You have probably seen this buzz-word pop up on your online news feed, or appear in your local newspaper. You may have thought that the Metaverse is Facebook due to its recent rebranding to Meta. But no, the Metaverse is a massive concept that is becoming a reality, with multiple individuals building and investing their time into creating this “reality”. It is said to be the future of technology with multiple CEOs like Mark Zuckerberg or Satya Nadella mentioning “it’s the future”. Now what is the Metaverse? Why is it the future? What technology surrounds the Metaverse?
What is the Metaverse?
Imagine you’re in a game, any game. You’re living the life of another character and doing things you normally wouldn’t or doing things that humans aren’t able to achieve. You’re exploring different worlds in the game or the virtual dimension you’re in. You’re living the life of an online character. That’s only a fraction of what the Metaverse is, the Metaverse explores so many other parts. The metaverse focuses on digitalizing basically every daily task such as banking, art, shopping and gaming to list a few. The Metaverse allows us to transform our life from reality to a digital reality.
Why is it the future?
The Metaverse is the future because of how rapidly it is being developed and implemented into our daily lives. Each industry and business is figuring out a way to digitalize their services and increase convenience and improve efficiency in production/services. Corporations are focusing on creating new technical innovations to appeal to their customer’s cozy feeling, with consumers being able to acquire services and products with the tap of a button. Yet, there’s another reason why the Metaverse is the future. In today’s day and age, the World revolves around social media, the youth fuelling the popularity of social media, due to the variety of things you can do on an application. This generation can view itself in another form on social media, due to its filters and the popularity and likes you can receive from a single picture. The desirability of adolescents to view themselves as someone else, escaping reality; they can like themselves better in this digital form. This is achieved through games and social media. Multiple corporations are taking advantage of psychological phenomenon in the youth by producing video games, VR games and new social media apps. Increasing their customer outreach, with the increasing demand for these digital products. Examples of such games are the Sims Series of games, with the latest version having a user base of up to 36 million players. The game revolves around creating your own character and living the life you want, by choosing which house you want to live in, your job and your family even. This game satisfies the current trend in psychological patterns of teens, hence generating a massive user base. The Metaverse is also the future as people look to make tangible items; intangible such as selling online clothes to another digital user and generating online revenue from this exchange. This is a possible way the Metaverse could go but with multiple individuals and businesses at the head of building this digital reality, it is highly uncertain as to what it will turn out to be.
What Technology surrounds the Metaverse?
There are multiple technologies that support and surround the Metaverse, but there are a few key technologies that build the Metaverse.
Virtual Reality is a form of technology that allows us to experience a game in a first-person perspective, that makes it feel like you are playing the game in reality while, you are playing it digitally. Virtual reality can augment a reality that allows us to live another reality where we are able to do things we wouldn’t be able to do in real life. Virtual Reality operates by using an oculus which visualizes the game for us and creates a 3D atmosphere for the player to experience, users also use 2 hand controllers that has sensors which allow the actions of the player to be simulated in the game. Globally, there are 171 million people that use VR and the VR market is worth 7 billion dollars and only expected to grow, as consumer demand increases. Virtual Reality allows kids and teens to live in another dimension that allows them to view themselves in a manner that is pleasurable to their likes, hence increasing their attention span towards virtual reality.
Augmented Reality is a type of technology that cloaks images and objects over a physical environment. Augmented Reality functions through 3 processes, the first process is that the device uses a camera to capture the environment around the user. Then, the software/algorithm processes the visual data, and decides where to overlay the images and objects on the screen of the device. After doing so, the images and objects are then overlaid with sensory actions programmed such as touch. In 2021, there were 1.5 billion augmented reality users; this is because app developers have started incorporating augmented reality functions into their app to make it more engaging. An example of augmented reality is Pokemon Go! The game was released in 2016 and had over 250 million downloads. Another simple example is the Measure application on iOS devices which allows you to measure objects by using augmented reality.
Mixed Reality is a combination of both augmented and virtual reality. It merges a digital and physical world together. It offers the best of both worlds, mixed reality is being implemented more frequently into new technologies due to the versatility it offers in experience. Some examples of mixed reality are Snapchat and Instagram filters, combining augmented and virtual reality. Around 50 million people have used mixed reality in 2021, with the number only increasing as corporations intend to introduce new technology applications that use mixed reality to attract multiple users in the youth age. Mixed reality is attractive to many people as it amalgamates the 2 core technologies that build the Metaverse, providing a way for users to experience a new reality while integrating their current surroundings, to create a more surreal reality that is essentially more fun and interactive.