What Is The Metaverse?

7 min read
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The metaverse, a term many have heard but few understand, is often presented as the future of the internet. While many people dismiss the thought, believing it to be a video game, this isn’t the case. The metaverse represents something more prominent, much more complex, and exceedingly intricate than your average video game.

So, what is the metaverse, exactly? This article dives into the technicalities of the metaverse to help you understand the future of the internet. If you’re interested in the logic behind such a bold statement, continue reading to learn more!

Clothes, a calculator, headphones, and shoes spin in an illusion
Image Credit: Infinum

What is The Metaverse, Exactly?

The term ‘metaverse’ remains a vague, fuzzy concept to most people. While many individuals think the term refers to a simple computer game, the metaverse is an intricate mesh of our digital and physical lives. It encompasses an overlap, which may expand as it advances, of wealth, productivity, socialization, entertainment, and shopping.

You can trace the word to Neal Stephenson's 1992 cyberpunk novel Snow Crash. Modern pieces that reflect this include Earnest Cline’s novel, Ready Player One. But the metaverse expands far beyond its feature in the technicalities of sci-fi. It’s not new, as online communities have existed since the 1980s, blossoming into the chatrooms of the 1990s.

The complicated cocktail of reality and virtual concepts doesn’t simply exist in virtual reality or augmented reality via a fancy headset. The two worlds have already collided, and we use them (falsely) interchangeably with one another every day.

For example, think of the Uber app: it tells you how far away the car is in relation to where you are via location data. Or, consider Netflix, how it guesses possible viewing matches based on what you’ve already watched. Think about the advanced technology of the LiDAR scanner on newer iPhones that collects a 3D scan, or rendering, of your surroundings.

While the metaverse is an expansive, intricate term that can encompass various scenarios, the general concept, in and of itself, is relatively simple. In its most basic form, the metaverse is the evolution of our current Internet.

Colorful 3D generated image from a TV show
Image Credit: Netflix
Promotional image from the Netflix show Altered Carbon
Image Credit: Netflix

The Metaverse Probably Isn’t What You’re Picturing

Given the earlier representations of the metaverse, it’s no surprise that many people imagine the metaverse in an exaggerated way, picturing the dramatic scenes of a sci-fi movie. These movies often depict examples of the metaverse that are hypothetical and blown out of proportion. This leaves viewers with a mystical view of what the metaverse could be.

Since the term ‘metaverse’ is vast and highly complex, think of the term ‘cyberspace.’ Nearly ninety percent of the time, the meaning of the two mirrors each other, primarily because neither term gives specifics on the technology they indicate. Instead, they provide a broad view of how we interact with technology.

In a broad overlook, the technologies composing the metaverse can include various things, including virtual reality and augmented reality. However, it isn’t restricted to these two methods of access. People can access virtual worlds through PCs, phones, and game consoles, which can classify as metaversal.

Additionally, it extends into a digital economy that facilitates the creation, selling, and purchase of various goods. In reality, you can buy a shirt and wear it out to dinner. On the flip side, many platforms provide virtual identities, avatars, and inventories, all tied into a single platform. The metaverse could transform this, creating an all-inclusive platform that would allow you to create a persona to take everywhere you go.

Transfers could be as easy as copying your profile picture and transferring from one social platform to another. The concept of this is often difficult to wrap your head around, and many individuals begin to question it, wondering, “Doesn’t this already exist?” Well, yes, it does, to a degree, but we’ll get into that later.

A video call with a mix of real people and virtual Avatars
Image Credit: Microsoft

Frequently, Meta, metaverse, and Microsoft are confused, given the similarity of the names. Meta is the parent company of Facebook, which was recently rebranded as Meta, so many people think the metaverse is simply a company product. However, this is incorrect, as the metaverse isn’t a single company's product.

Microsoft appears to be claiming they’re coming up with their own metaverse. The reality of the situation is that the metaverse is a product of the efforts of numerous companies. Although we’ve already seen glimpses of the metaverse, the metaverse as a whole doesn’t exist yet.

Meta (formerly Facebook), Microsoft, and Epic Games are a few companies working on building the metaverse. So, the metaverse will be a culmination of the efforts of many. In that sense, these three (Meta, metaverse, and Microsoft) are related.

Does Metaverse Already Exist?

To some degree, the metaverse already exists. The early stages’ building blocks exist, including high-speed broadband internet, a critical part of the metaverse. Several reports say Nike created its own virtual sneakers. However, H&M one-upped Nike with its own complete virtual showroom.

So, in a sense, the metaverse already exists. We see the early forms of the metaverse in the interconnected strands weaving the real world with a virtual world. While certain games and apps allow you to buy and sell virtual goods, participate in virtual experiences, and so on, the scope of the metaverse is considerably larger and will encompass far more.

Giant Travis Scott dances in the Fortnite game
ImageCredit: Redbull

When Can We Expect to See the Metaverse?

Although a few of the metaverse elements already exist, the actual scope of the metaverse is yet to come. As of now, there is a vast amount of work to be done, so it could be a long time before we see its final form. A large portion of the metaverse simply doesn’t seem feasible with our current state of technology.

However, the building blocks to support the metaverse are there. For example, the infrastructure supporting today’s internet can facilitate massive amounts of people gathering in a virtual environment, such as when 12.3 million players ‘attended’ Travis Scott’s VR concert in Fortnite.

While the current infrastructure can support massive events like these, it’ll need to evolve further to support the metaverse experts expect and envision. Mark Zuckerberg predicts the metaverse will be well underway by the end of the decade, although others believe the creation will happen much sooner, given that critical foundational components already exist.

Person with mixed reality goggles plays with a digital augmented reality chair
Image Credit: Microsoft

The Progress so Far

We are in the early stages of establishing the metaverse. A few applications offer the essence of the metaverse, including Roblox, Epic Games, Minecraft, Meta, etc. While high-speed broadband internet already exists, it’ll need a facelift to support the metaverse.

Additionally, the hardware to create realistic virtual worlds and avatars in 3D also exists, another building block of the metaverse. For example, consider Meta, which owns Oculus, the leading producer of VR headsets. Or, think of Microsoft, which has supported various enterprise use scenarios via its HoloLens meshed reality smart glasses.

Innovative technologies that have upset the financial services industry also are an essential component of the metaverse. This technology enables the continuity of data within the metaverse. A prime example of such is NFTs, which took the world by storm in 2021. They utilize blockchain technology, which allows anyone to verify the ownership and authenticity of a digital asset.

The early stages of the metaverse are underway, but there is a long way to go before it reaches its full potential, as experts envision.

Blue and purple drawing of a silhouette wearing a mask in an abstract background
Image Credit: PG Gamer

How Will the Metaverse Change the World?

If the metaverse is close to what experts envision it will be, it will likely bring drastic, remarkable changes to the world as we know it. Experts say the metaverse will probably be a compilation of various brands' versions of the metaverse. And they will all be interconnected and able to ‘speak’ to each other.

For retailers and gamers, the purpose of the metaverse is obvious, but it may also disrupt the normalcy of how meetings or events occur. Although it likely won’t replace face-to-face gatherings, it could potentially work in tandem with them.

For example, think of a concert. Instead of attending the venue, you could potentially participate in the live event via the metaverse. The demand for in-person shows will likely always exist, but the possibility of live and virtual participants is real.

In a business sense, the metaverse could create a different approach to meetings. Instead of flying to another city, or even another country, attendees could simply ‘go’ to the meeting via the metaverse.

The metaverse could have a ripple effect, moving across dozens of industries and revolutionizing how things, like business meetings, occur.

Avatars from the Krikey app and social media icons surround an iPhone

Krikey and the Metaverse

Krikey, a leading Augmented Reality (AR) mobile application, allows users to create custom avatars. Then, users can insert their avatars into games, videos, and real life with their device’s camera.

Today, Krikey is India’s number one Metaverse gaming app, with various games available, including:

  • Krikees
  • Run Ji Run
  • Yaatra

Enter the Metaverse today by creating your 3D avatar. You’ll immediately become part of a new, growing community where you can make and share AR videos with friends and an audience around the world.

Bottom Line

The metaverse has the potential to drastically shift the internet and digital experiences as we know them. While the early building blocks are there, much work is still required to get the metaverse to the degree experts envision it. As we watch the construction of the metaverse, we’ll likely get to see a massive paradigm shift in industries across the board.

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