A new growing digital world seems to welcome everyone to join it. Still, most people have very vague ideas about the metaverse’s essence and future shaping.
The metaverse is a 3D virtual universe that represents the physical world, adding some extra features. The prefix “Meta” literally means “behind” in Greek and is used as “more comprehensive” or “transcending” Just like in real life, in the metaverse, people can communicate, work, play games and experience different interactions, except that it all happens virtually. Full immersion is realized through a browser or virtual reality (VR) / augmented reality (AR) headsets. VR creates a virtual environment, while AR enhances the real-world scene, leaving the user in contact with the real world. Rapidly developing technology offers ever more realistic virtuality. Some cutting-edge technologies even claim to bring tactile sense to the metaverse by enabling users to feel physical contact with other metaverse inhabitants.
Metaverse business opportunities
Following major gaming companies, which introduced the first metaverses, social media and tech corporations embraced the idea of implementing the “beyond” world in work, marketing, education and numerous other fields. The list of big-name corporations developing their own metaverses features Meta, NVIDIA Corporation, Roblox, Apple, Google, Amazon and Microsoft. Non-tech players are also joining those giants to get in on the metaverse era ground floor, such as Coca-Cola, Hyundai, Disney, as well as sports and fashion brands from Louis Vuitton and Dolce&Gabbana to Nike.
The reason more and more companies jump into this advanced reality is the metaverse’s rapidly emerging digital economy.
The metaverse can hardly be called the cheapest place to interact with since the price of land, real estate and even clothes sometimes exceed that in real life, making it an attractive market for sales. NFTs also actively participate in this virtual market, as they offer digital proof of ownership that can be bought or sold. At the same time, metaverse users show a high level of purchasing activity.
Companies also find the metaverse to be a perfect venue for attracting a largely younger audience to real products by showcasing their digital versions. It is a way cheaper place for brands to establish compared to similar real-life display locations. Plus, the human psyche perceives everything happening in the virtual world as reality, which impacts users’ further behavior just in the same way as if they tried the real product.
People join the metaverse for a plethora of reasons: job and investment opportunities, entertainment, gaming, education and socializing. This specifies the variety of activities carried out by companies in the digital world: virtual merchandising, building concert halls and stadiums, hosting games, concerts, shows, interviews, presentations, classes etc.
The digital world appears to be a promising format for businesses and individuals to implement a concept and make a statement by creating a unique experience for metaverse visitors.
Why isn’t everyone entering the Metaverse?
Despite all its advantages, the metaverse is struggling with some issues on its way to gaining traction with users. Some users are experiencing cybersickness, in other words, feeling nausea when interacting with the digital world through a VR headset.
Another issue is that the entry to the metaverse requires a computer with a powerful processor or special gear, like a VR headset. And metaverse gear is unlikely to become totally affordable and accessible even with the arrival of high-quality yet less expensive headsets. Meanwhile, using specific gear on a daily basis is still a challenge for many people.
Still, this applies only to advanced versions of the metaverse featuring customized avatars and high-quality 3D graphics and offering the full immersive experience. The accessible versions, requiring only a smartphone, still look more like classic PC games with cartoon characters.
Digital items can be very expensive, as the time required for their creation drives up the prices.
An avatar from a photo can be created almost instantly by uploading a selfie and automatically transforming it into an avatar using a template. Meanwhile, the sculpting technique can take up to a month but ends up in creating a high-detailed character model. Digital clothes are made in the same way as real-life clothes: first, come the patterns, they are later “sewn” on the avatar with colors and textures overlaid on the fabric. However, the elaborate and pricey process of building detailed items is of crucial importance, as it increases the perception of virtuality as if it was real.
The metaverse is likely to be broadly adopted when the advanced version meets accessibility.
Web2:Web3 and metaverse development
According to Statista, Web2 metaverse market capitalization reached $14.8 tln in 2021. Web3 metaverse boasted only $27.5 bln. Meanwhile, the younger metaverse keeps attracting record investment since it offers decentralization, meaning users can own and control their items. In addition, people are getting tired of companies’ regulations and social networks’ gathering private data even via the Web2 metaverse. The decentralized metaverse offers new earning money possibilities, allowing people to have more control over their own data and to benefit through content creation and sharing. Hence, the vastest possibilities for the autonomous metaverses’ evolution are likely to open under the decentralized model.