Humanity has long sought to create a better parallel world with greater possibilities. How many fairy tales and fantasy novels have been written, how many movies have been made, where the main characters enter worlds where they can live another life.
The writers have repeatedly shown the prospects of creating something like this. Moreover, the authors raise an ethical problem, recalling that man is not only an intelligent creature but is guided by his darkest instincts, which cannot always be realized in the virtual world. Imagine, in Metaverse, you can use bonuses from Indian casinos and even touch them!
The term “metaverse”.
The world that combines “real” and virtual reality is now commonly referred to as a meta-universe. The term is believed to first appear in Neal Stephenson’s landmark book Avalanche, published in 1992.
The sci-fi novel deals with two worlds – a real world, shrouded in chaos and divided into corporate spheres of influence, and a virtual world. Both planets can interact with each other, influence and change each other. The book’s protagonist is Hero, a hacker who spends a lot of time in this computer-generated world. Inside virtual reality, entrepreneurs can design their streets, create jobs and lay out parks. They can even create things that cannot be imagined in the everyday world, for example, areas where there are fights without rules. Or organize performances based on computer effects that are not available in reality. In principle, the modern understanding of the term “metaverse” is similar to what Stevenson described. A game of real, augmented and virtual worlds.
A real precursor to the meta-universe (not only in books and movies) can be called Second Life, a virtual three-dimensional world combined with a social network. It’s not a video game but a virtual space where you can create your own stories: make friends, fight, organize your territories and equip them as you wish.
During the confinement, it was particularly relevant to be able to meet other people, not on a “physical” level, which was not available for obvious reasons. Negotiations and meetings over Zoom or Skype weren’t for everyone: there’s a well-known story when a company of British illustrators used the game Red Dead Redemption 2 for meetings during lockdown. The prairies of the Wild West and sitting around a campfire are much better than a typical Zoom image.
The Metaverse must exist not in parallel with reality but within it to fully integrate into everyday life. They must become a unique, complementary and compatible digital space.
With the help of augmented and virtual reality devices, it is already possible to understand what the metaverse is. But the natural process of forming a shared cyberspace can begin when companies working on this idea now make their products compatible with each other. In a shared space, people will communicate and use digital objects (eg, sell or buy them) regardless of where they were created. The metaverse should permeate our lives as an extra dimension, a “digital layer.”
Modern smartphones are, in principle, able to “represent” something like this, but only as an image. 3D graphics, which can fully simulate the real world, require different processing power and data transmission capabilities. It’s one thing when imaging happens on specific devices, such as headsets or VR glasses. It is quite different when computational data has to be transmitted simultaneously from the cloud to many users. A particular speed and width channel will be required. Huge computing power is also required to create digital duplicates of objects.
Characteristics of a meta-universe
Venture capitalist Matthew Ball has suggested seven necessary characteristics of a meta-universe. For a virtual space to acquire Metaverse status, it must meet all of these characteristics.
The metaverse must be:
- Eternal and infinite.
- Reflecting real life, regardless of external factors.
- There should be no limit to the number of participants inhabiting it. Everyone can join it.
- It should have a working economy. The user must be able to create, sell and buy content.
- Users themselves should be able to create content for the meta-universe.
Why do we need a meta-universe?
When considering the phenomenon of the meta-universe, the main question is what is it for? And who needs it? Let’s describe the main purposes of this technology.
The first thing that can be assumed are games where the player feels his full presence in the game space. For example, quests that users play in virtual reality. They create a parallel alternate universe, and the quest plot can develop in different times and places. Such virtual quests started during the lockdown in 2020 when holding “live” meetings was impossible. The search takes place in a 3D avatar, which the user controls remotely.
The metaverse forms the perfect environment for video games: the effect of complete immersion and presence. After creating your avatar, the user can communicate with other players. Games where you can get virtual income, which is easy to exchange for things in the meta universe, are especially relevant now. Games like The Sandbox or Decentraland allow you to create and monetize your own creative projects. The Sandbox might be of particular interest to people in the arts field, as they get NFT tokens for their contribution to the virtual world as copyrights for their works.
Based on the Ethereum blockchain, Decentraland’s decentralized virtual reality platform offers users a wide range of possibilities. You can create artwork, buy and resell digital real estate, and play games here.
For other entertainment.
Another use case for Metaverse was also demonstrated during the Spring 2020 lockdown. Based on the game Fortnite, American rapper Travis Scott performed a “live” concert as part of his world tour, which was postponed in due to the pandemic. A record 12 million people attended the show.
I don’t know if we should define this action as entertainment, but recently a wedding was celebrated for the first time in the meta-universe. American couple Dave and Tracy Gagnon held an online wedding ceremony in the form of avatars. The event took place at Vibrela Platofroma, a company specializing in the creation of virtual environments. During the lockdown, some couples used Zoom for the ceremonies – although they have yet to officially acknowledge it.
The meta-universe offers many opportunities not only for entertainment but also for work. For cryptocurrency in the virtual world, you can buy land, for example, on the Decentraland platform. Essentially, the user of such a transaction will receive a non-tradable token (NFT) from a digital land. Such investments in the future can probably bring good returns as the volume of the global NTF market is growing. However, the legal framework for their regulation has not yet been defined.
The meta-universe can also help solve many technical problems. For example, the inspection and diagnosis of digitized objects of the production process in the virtual world superimposed on the real world could be much easier, more comfortable and safer. Metaverse abilities are also applicable in railroads, airports, and shipping.
The Metaverse can be an excellent base for training future professionals in various fields. In addition to simulating almost any practical situation, it allows students and teachers to meet for live communication, hold lectures and seminars, and exchange information.
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