Metaverse is one of the hottest topics right now and is said to completely revolutionize human lives. From schools & offices to parties & vacations, the Metaverse brings every aspect of human life to a virtual world with the help of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality. Metaverse Technology is being hailed as the next breakthrough in technology after the internet.
The word Metaverse is derived from the Greek word ‘Meta’ which means Beyond and ‘verse’ from the universe. One can think of it as a world beyond reality that will be able to replace every activity of our life. Technology giants such as Apple, Snapchat, and Google have tried to make a mark in the past in this space but haven’t achieved any remarkable feat.
It is quite likely that Facebook will be the first major brand in the world to make a mark in the Metaverse in the coming years. The social media giant went to such an extent that it renamed the brand to ‘Meta’ suggesting that Mark Zuckerberg’s plans for the Metaverse are big and serious.
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How Does the Metaverse Technology Work?
The virtual graphics we see today on screen are mostly 2 Dimensional. The Metaverse is set to bring everything to a 3-Dimensional space as already mentioned, Augmented and Virtual Reality, which will be far more interactive and closer to reality.
Although 3D interaction through AR and VR is present even in today’s world, its quality and experience are still underwhelming. As time passes by, it is believed that these technologies will improve drastically. Let us take a closer look at them separately.
Virtual Reality (VR) is the use of computer technology to create a simulated environment. It is completely different from the actual surroundings. One can play immersive games and enter virtual reality through headsets such as Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR (PSVR).
The concept of virtual reality might seem too good but there are a few shortcomings that need to be fixed before it can enter mainstream audiences. It requires using hefty and costly head-mounted displays which aren’t comfortable to wear in the long run. Also, it can cause motion sickness and headaches due to fast-paced virtual environments.
However, these problems are gradually being worked upon and we might see viable options from various brands in future.
Augmented Reality is quite different from VR. Its primary objective is to introduce virtual elements into our actual surroundings. One such popular application of AR is Pokemon Go, a popular smartphone game. It uses the smartphone’s camera to capture the actual surroundings and adds in-game characters to the screen. Another example is Snapchat’s popular filters which allow us to add elements like Glasses and hats to our photos which otherwise look boring.
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The economy of the Metaverse
Cryptocurrency will likely become a common mode of payment in the Metaverse wherein every transaction would be secured by Blockchain technology.
The inhabitants of the Metaverse will be able to purchase digital assets such as estates and other properties through Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs). Since Blockchain and NFTs have already gained so much popularity in the past few years, there is a high chance that these digital technologies will play a key role in the financial aspect of the Metaverse.
For example, Upland is a business simulation game based on the Metaverse. UPX is the in-game currency used to purchase and sell assets. It is mapped to the real world wherein players can virtually buy popular estates around the globe. To purchase these assets, one needs to buy UPX within the game by exchanging fiat money, which allows the game to actually become profitable. Decentraland and Axie Infinity have the same idea where $MANA is the native token of Decentraland and $AXS is the one for Axie infinity.
How to Earn Money in the Metaverse
The Metaverse offers a large number of income generation opportunities. These include a wide variety of activities from simple tasks like playing games to complex economic activities such as selling and buying assets. A few sources of income are listed below:
1. Play-to-Earn Games
One can play games in the Metaverse to generate income. Most of these games involve virtual NFTs, which are unique and virtual. Players can earn these crypto-based tokens by performing in the game, and exchange them for fiat money later.
Axie Infinity is one of the first successful games which managed to make a mark in the Metaverse early this year. Other games which are gaining popularity nowadays are Sandbox and Decentraland.
2. Conducting Metaverse Events
Metaverse events such as concerts and e-sports use Virtual Reality to bring a large crowd together on a single platform. These events can be monetized by charging users for entry tickets and selling other items during the events.
3. Buy and Sell Land
Users can purchase a land parcel for a fixed price and later sell it at a higher price in return for a profit. As different Metaverse platforms gain popularity, the value of each asset will rise which will yield profit for investors.
Also Read: Best NFT Marketplaces In India To Buy Your First NFT
4. Creating Games
You can create games in the Metaverse which can hook users to play for long hours. The revenue will steadily rise as it gains popularity. Further income can be drawn by selling in-game items to players.
5. Selling Virtual Products
Sellers in the Metaverse can sell digital items and earn money. Virtual stores can be created for the users to browse, learn and purchase exclusive products. One can also design various accessories and dressing styles for avatars.
The Concept of ‘Avatar’
Avatar has been a common feature in games where people see themselves accurately presented on-screen. This creates a personalized environment through which one can engage better in a virtual world. Snapchat was one of the first Social Media giants to adopt customizable avatars for users.
Now, tech companies like Meta and Microsoft are looking to realize the vision of a close-to-life metaverse, inhabited by lifelike avatars.
Future of Metaverse
Although every technology needed for the Metaverse to function already exists; it isn’t polished enough to function seamlessly and replace our actual world. Also, all of them are currently working individually and are yet to be designed to work as an integrated unit.
Intellectual properties, interoperability between different equipment, and cost-effective hardware are some other areas where there’s a lot of improvement needed.
Mark Zuckerberg has said that it can take almost a decade for the Metaverse to take over reality. Delivering a seamless experience through the combination of dependable hardware and software will take decades as per renowned experts.
Also Read: 4 Best Metaverse Platforms That You Can Try
The Dark Side of Metaverse Technology
The concept of a virtual world like the Metaverse might seem fascinating at first, but its negative side might change the way you think about it. There are a lot of undesirable implications that the Internet brought, such as privacy issues, addiction, social issues, etc. The Metaverse is all set to carry these issues a notch above.
Here’s a list of key concerns associated with the Metaverse:
Data privacy is a concern for the metaverse because related companies will likely collect users’ personal information through interactions and biometric data from wearable virtual and augmented reality devices. Facebook is already one of the most criticized companies for frequent data breaches, and with the Metaverse, the concern is likely to become more serious.
Physical and Mental Health Issues:
Lack of physical movement can have mental and physical repercussions over a prolonged period, such as depression, anxiety, and various other harms related to having a sedentary lifestyle such as an increased risk for obesity and cardiovascular disease.
Political and Social Issues:
Private organizations such as Google or Facebook will have access to control everything in a world where billions of humans interact. People’s opinions and behaviour could be manipulated, which is surely not desired. Misinformation and rumours are often spread on social media, which could continue in the Metaverse.