When Facebook changed its name to Meta in October, the expression Metaverse started getting more public attention. This expression was created by a writer, Neal Stephenson, in 1992., in his novel “Snow Crash”. In this novel, Metaverse represented a futuristic technology based on experiences in virtual reality. Today, Meta company defines Metaverse as the next phase of human relationships.
Metaverse will enable us to spend time with our friends, learn, buy, even work in a virtual space. Thanks to the new platform, we won’t be silent observers, but active participants, we will become part of an immersive experience. The real world will join virtual when Metaverse reaches its full potential. That is not going to happen so soon, but the first steps have already been made.
The idea to create a virtual universe where people could interact is as old as the expression itself. Several companies tried to create their own version of this platform. The most successful was the ‘Second Life’, a video game that enables its players to create their avatar and live their second, virtual life. Though the universe of this game stayed clearly separated from the real world, the tech development in the past decade did all possible to erase these boundaries.
Besides the VR and AR development enabling the portal to virtual worlds, Blockchain technology will systemize all these worlds. NFT has become a very popular word. It is based on Blockchain technology and represents protected digital property. NFT could be a song, meme, photo, or digital property that will be sold in Metaverse.
Last year, a digital property was sold for 2.1 million euros. This part of ‘land’ exists on a platform called Decentraland, a place where people via their avatars establish contacts, create different things, and trade with them. Somnium Space, Upland, and the Sandbox are also popular platforms.
Companies and Metaverse
Facebook is responsible for publicity this term currently has, but it is not the only company working on future visions.
This company focuses from Facebook on Metaverse. They launched the platform ‘Horizon Worlds’ and sold millions of Oculus VR glasses.
Microsoft is also in the race. They are developing a Mesh platform to enable their users a virtual presence by creating avatars. They have already announced Mesh will bring the Metaverse on the team app in 2022.
On the other side of reality, a Metaverse Properties company was opened, the first real estate agency in virtual reality. They offer mediation in renting and purchasing real estate properties on platforms like Decentraland, Somnium Space, and others. This company offers business spaces, galleries, family houses, all in a digital form.
Tech companies are not the only ones involved in this new trend. Nike bought RTFKT, a startup within Metaverse and it profiled itself as a company making virtual snickers using NFT and Blockchain technology.
Metaverse and bureaucracy
Last month, Barbados, a small island country in the Caribbean sea, announced opening its embassy on the Decentraland platform. A first public government office within Metaverse, which only shows the potential usage of these platforms for bureaucratic purposes.
When will Metaverse arrive?
As we have already witnessed, it is already possible to try virtual worlds, but the real idea of Metaverse, where interactions are possible just like in reality, is still far away. Based on Bill Gates’s predictions, most virtual meetings will switch from video platforms to 3D spaces in the next 2 or 3 years. On the other hand, Facebook thinks it will be needed 10 – 15 years to realize the Metaverse idea.