Have you heard about the Metaverse, an alternative universe to the one we currently live in?
The Metaverse is among the most searched technologies in the world today.
Companies are in high competition to control the Metaverse. Investors are looking out for good opportunities to invest, while every other person is curious to understand what exactly the Metaverse is.
Hence, this article explains the Metaverse, the opportunities and risks involved, and every other thing you should know about the Metaverse.
What is the Metaverse? Things to be Aware of and Opportunities For Individuals and Businesses in the Metaverse
The Metaverse is a virtual world where people can live, work, travel, and have fun through the aid of virtual reality (VR) headsets, augmented reality(AR) glasses, smartphone applications, and other technologies.
It is the third version of the internet, which would allow people to have real-time interactions with other people separated by long distances.
The Metaverse is a digital world that exists alongside the real world.
Distinctive features of the Metaverse
The following features define the Metaverse:
1. Immersive Reality
“The defining quality of the metaverse will be a feeling of presence — like you are right there with another person or in another place,” Mark Zuckerberg pointed out in the Founder’s letter at Meta.
The concept of Immersive reality allows users in the Metaverse to communicate with people, walk around the space, and feel the virtual environment as if they were in the physical world.
2. User-generated Content (UGC)
The UGC feature of the Metaverse allows users, and not only the developers, to generate and customize digital assets such as avatars.
People’s contribution makes the Metaverse unique and contributes to the overall growth of the ecosystem.
3. Social Interaction
This is one of the most exciting aspects of the Metaverse because it lets users connect and interact with people from any part of the world without any physical barrier.
People communicate in virtual reality through various means, such as voice and text chat, social activities, and fun games. This enhances social bonding.
Any company, organization, or person does not own the Metaverse.
It operates a decentralized system that allows users to have greater autonomy and control over their digital identities and assets. And, of course, these assets are securely stored on the blockchain.
Does the Metaverse exist now?
While the idea of being able to engage in a virtual world has been around for many years, a true metaverse seems years away.
Most people don’t know much about the Metaverse, and the digital equipment used on the platform is still expensive and inaccessible to many.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, in a review blog post, once pointed out that most people do not yet have access to VR goggles and motion capture gloves for immersive reality.
Thus, it could be said that the Metaverse exists now but has not been fully adopted by everyone in the world. In other words, the Metaverse has not gone mainstream yet.
What is AR?
AR is short for Augmented Reality. AR is a technology that combines computer-generated visual information with the real-world environment.
It means overlaying digital images onto the real world to enhance them with digital details. An example of this is the way we use different Snapchat filters to augment our looks.
What is VR?
VR is the abbreviation for Virtual Reality. It is a technology that creates a simulated environment where an individual gets immersed in a 3D world with the aid of VR headsets.
These headsets help the individual to experience an entirely different reality.
The Significance of AR and VR Technologies in the Metaverse
Integrating Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) technologies into the Metaverse helps to blend the physical world with the digital world.
This creates an immersive and interactive environment.
Virtual reality focuses more on what the 3D experience looks like when you’re wearing a VR headset.
AR technology wraps virtual elements in the real world, allowing users to see and interact with virtual content within their physical surroundings.
With the help of AR/VR in the Metaverse, we can now explore new and exciting virtual realities that combine virtual and physical elements.
For instance, developers can create games that combine our physical world and artificial enhancements to provide users with extreme fun. Games like Minecraft VR, Beatire: World of Cricket VR, Pokemon Go, and Ingress use VR/AR technology.
VR and AR are also deployed to create interactive and engaging educational experiences in the Metaverse.
How to Get into the Metaverse.
Before you can access the Metaverse, there are basic things you need in place, and they include;
- PC or mobile device– You can use a tablet or a mobile device, but a large display PC or a powerful laptop is advisable for a good experience.
- Stable Internet connection– You need a stable and strong Internet connection to navigate the virtual world at its best.
- Virtual reality headset– This is optional but advised for a more realistic experience.
Now that you have the basic things together, here is how you can get into the Metaverse using Oculus Quest 2:
- Connect your Oculus Quest 2 headset to your computer or console
- Download the Oculus browser and Set up your account on the Oculus platform
- Connect your web3 Wallet to the Oculus browser
- Through the Oculus browser, select and explore the metaverse platform that fits your interest.
- Log in and explore the virtual environment available in the metaverse platform.
- Navigate and enjoy the virtual world using your Oculus Quest 2 controller.
Oculus is a VR headset used to experience the Metaverse. Oculus is one of the various types of VR headsets used for the Metaverse.
Therefore, you don’t need it, but you can use it for the Metaverse. It is just one of the options available to you. Other types of VR headsets are
- Meta Quest 2
- Oculus Rift
- Oculus Go
- Samsung Gear VR
- Sony PlayStation VR
- Google Daydream
- Oculus Rift S
How do I Get to the Metaverse Without VR?
Here is how you can get to the Metaverse without a piece of virtual reality equipment:
- Choose a metaverse platform with appealing activities.
- Create an account and avatar on the platform’s website.
- Log in and explore the virtual environment available in the metaverse platform.
- You may need to purchase the platform’s cryptocurrency, like SAND for Sandbox, to pay for items and experiences in the Metaverse.
Some interesting metaverse platforms you can join without a VR headset: Roblox, Minecraft, Sandbox, Pokémon Go, Decentraland, Fortnite
Apart from these platforms, another way you can get into the Metaverse without a VR is through Augmented Reality apps on your smartphone or Video game consoles.
However, one major setback to using these methods is the absence of sensory feedback – the ability to touch and feel the virtual environment as though it were in real life.
Sensory feedback can only be achieved when you connect with the VR headset.
How the Metaverse Will Transform Businesses and Industries
The Metaverse can transform businesses and industries in the following ways:
The Metaverse provides businesses with great opportunities to engage customers and build strong relationships with them. These relationships ultimately lead to greater sales and profit for the business.
Industries can use the customization feature of the Metaverse to create unique services and products targeted at specific customers. This will help such industries improve their customer engagement.
Companies can leverage the immersive reality associated with the Metaverse to launch a unique product that will help them stand out from their competitors.
For instance, firms like Honda, Walmart, and Audi utilize the Metaverse for virtual events or product debuts.
Businesses also use the Metaverse to create virtual stores where customers can visit to shop virtually and have the items delivered to their physical locations. This, however, is also a competitive advantage.
With the Metaverse, businesses can also make more accurate decisions by collecting and analyzing customer data.
This data can be used to understand customer behavior and preferences better. Hence, companies can make strategic decisions that result in increased profits.
Products and services are better marketed or advertised by sampling them on the Metaverse. This is not just because they can reach a wider market but also because the customers have the opportunity to experience the products before buying.
Industries will not need to spend money on physical stores or offices since they are already on the Metaverse.
Top Tech Companies Associated With the Metaverse.
The following big tech companies are involved in the Metaverse development.
Formerly known as Facebook, Meta is one of the tech companies that enable users to participate in real-time 3D virtual worlds while protecting their identity and history.
Meta has a couple of products, like the Meta Horizon and Meta workrooms, that will bring us closer to the Metaverse.
Nvidia is a technological company that drives advances in various technologies like artificial intelligence, high-end graphics processing units (GPUs), and the manufacture of electronic game consoles.
Nvidia company offers free copies of Omniverse, which is a tool designed for producing metaverse-ready materials.
Microsoft is also one of the tech firms at the forefront of developing the Metaverse by improving outer space VR to create a much safer environment for users and participants.
Microsoft offers a hololens, a holographic and mixed reality device particularly intended to enhance productivity and training efforts in industries like manufacturing, healthcare, and education.
Google is a multinational technology company that focuses on search engine technology, artificial intelligence, and other software programs.
It is also among the top tech companies associated with the Metaverse. Google initiatives such as Google Maps and Google Street View, Google Assistant, and Google Fi could help accelerate the development of the Metaverse.
Google View and Google Maps feature help people access distant locations like they are presently at the place, while Google Assistant and Google Fi help people manage online activities without much stress.
These Google initiatives, however, are clear proof of the concept of virtual reality and would enable faster adoption of the Metaverse.
Apple focuses primarily on software services and consumer electronics. It is among the top tech companies involved in the Metaverse and may act as a major rival to Meta when it comes to augmented, virtual, and mixed-reality hardware.
They recently introduced their first 3D camera called Apple Vision Pro. The Apple Vision Pro is a VR headset with high-quality features to interact with the virtual environment.
What You Can Do with Metaverse
You can do the following in the Metaverse:
Games are at the forefront of metaverse development today because they are the most relatable application to it. You will have an avatar with which you can move about and interact with other players in the Metaverse.
In the Metaverse, you could do virtual shopping in a virtual mall and have the digital items you purchase sent to you in real time.
Attend Virtual Concerts
You could also participate in virtual concerts or festivals, switch your desired outfit at any time, interact with other participants, and see magical shows together at a virtual location.
You can attend corporate or international business meetings like Zoom calls on the Metaverse.
With the right equipment, you could work out in the Metaverse, for example, going for a jog on the Great Wall of China or kickboxing with VR zombies, among others.
Examples of a Metaverse
Some examples of the Metaverse you should know:
On Decentraland, users can buy and sell virtual lands and digital assets. Participants also engage in various activities, including games and concerts. Decentraland had a native token known as MANA.
Roblox is a gaming platform that allows anyone to create and monetize their game worlds, which all exist within the Metaverse.
Popular companies like Nike, Forever 21, Gucci, Nascar, Ralph Lauren, and Vans use Roblox to set up virtual worlds where users can interact with their brands.
Sandbox is one of the first decentralized metaverse platforms. It has a range of creation tools that allow anyone to build 3D items, characters, or objects, which are then minted as NFTs and imported into other Sandbox worlds. Sandbox has a native currency called SAND.
Fortnite is one of the most successful online games created by Epic Games and launched in 2017.
Omniverse is also a metaverse platform and was created by Nvidia. It aims to develop an exciting metaverse platform for 3D design professionals.
This includes Horizon Worlds, Horizon Venues, and Horizon Workrooms. These platforms enable users to create avatars that represent them as they navigate and interact with other users on the Metaverse.
How Brands and Marketers can be a Part of the Metaverse
As the Metaverse is still in its infant stage, a lot of brands and marketers are fighting to acquire the top seat in the space before anyone else.
Entering the Metaverse at this early stage is of great benefit to brands and marketers since it gives them the opportunity to upscale. There are various measures they adopt to get into the Metaverse, including;
- Gaining a steady online presence
- Launching branded NFTs to foster brand awareness and create lasting impressions about their brand.
- Native advertisements using immersive reality
- Developing and collaborating with other brands.
- Utilizing VR and including gift cards in the metaverse marketing strategy,
What the Metaverse Means for Influencers
Influencers will be able to create more immersive experiences with social events and concerts for their audience.
The Metaverse also opens up new monetization opportunities for influencers. For instance, making money through virtual event ticket sales.
In advertisements, the Metaverse can offer extensive data and insights about users’ preferences, behaviors, and interactions. Thus, Influencers can employ this data to deliver highly user-centric and targeted advertising within the Metaverse.
Brands can also collaborate with these influencers to make strategic campaigns that resonate with specific audiences. This improves the impact of influencer marketing.
Generally, the Metaverse is a good game for influencers because it allows them to be creative while earning big.
How to Monetize the Metaverse
The Metaverse offers opportunities to make huge amounts of money. There are many ways by which the Metaverse can be monetized, including;
In the Metaverse, you could turn your artworks into NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) and sell them on the open market.
You can purchase virtual real estate or lands and resell them at higher prices to make a profit.
Just like in real life, where you can purchase a plot of land, build a house or other property, and then rent it out, you could also use your Metaverse-owned property for rental purposes.
Most companies who are rushing into the Metaverse to build a virtual presence also use it as a good advertisement platform.
Just like in the real world, where brands can open shops and virtual malls and advertise products and services, you can do the same in the METAVERSE.
Another way to monetize the Metaverse is through play-to-earn. Investors can sell off NFTs to get profit, while users can play to earn in-game assets.
What Regulators Are Doing about Metaverse
The Metaverse needs a strong and reliable regulatory framework to make it a safe and secure space for users and their intellectual properties.
While the Metaverse offers many possibilities to transform lives, it does not yet address privacy issues and cybersecurity concerns associated with it.
There are currently no binding laws written explicitly for the Metaverse.
Still, various regulators and firms have proposed rules to maintain decorum in the Metaverse and ensure that the civic rights of persons are not violated.
Since there are no specific rules for the Metaverse, the system also adopts the general laws that apply to the web2 to sustain a sense of uniformity, security, and transparency.
Some of the Internet laws include Copyright Law, Intellectual Property Law, Contract Law, Tort Law, Defamation Law, Regulation of NFTs, and Tax.
How the Metaverse Will Reframe Human-centered Experiences
The Metaverse strengthens human experiences and creates a relatable environment to the physical world.
Customers can try out products of their choice, share their experiences with other metaverse users, and read reviews of the products before making a purchase.
Just as in the physical world where customers are placed first, the Metaverse also guarantees so for each customer in a virtual store.
The Metaverse will also bring an income generation channel. We could consider income from the sale of digital properties, creations, and others.
Moreover, the Metaverse would have a positive impact on hybrid or fully remote working company models.
It will ensure a better collaboration between employees in different locations compared to the traditional methods.
Lastly, according to research by Gartner Inc., 25% of individuals will spend at least an hour a day in the Metaverse by 2026 to work, purchase, learn, or interact.
However, this technology is expected to draw significant attention in the near future.
What does Ownership mean in the Metaverse?
Ownership in the Metaverse refers to how digital assets and tokens are controlled in the Metaverse. An entity or a person who has legal rights over a digital property is the authentic owner of such property.
A creator who mints a digital asset or a collector who acquires an item in the Metaverse has legal rights over such items.
Tokens are usually assigned to owners of various digital assets as proof of Ownership.
How to Make Purchases in the Metaverse
The Metaverse combines AI technologies to make the virtual shopping experience personalized and fun.
Two things make it possible to purchase anything from the Metaverse – a Metaverse platform and your digital Wallet.
The metaverse platform is the place where you find the digital item you want to buy, while your digital Wallet is like your “ATM card,” which you use to pay for the purchased item.
When these two things are in place, you could go ahead and buy whatever you want from the Metaverse, like land, NFT, concert tickets, etc.
How to Acquire Land on the Metaverse
If you want to buy land;
- Visit any of the metaverse platforms listed above.
- Browse from the various available pieces of land and compare their pricing.
- Once you have selected the digital piece of land that you wish to buy,
- Buy the piece of land.
- Once the transaction is complete, the piece of digital land becomes yours and is stored in the form of NFTs in your linked digital Wallet.
You can view your newly purchased metaverse land under the ‘NFTs’ tab in your digital Wallet.
The Potential Dangers of the Metaverse
Issue of Data Security and Privacy
Control over personal information in the Metaverse is left in the hands of the users, and this threatens privacy rights and data security.
Potential Social Isolation from Reality
The Metaverse provides us with a digital world where people can spend numerous hours interacting with others.
While this can enhance new forms of community relations and collaboration, it can also lead to a disconnection from real-life relationships.
The Metaverse allows the exchange of funds and the ability of users to trade virtual goods. This makes it a prime target for hackers and cybercriminals. Potential data breaches and loss of assets could result from the activities of hackers.
This could come in the form of bullying, trolling, or sexual harassment. Since users on the Metaverse remain anonymous, this could breed illicit behaviors such as these on the platform.
Ransomware is a type of malicious software that can encrypt your files and restrict you or anyone from accessing them. This is one of the most illicit dangers that users might face in the Metaverse.
How Personal Privacy and Data Security be Protected in the Metaverse
The protection of personal privacy and data depends on the users, policymakers, and platforms on the Metaverse.
One way users can protect their data is to limit the amount of personal details shared on the platform. Instead of using real names, pseudonyms can be used to protect their identity.
Policymakers, on the other hand, should also enact data protection regulations and guidelines to ensure that users have the right to control their data collection and distribution.
Platforms on the Metaverse can mitigate privacy issues by implementing the user-content strategy, which gives users more control over their data, thereby breaching unauthorized access or interception.
Generally, the Metaverse is backed up by an immutable and highly secured blockchain technology that can provide a reliable framework for enhancing and protecting user privacy within the ecosystem.
Will the Metaverse destroy society?
No. Metaverse has both positive and negative impacts on our lives. However, the cons cannot destroy society.
Is VR gaming a part of the Metaverse?
Yes. VR gaming is an aspect of the Metaverse.
Why could cryptocurrencies be critical to the Metaverse?
Cryptocurrency serves as the medium of exchange or the currency on the Metaverse.
Do you think the concept of a metaverse appeals to people?
A survey by Hubspot shows that the Metaverse appeals more to the population of game lovers than the others. People outside this category find it yet unappealing.
How old is the term “metaverse”?
The term has been around for about 31 years now.
Metaverse was first used in 1992 by a sci-fi writer, Neal Stevenson, in his book, “Snow Crash.”
How is artificial intelligence bringing the Metaverse to life?
The Metaverse leverages AI technology to mimic human intelligence in performing sophisticated tasks such as decision-making, customer services, and relations.
Does the Metaverse pose a threat to big tech?
Yes, it does. However, the big Tech companies are trying to avoid the threats by incorporating the Metaverse into their offerings.
What are the 7 layers of Metaverse?
7 layers of the Metaverse include:
- Creator Economy
- Spatial Computing
- Human Interface
Will we be able to touch other avatars in the Metaverse?
Yes, you will be able to touch other avatars in the Metaverse. However, you can only do this with their consent. Random touching of an avatar is prohibited.
No. Authorization is put in place to keep the Metaverse secure.
Will we be able to kill avatars in the Metaverse?
Yes, but not permanently.
Can we die in the Metaverse?
No, since there are no living organs in the Metaverse. It is basically just artwork and animations.
Can avatars be hacked?
Yes, avatars can be hacked.
Can we have several avatars in the Metaverse?
No, one user is entitled to just one avatar.
How can everyday people invest in the Metaverse?
You can invest in the Metaverse by looking out for and supporting companies that are dominating the Metaverse ecosystem.
You can invest funds, purchase long-term appreciative projects like virtual lands, or develop unique software that will enhance existing virtual reality worlds.
How will implementations of the Metaverse develop around the world?
The implementation of the Metaverse around the world will possibly come through leading metaverse platforms like Sandbox, Minecraft, and Roblox.
These platforms have millions of participants and have projected a variety of communities, firms, and other enterprises.
Can Metaverse change user experiences?
With immersive reality and haptic experiences, the Metaverse is able to change user experiences and make them much better.
How will the Metaverse impact the physical world and our relationship to it?
The Metaverse will take over physical offices and some jobs; companies and businesses will carry out activities like meetings, interviews, and collaborations in the virtual-real world.
The Metaverse will also take over interpersonal relationships. People will begin to use the Metaverse for social activities and get-togethers. Physical interactions will be reduced, and people interact more with their digital avatars.
How are you Evaluating what opportunities the Metaverse may present to your business?
Whenever innovations launch, businesses that don’t re-strategize will be replaced. Ask Nokia, Blackberry, and Motorola.
The Metaverse is not going to replace every business but will most likely return businesses that would not key into the development.
You should evaluate and exploit opportunities in the Metaverse for your business by first studying various ways by which the Metaverse affects your business and then re-strategize on ways to adopt the system in your business.
How will you build privacy by design into your metaverse usage?
Building privacy by design is a way to ensure that user data is protected and safe in the Metaverse.
This is achieved through setting privacy policies and user authentication factors on the Metaverse to ensure that no one else has access to people’s private data.
How to deal with the issue of inheritance in the Metaverse
An owner of a digital asset can write a will, which is considered when they are no longer available to oversee their digital assets. In the case of death, the assets are transferred to anyone to whom the previous owner willed the assets.
This can be written with a smart contract. If the owner of the digital asset is inactive for a duration, his assets will be willed.