Metaverse: Creating a New Reality

0
785
Metaverse

Metaverse. Whenever we turn a corner in digital space these days, this term pops up. Most of us know Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, recently renamed his social networking empire Meta, attempting to tap into the latest virtual hype. He is, however, not the only tech giant to explore the value of the metaverse.

On 18 January 2022, Microsoft announced its intention to acquire Activision Blizzard for $68.7bn, citing the metaverse as the reason for this expensive endeavour. This acquisition would be Microsoft’s most substantial investment in the gaming industry.

Activision Blizzard, a global entertainment company, designs and publishes interactive video content and related services. Anyone who’s played big-name games such as World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, and Bubble Witch will be familiar with this name. It’s also prominent in the esports market, where it operates leagues and engages in digital advertising. Avid gamers can access the company’s games on gaming consoles, PCs (personal computers), and mobile devices. 

Google, another tech titan, has been focusing on metaverse-associated technologies for years. In contrast, Apple, yet another member of the big five in the tech world, has its own metaverse works in the pipeline.

The metaverse is undoubtedly creating a storm in the virtual sphere, and it seems the most prominent tech competitors are scrambling for the largest slices of this new pie. Few, however, really know what the metaverse is all about and why it’s causing such hype.

Incorporating ArborXR into event planning can significantly enhance the attendee experience by providing immersive augmented and virtual reality features, adding a new dimension to interactive sessions.

What exactly is the metaverse?

The metaverse is not really a new tech invention. It’s rather a hybrid evolution between two concepts that have been present for several years – virtual reality and a second life in the digital realm. It flows from the visions of forward thinkers who imagine a world where our virtual engagements are as important as our physical – or real-world – ones.

The theory behind this concept envisions people using digital arenas for social and professional interactions. Just like one would in the real world, people will also buy necessities such as clothes for their digital avatars. While many people think this sounds far-fetched and unrealistic, the foundations for this alternate reality were already explored in many films, such as Ready Player One.

This cinematic feature depicted a world not too far into the future where the real world is a chaotic and destructive mess. A virtual world called the Oasis provides a virtual escape and sanctuary where people spend most of their time through their avatars. All they needed was a headset immersing them in a three-dimensional virtual environment.

Also, think about the Matrix. The first film in this series portrayed the existence of humankind as a digital farce.

This is what tech biggies such as Meta, Microsoft, and Google refer to as the metaverse. In essence, it’s living a second life online through a headset that allows you to view a virtual reality, motion-sensing controllers, to interact with objects and people, and a microphone to communicate with others. It’s as simple as that. You interact as your avatar in a digital world.

The technological gadgets to make this a reality already exists. People just need the proper platforms to bring the concept to fruition.

Venture capitalist Matthew Ball has explored this topic in detail. In his opinion, the metaverse represents the fourth evolutionary stage in the computer era. He described mainframe, personal, and mobile computing as the first three waves.

Ball said the fourth wave means moving into what he termed as ambient computing, which is essentially the metaverse. He further explained this by stating that it’s “…about being within the computer rather than accessing the computer. It’s about being always online rather than always having access to an online world.”

Is the metaverse already here?

At this stage, most ardent gamers shrug and think, ‘but we’ve been doing this all along.’ This is true to a certain extent. An elementary version of the metaverse can be found in some games.

There are already social elements in video games that involve the creation of an avatar and interacting with fellow gamers or their avatars. Think about Fortnite. This popular online game is available on gaming consoles, computers, and mobile devices. Studies show that average Fortnite players spend countless hours fighting and interacting as their avatars. These players also collect virtual currency to buy outfits and other necessities needed to customize and upgrade avatars.

Activision Blizzard is known for its online games featuring metaverse elements. In World of Warcraft, a role-playing game, players build communities and work together in their virtual world to compete in and complete quests. Players can earn rewards such as weapons and different armours that strengthen their avatars.

It’s not only games that contain echoes and hints of the metaverse. Second Life was developed as an online social platform in the late ’90s and was launched to the public in 2003. Here, people create digital mirror images of themselves and socialize with others on the platform. In this virtual space, these digital representations shop and invest in property to enhance their lives – much like we do in the real world. Second Life has been around for almost 20 years now, so the concept is not novel.

The advances of virtual reality to meet the demands of the metaverse

Tech developers are continuously and fervently inventing, designing, and testing gadgets to realize a second immersive reality. As mentioned, many of the big names are joining the race to establish a true metaverse.

So, if you’re aware of some of the leading global VR headset manufacturing brands or companies that guarantee an immersive gaming experience, there are brands like Sony, PlayStation VR 2, Meta Quest for business, HTC, Oculus Go & Samsung that offer some state-of-the-art technology in VR headsets for Metaverse gaming.

Video games are at the forefront of virtual reality. Sony’s PlayStation VR, a virtual reality headset compatible with the PlayStation 4 gaming console, saw the light in 2016. In January 2022, the company hinted that a second, more improved virtual reality headset for the PlayStation 5 was in the pipeline.

Impressive as they are, these gadgets are just starting to pave the way towards the metaverse. This new alternative reality will surely spill over to online gambling, creating exciting ways to play your favourite slots and table games.

Industry professionals feel that we are on the threshold of a new world, albeit a virtual one. Fast internet connections and prominent virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) developments will soon make it possible to explore lifelike, three-dimensional simulations.