to the metaverse. Most video games are not integrated with each other and their digital spaces are not persistent, they usually restart with each game. The most important difference is: A video game is made to entertain, but the experiences of the metaverse will go much further. We will be able to play video games on the metaverse, but a video game will not be the metaverse itself.  

Platform

You could come to consider the metaverse as a platform and, as we mentioned from the beginning, relate it directly to some well-known brand (Ahem…  Meta). However, to claim that would be as limiting as saying that Facebook is the internet when online services and experiences go far beyond a social network. It is best to think of the metaverse for what it will be: a network of interconnected experiences, applications, digital products, devices, tools, and infrastructure.     Infografía ¿Qué podremos hacer en el metaverso?  

What will we do in the Metaverse?

Socialize and have fun

In the metaverse we can do everything that our social applications allow us, such as chatting or having video calls.  It is very likely that we will generate new trends when it comes to communicating, as happened with emoticons, emojis, GIFs and stickers in our mobile communications. On the other hand, we can have fun with many other forms of entertainment according to our tastes. The experiences will reach us in the metaverse: like the concerts that today take place in the video games Roblox, Minecraft and Fortnite. But we can also attend events that do not take place in the virtual world but allow access through virtual reality.  

Staying fit

Imagine being at home during a rainy day, but being ableto connect to a yoga session in a sunny park of the metaverse or being able to feel the adrenaline of cycling in the mountains and forget the four walls that surround the cycling room in your gym. Sports applications in virtual reality are ready and they are incredible.  

Learn and practice

Would you like to learn a new language?  This type of learning is the perfect example, because when learning languages, you will always be advised to travel abroad or practice with native speakers to improve your skills.  However, opportunities are not always around the corner, so a tourism and learning experience in the metaverse could be an interesting solution.  

Work and undertake

The business world will be much more interesting when digital assets, digital twins and possibilities to design and test different formulas or prototypes of products before their manufacture are a reality that takes place in the metaverse. The metaverse will revolutionize the way we do business, manage companies, train staff and this, of course, will open many more doors to entrepreneurship in technology.  

How to take my projects to the metaverse?

One step at a time

Remember that there is no a full metaverse, but that may change over the next few years. Probably before reaching the point of a unified metaverse, we will rather have a multiverse of metaverses, product of the projects that large companies (Meta, Microsoft, Epic Games, Tencent, among others) are developing at the moment. This does not mean that you should wait for a great metaverse boom to happen, if we are not already in it. The best thing you can do is create a virtual reality experience that you can take advantage of and then incorporate it into a metaverse. Think about how your products, services, or brand can become or be represented into a virtual reality experience that helps your business goals.  Look for a team of experienced developers, such as Perspektiva 360, to receive advice, shape your ideas and be at the forefront of technological development. Contact us so that your company is ready to take the necessary step when the metaverse is part of our lives globally.  
Cover image: pikisuperstar, via Freepik. Image “6 charactristics that will define the metaverse”: SHVETS Production, via Pexels. Edited by Perspektiva 360. Infographic “What will we do in the metaverse?”: Tima Miroshnichenko, via Pexels. Edited by Perspektiva 360.

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