The word “metaverse” has resurfaced in a huge manner during the last several years. Facebook has already changed its name to Meta to represent its broad aspirations in this field, but the phrase can be applied to a wide range of assets, including Fortnite, Roblox, Minecraft, VR, AR.
The current description of the metaverse is something like futuristic social media, a place where avatars can interact. Virtual reality and augmented reality fantasy of bringing people into some kind of virtual realm as creative as Minecraft, as popular as Fortnite, and as practical as Zoom, Slack, and Google Docs. Metaverses are the clearest acknowledgment yet that the future of technology isn’t simply VR or AR, but a combination of numerous devices accessing a shared online environment that might be more realistic and 3D than the internet you’re using right now to read this story.
We all know that Science fiction concepts are frequently adopted into technology, and the metaverse is no exception. To be honest, this isn’t just a stand-in for the realistic worlds of AR and VR, despite the fact that it’s frequently used as such. Rather, think of “the metaverse” as a combination of VR, AR, and all the other stuff that isn’t and never will be a face-mounted headset. It’s also about businesses finding out how to bring more people into these smart virtual communities in the future than the few million who are currently using VR.
There are a variety of concerns that may be raised in regards to this metaverse concept. The first and most fundamental question is: What is a metaverse, and how will Facebook’s version look?
The answer to that question is simple. Metaverse is gonna be a clean virtual world where people can play virtual games, go to virtual concerts, shop for virtual goods, collect virtual art, hang out with each other’s virtual avatars, and attend virtual work meetings, all of which are accessible via virtual and augmented reality hardware at first and more advanced haptic suits subsequently.
For the time being, any discussion of the metaverse is purely hypothetical. Facebook is the first to admit that it is still in its early stages. It “doesn’t really exist” yet, according to Zuckerberg, and we just have the “building pieces” – such as Facebook’s Oculus Quest 2 headgear, which costs $299 and drastically lowers the entry price point for VR devices. For instance, the HP Reverb G2 Virtual Reality Headset costs $450, Sony PlayStation VR is around $899, and HTC Vive Cosmos is around $695.
When will we be able to access it?
Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Meta (previously Facebook), predicts that the metaverse primary capabilities will take five to ten years to become mainstream. However, certain features of the metaverse are now visible. Even if they aren’t available to everyone, virtual reality headgear is already available.
The world’s already living virtually
Everyone has carved themselves a virtual existence of some form, whether it’s through Zoom, online gaming, Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces, or any other social software on their phone.
The phrase “metaverse” has evolved to refer to large networked multiplayer worlds like Fortnite, Minecraft, and Roblox, as well as virtual reality apps like Rec Room, VRChat, and Microsoft’s AltspaceVR.
The transition to metaverses is essentially a means to include numerous devices and platforms without requiring consumers to utilize a certain device. Consider Fortnite once more. Roblox is another option. Or you could play Minecraft. Or, in a way, the majority of the applications we use now. But we’re talking about people who have their own unique social sphere in this scenario.
Here’s a glance at what’s going on right now that might lead to tomorrow’s metaverse
Meta (Formally Facebook) made considerable investments in virtual reality, including the acquisition of Oculus in 2014. Meta envisions a virtual world in which digital avatars interact via virtual reality headsets for business, travel, or leisure. Zuckerberg is a devotee of the metaverse, thinking that it has the potential to replace the internet as we know it. “The future platform and media will be an even more immersive and embodied internet where you’re in the experience rather than simply looking at it,” Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said last month after announcing the company’s rebranding.
Microsoft is a company that makes software. With its Microsoft Mesh platform, the software giant is building mixed and extended reality (XR) apps that integrate the real world with augmented reality and virtual reality. Microsoft showed off its intentions to add mixed-reality, including holograms and virtual avatars, to Microsoft Teams in 2022. Explorable 3D virtual linked areas for retail and workplaces are also in the works for next year.
Why is Facebook pursuing the metaverse?
Facebook is ready to make such expenditures because it anticipates the metaverse as the mobile internet’s replacement. Zuckerberg and Facebook will be able to move ahead of the competition thanks to the technology.
Facebook does not own an operating system, unlike Apple or Google, which established iOS and Android. Facebook and Apple have a long-running conflict over Apple’s fees for purchases made on iPhone applications, as well as the broader influence it wields over firms like Facebook through its developer rules.
This is an opportunity for Facebook to become less dependent on Apple and Google. Not only does it present Facebook with an exceptional chance to develop value in the metaverse, but it also provides them with another opportunity to establish something that they lack and has been an impediment for years. It makes perfect sense for any of these large IT corporations that have the assets, resources, expertise, and interest in the metaverse to invest in it.
Platform risk is another issue that Facebook’s metaverse plan might solve if it works. Mr. Zuckerberg has been irritated for years that because Facebook’s mobile apps run on iOS and Android, the company’s growth is heavily reliant on Apple and Google, two businesses whose interests are sometimes at odds with his own. Apple’s “app tracking transparency” modifications earlier this year, for example, hurt Facebook’s ad revenue by making it more difficult for the firm to acquire data on users’ mobile activities. And if smartphones continue to be the primary mode of online interaction, Facebook will never be able to properly control its own future.
If it works, a metaverse plan could ultimately get Facebook out from under Apple and Google’s shadow by directing users to Facebook-owned platforms like Oculus, where it won’t have to worry about getting booted out of the app store for stealing information on users’ activities. And that would imply that if Facebook decided to charge for virtual apparel inside one of its metaverse applications, it could do so without having to pay a competitor a 30 percent fee.
Facebook’s mobile app software is made to work with Apple and Google’s operating systems. As a result, Apple and Google get a 30% share of any financial transactions made through Facebook’s app (a policy Facebook has long denounced). Apple also exerts pressure on Facebook over its content restrictions, as it did in 2019 when Apple intended to remove Facebook from the App Store if it didn’t improve its efforts to prevent individuals from using its platform to traffic domestic workers in the Middle East.
The metaverse foretells a future in which Facebook will be free of these limits. If Facebook succeeds in becoming a metaverse pioneer, it will be the firm that develops and sells virtual reality headgear to access the metaverse, as well as operate a large app store that distributes metaverse software. All of this would give Facebook authority and influence over the future internet that it now lacks on the mobile web.
At the most basic level, this implies that even more people will use Facebook, and they will do it in a more engaging and involved way than they do now.
Imagine people hooked into headphones, focused solely on the Facebook-engineered other reality they’re in if you believe Instagram or Facebook’s main app can draw more people into filter bubbles of absorbing, constantly scrolling information.
If you’re already worried about Facebook’s influence on privacy, the metaverse would open up a whole new realm of data sources for the business to track: finger motions, face movements, and maybe brain reading in the future.
Facebook claims to take privacy, moderation, and safety issues sincerely. According to Andrew Bosworth (Meta CTO), Metaverse will allow everyone to control their virtual reality experience. Also, the company is working with outside partners like civil rights organizations, government agencies, and NGOs to make the metaverse safe, and it has financed relevant outside research.
Facebook’s efforts may wind up normalizing metaverse time the same way they normalized sharing our personal lives on the internet. The distinctions between “real” and “digital” life have already blurred throughout the Covid Pandemic, as billions of people around the world have relied on technology in unimaginable ways to connect with others through interactive games, mimic office environments.
The pandemic resulted in a tremendous increase in time [spent] in virtual worlds, as well as the de-stigmatization of time spent in those virtual worlds.
Of course, it’s unclear if Facebook’s metaverse dreams will be realized. Google Glass, Google’s effort to mainstream VR/AR goods in 2014, failed because the technology was perceived as boring and privacy-invading.
Facebook will have to persuade people to abandon the actual world in favor of the metaverse, and to trust Facebook — a firm plagued by privacy and political issues over the past years is something else. Users may alternatively utilize Microsoft’s rival metaverse goods or Apple’s own VR/AR initiatives, which are rumored to be in the works. They might even decide not to use the new technology at all.