In this three-part blog series, let us discuss and explore on the way, the mighty world of metaverse. The first of the three parts in this blog series, introduces to us the metaverse ecosystem, what is metaverse and more importantly what is not metaverse.
"It won't pay the rent, but that's okay — when you live in a s**thole, there's always the Metaverse, and in the Metaverse, Hiro Protagonist is a warrior prince."
- Hiro Protagonist, Ch. 7 (Excerpt from 1992 Novel by Neal Stephenson “Snow Crash”)
The term “Metaverse” which is making the whole world go gung-ho today, first appeared this way, in a science fiction novel exactly 30 years ago. Snow Crash is about this guy Hiro, who in real-life a pizza delivery guy, but a warrior prince in the metaverse, a virtual reality space which uses internet and augmented reality.
If you read just the excerpt closely, Stevenson’s approach to the metaverse was that it would be a virtual place where characters could escape a dreary reality and jump straight into fantasies. That’s how virtual spaces and avatars were imagined in the past and most probably could be argued as a downside in the future. But let us keep that discussion for another day. For now, we at Opalina thought it would be interesting to understand and define Metaverse, because it undoubtedly is emerging as the next big technology.
To really understand Metaverse, we need to understand what is not Metaverse? Metaverse is not a game, it is most definitely not a videogame. Metaverse is not a website, it is not a place. While we discuss “Metaverse”, the tendency nowadays is to immediately visualize VR headsets and people swinging their hands at nothing. While VR will be a part of Metaverse, it is not the whole deal. VR is just a means to experience the metaverse, it can be experienced even without it. This is like saying web browser is the Internet. Also, Metaverse is not a platform. It is like saying Google or Facebook or Twitter is the Internet. Of course, Internet can exist without Google or Facebook or Twitter, right?
The fact of the matter is that Metaverse is Internet and Internet, Metaverse. Metaverse is an approach or an experience to our lives over the Internet in its next evolutionary step. There is no worldwide accepted definition to “Metaverse” because it doesn’t fit into the confines of one platform, technology, or community. Instead Metaverse is about a change in how Users interact, immerse and experience Internet and Technology.
Metaverse will encompass large-scale, virtual worlds where human beings all over the world can do so much better, interact better, experience better than whatever was achieved in Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 put together. Unlike the most common misconception, Metaverse will be device-agnostic, the experiences can be accessed across any device.
But the most important and defining facet of Metaverse will be that we are going to manifest ourselves into the Metaverse as Humans and we will be living in it, in the form of avatars. And it does not necessarily mean one avatar, but many avatars by a single person. We can experience, say music in one avatar and find ourselves in a work atmosphere in another avatar, playing games in one, social networking in another and so on. In a way, this will be quite transformative in the way we access the Internet since its invention.
The key components of Metaverse already exist, largely in the Gaming ecosystem. The tools and technologies are available in parts in various platforms and by various companies. It will be exciting to see how it will all come together large-scale in social networks, work-environments, entertainment industry, commerce, education, fashion and so on.
The massive growth in interest among the investors’ community is the real deal in understanding how the advent of Metaverse is fast-approaching. Based on a Bloomberg analysis report released few months ago, the Metaverse market may reach $783.3 billion in 2024 vs. $478.7 billion in 2020 representing a compound annual growth rate of 13.1%.
The fundamental shift in how Internet will be seen, experienced and immersed by its Users in the future will best define Metaverse.
We will be no longer mere consumers of Internet; but will be active participants of the Metaverse.