Covid has forced a lot of us to start using the internet to do everyday tasks such as meetings, talking to family, and working from home. With technology also advancing and huge companies like Facebook investing in the future of the metaverse, could this be the next big thing? Or is it just the hype?
So, I guess the question everyone wants to ask is, what is the metaverse?
According to Google’s definition for the metaverse, it is:
‘a virtual-reality space where users can interact in an online environment with other users.’
That’s it put simply, however, the term metaverse was first used in Neal Stephenson’s 1992 sci-fi show Snow Crash and then Ernest Cline’s 2011 novel Ready Player One, where it was described to be a three-dimensional digital meeting place where players engaged with each other as avatars.
While most people are excited to see the metaverse evolve, many are worried about how it might take us away from real-life connections and experiences. As we all know social media already takes up a huge part of our life!
How do we access the metaverse?
To access the metaverse you can use computers and even mobiles however to experience the metaverse to its full potential you can use virtual reality headsets. With ‘Meta’ releasing their Oculus Quest 2 back in September of 2020 retailing for just under £300 and many other brands selling on Amazon, the market is varied and will suit different budgets.
Despite virtual reality only coming to light relatively recently, the first virtual reality headset was made in 1838 by Sir Charles Wheatstone! Now, we can’t really class it as a VR headset, however, he was the first to describe Stereopsis.
His research demonstrated that the brain combines two photographs (one eye each) of the same object taken from different points. This makes the image appear to have depth and immersion. Wheatstone’s research was the start of the virtual reality journey.
Source: The Wheatstone mirror stereoscope – Pair of mirrors at 45 degree angles to the user’s eyes.
What are NFT’S and how do they relate to the metaverse?
If you’ve been researching the metaverse you would have seen the term non-fungible tokens (NFT) mentioned.
Now that the metaverse is developing, it has become more important for people to own, create, and transfer virtual goods. That’s when NFT’s, come in! It has allowed for people to record proof of ownership on the blockchain. Each NFT is given unique metadata which ensures it cannot be replicated or replaced. Although there can be copies of pretty much anything on the internet, NFT’s purpose is to allow people to take ownership of digital assets
The most expensive NFT sold to date, went for $91.8 million at Christie’s. It is an artwork collection created by Pak.
Source: This artwork represents a collage of 5,000 of Beeple’s earlier work
So what’s Facebook got to do with all this?
Well, in 2021, Zuckerberg rebranded Facebook to the name ‘Meta’. This caused a lot of confusion (and funny memes) as many people didn’t understand what it meant. Zuckerberg released an hour-long video (The Metaverse and How We’ll Build It Together — Connect 2021 – YouTube), where he quotes.
‘We are a company that builds technology to connect. Together we can finally put people at the center of our technology.’
In this video, he explains the metaverse from Meta’s perspective and his future plans to make it a reality.
Source: Meta Meme – @memesofmeta on Instagram
Not only this but Zuckerberg released the open beta for ‘Horizon Workrooms’ in August 2021. This is available on Oculus Quest 2 (in countries that support it) and has been said to allow people to come together to work in the same virtual room, regardless of physical distance
Source: Horizon Workrooms
Who else is building the metaverse…
Companies like Roblox, Microsoft, NVDA, Snapchat, and Epic Games have all had a massive impact on the progression of the metaverse. Epic Games created the popular video game Fortnite which has become a social and interactive experience. Tencent, the world’s largest video gaming firm, has also been pouring billions into the investments for the metaverse for some time.
Within this space, Metaverse Hub has been creating online virtual experiences since 2020 and worked with great brands such as Sony, Hilton, Radisson, planetSHINE and many more. These experiences have all enabled growth within the metaverse.
So, is Meta just finally catching on…
Why is it the future?
Since it’s recent hype started, the metaverse has experienced massive growth. With companies like Facebook and Epic Games making huge advances, the metaverse will start to become an everyday occurrence, just like social media has!
Although many are doubtful about virtual reality and the idea of the metaverse becoming our new normal, people like Mark Zuckerberg and many other entrepreneurs are working to make this happen.
We are going to have to find out if it will be for the better or the worse, but I think we can all agree it’s something that could benefit different aspects of our life.
Published: 5th January 2022
Author: Charlotte Lock