- What is the metaverse?
- The history of the metaverse: Snow Crash.
- Features of the metaverse
- What can be done in the metaverse?
- Types of metaverses
- How to access the metaverse
- Differences between metaverse, omniverse, and multiverse
- Examples of Metaverses: Second Life
- The change from Facebook to Meta. Why?
What is the metaverse?
The metaverse is a digital reality that we access through special devices such as virtual or augmented reality glasses through which we can interact with other users. Each of these users will have an avatar (their character in the virtual world) and will interact through objects in immersive worlds.
It is like a second digital reality in which we can interact with our friends, work with our colleagues, enjoy our partners and even have a job in the digital space.
To understand the term “metaverse,” try mentally substituting it in a sentence for “cyberspace.” Most of the time the meaning will not change much. This is because the word itself does not refer to a specific type of technology, but to a change in the way humans interact with it.
Typically, the technologies that make up the metaverse include virtual reality. This is characterized by virtual worlds that continue to exist when you are not even playing, such as augmented reality, which combines aspects of both worlds, both digital and physical.
Despite this, the metaverse does not necessarily require access to those spaces through augmented or virtual reality. For example, Fornite fulfills various characteristics of a virtual world, which you can access through a computer or mobile, so we could say that it is metaverse.
The history of the metaverse: Snow Crash.
We are not exactly clear about the origin of the metaverse, but what we can know is when people started talking about it. The first references to the metaverse appear in a novel by Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash (1992).
The novel tells the story of Hiroaki Hiro Protagonist, a pizza delivery boy in the real world, but a warrior prince (samurai) in the Metaverse. Given a moment, Hiro discovers the existence of a powerful computer virus in the Metaverse, called Snow Crash, and the discovery of more about this virus will be the central axis of the plot.
What is relevant about this book is that Neal created the first written reference to a completely virtual world long before cyberspace could be spoken of. In his book, Neal introduces the idea of avatars (or virtual characters of real people in the tangible world).
What is an avatar?
An avatar is a personalized three-dimensional character that you have to create to access the metaverse and that is the interface through which you will interact with the rest of the people in it.
The key to this process is that each of us is going to create our avatar by designing it as close as possible to our real-world personality and appearance.
Features of the metaverse
These virtual spaces or metaverses present a series of characteristics in common. These are the following:
1# They are interactive spaces
A user who is in the metaverse can communicate and interact both with other users/avatars and with the virtual universe itself. It also adds a causality feature, since users are part of the changes that occur around them.
2# Sound corporeal surroundings
Secondly, these virtual spaces or metaverses are characterized by being subject to the laws of physics and there is a shortage of resources, just as it happens in the tangible world as we know it.
3 # It is persistent and autonomous by itself
Lastly, thirdly, they are also persistent and autonomous on their own. This means that even though we are not using the metaverse, it is still working. This gives it the property of being a living organism, in which regardless of whether users are connected to it or not, the dynamics of the world continue to function.
4# It is decentralized
The metaverse is not owned by one company or a single platform, but by all of its users, who can also control their private data. Blockchain technology is a big part of this because it ensures that all transactions within a virtual world are public, easy to track, and secure across the globe.
5# No limits
As a 3D virtual space, the metaverse removes all kinds of barriers, physical or otherwise. It is an infinite space where there are no limits on how many people can use it at the same time, what types of activities can be done, what industries can enter, etc. It extends accessibility more than current internet platforms.
6# Virtual economies
Lastly, users can participate in decentralized virtual economies powered by cryptocurrencies. This includes marketplaces where users can buy, sell, and trade items such as digital assets such as avatars, virtual clothing, NFTs, or event tickets.
What can be done in the metaverse?
Now that we know a lot more about the world of the metaverse, let’s see what exactly we can do about it.
For years there have already been video games like Minecraft and Roblox that have offered experiences similar to those of the metaverse. However, in 2020 others such as The Sandbox and Decentraland have appeared that have boosted the economy of video games by adding digital assets. Not only can you import your own NFTs into the games and buy virtual lands, but you can also use the ones from the game itself to improve your situation in the virtual world by enabling, exploring, or building spaces.
NFTs aside, these games play like any other. That is, you can wander through the different virtual worlds hanging out with the brands and celebrities that are fighting to corner the market.
There are also virtual spaces such as shopping malls, art galleries, or squares where you can walk, talk to people, play games, build buildings or attend events. Some even organize their own music concerts.
Without a doubt, the magic is in the relationships that can be formed with other users. There are many gathering spaces in the metaverse. While you can meet in huge open worlds like The Sandbox, you can also play in custom rooms on platforms like Spatial. These applications are specifically designed to host events, conferences, or meetings.
Types of metaverses
Within the traditional metaverses, to call them in some way, we find classic video games like Grand Theft Auto, which allows us to establish relationships with other users virtually in an open world that simulates the real world.
A game style that has become very popular in GTA is “Roleplay”. A mode where the player’s avatar has a job that exactly replicates the real world. You usually start with a lower-profile job, such as a garbage man or a taxi driver, and depending on the money and experience gained, you can work your way up the social ladder in VR.
On the other hand, Roblox is a clear example of a traditional metaverse with features similar to blockchain metaverses. It is an online video game platform with a very powerful creation system that allows users to create their virtual worlds. Although it does not use blockchain technology as such, many video game developers see it as the natural evolution of the platform.
Within the blockchain metaverses, there is a distinction between centralized and decentralized. The main difference between these two types is in the control of the virtual world. Those companies have full control over centralized blockchain metaverses, such as the launch of Facebook. In them, the organization has all the data of the users, being the only one that decides on their future.
Likewise, the difference between the two is that the former integrates crypto payments and the virtual elements are in the form of NFTs. Therefore, they have a virtual economy of their own. But control of this economy is in the hands of a few organizers.
Lastly, there are the decentralized blockchain metaverses. These have a completely autonomous virtual economy controlled by users. This is the case of Decentraland, The Sandbox, or Cryptovoxels. All seek to become Decentralized Autonomous Organizations, although initially founded by a single body in charge of building the virtual world. In other words, all of these metaverses will be completely controlled by users in the future.
How to access the metaverse
With all this information, it is important to understand that there is not yet a single metaverse and that it will take a few years to see truly interconnected virtual worlds.
Today we can enjoy a collection of virtual worlds made up of separate games, programs, and platforms that only have their access technologies in common. Therefore, there are different platforms that you can access in different ways.
It is not a single device or universal technology that allows you to access all the worlds that exist in the multiverse. Each one has its entrance door that you can enjoy from your computer, tablet, mobile phone, or with virtual or augmented reality glasses.
As we have already mentioned, many companies are betting on the development of this technology. For example, Facebook (Meta) and Microsoft are in the process. But not only technology companies are investing in the field, but also luxury brands and firms. For example, Nikeland is developed on Roblox, Fortnite, Gucci, Ralph Lauren, Balenciaga, and even Zara have already launched their projects about it.
It is estimated that there are already more than 160 companies that have joined this race. Taking this into account, if you want to dedicate yourself to exploiting this sector, don’t miss this post in which we point out the professions in the metaverse that will be most in demand and that are ready to exploit in the future.
Differences between metaverse, omniverse, and multiverse
In this new field, there are similar concepts that can be confusing.
Keep in mind that, for one thing, in the metaverse, everyone interacts in the same digital world where they can effortlessly switch activities. For example, a user can go from playing games to shopping, working, socializing, or dating without changing platforms. Each of these activities is connected to the same user identity.
On the other hand, a multiverse is a collection of virtual worlds, each independent of the others when it comes to digital identities, assets, and the laws that participants must follow. A person’s activity on social media will not impact their gaming avatar and vice versa, nor will it be affected by their purchases. We could say that today, in the era of Web 2.0, we are still in a multiverse, interacting with a variety of applications, websites, and games, each of which implies a different set of rules about what you can say and what you can say. do.
Lastly, there is also the omniverse. The omniverse is the collection of all metaverses and multiverses. The sum of everything that can be achieved with digital identities and economies. Although a multiverse is a holder of metaverses, both frameworks still fall under the umbrella of the omniverse. However, it is unlikely that we will see this superstructure any time soon.
Examples of Metaverses: Second Life
Second Life was the first case of a virtual metaverse launched in 2003. To register on this platform and have your “second life,” you simply had to create an avatar and you could access the virtual world of Second Life.
When you entered this world you entered as a resident and the possibilities in this virtual world were limitless; you could explore the virtual world, interact with other avatars (users), play with your friends, and even create digital products and services (digital clothing for avatars, digital music,…) to later trade with them.
This last characteristic is very important to highlight within the metaverses and it is that within them a digital economy is created and developed that will allow the ecosystem to grow.
The change from Facebook to Meta. Why?
Recently we have all heard about the controversial and mediatic change of the name of the Facebook group to the Meta group. Well, we are going to try to explain the reasons why this change makes a lot of sense.
The first thing we have to contextualize is that Facebook has a dark past that we already talked about in our post on the history of Facebook. There are numerous points in history where Facebook has preferred to prioritize growth over the safety of the content viewed by users, and this has led to repeated episodes of reputational crises.
That is why in the short term, the change of name of the Facebook group for the Meta group may be related to an attempt to do a strong facelift of the brand to prevent all its products from being associated with a company with problems. in privacy and data management.
However, in the medium-long term, we can understand the reason for this company’s strategy. Facebook’s mission is to connect people. And so far he has done it through social networks; web and app platforms through which people interact and share content. To continue with this mission, the group now wants to go to create and move their social network towards the interactive world; the metaverse of Facebook Horizon.
Likewise, this strategy will allow the group to have less dependence on billing for ads on social networks (currently representing 98% of revenue) and to seek new sources of income with hardware (Oculus VR glasses and Portal video call devices). ) and software (experiences and subscriptions in the metaverse).
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