Metaverse - Best Explanation Of Virtual Reality

Metaverse – Best Explanation Of Virtual Reality

WHAT IS THE METAVERSE?

WHAT IS THE METAVERSE

The world has been rife with news about a new technology called the metaverse. Facebook has even changed its name to Meta. Famous fashion brands are now focusing on this virtual world that presents an opportunity worth billions of dollars.

But like every other person, we ask the question, “What exactly is the Metaverse?” This question is what we aim to answer in this article. So let’s dive into what the metaverse is.

The word metaverse is a combination of two words, Meta and Verse. Meta is s Greek word that means beyond or after. The suffix -Verse is a word that denotes a fictional world that is associated with something.

We can decipher from these two meanings that the metaverse is a world of virtual reality beyond what is in the physical. Metaverse allows everyone to be in a world where they can create their realities and interact with virtual versions of each other.

The metaverse is a universe like the physical world; its industries, finance sector, companies, lands, real estate, and people. The only difference between the metaverse and the physical world is that the metaverse is entirely virtual. We can consider the metaverse as an alternate world. 

HISTORY OF THE METAVERSE?

Although “Metaverse” just became a buzzword recently, it has been around since 1992 when it was coined by Neal Stephenson, a Sci-Fi writer, to describe a 3D virtual world where users can interact with each other. Since Stephenson, how has the metaverse developed through the years to become what it is today? 

In his novel “Snow Crash”, Neal Stepheson’s metaverse was an urban environment developed around a 100m road called “The Street.” In that metaverse, humans used avatars to interact with each other and with software agents like they will in the physical world. This was the first documented version of the metaverse. 

In 2002, Michael Grieves conceptualized and modeled the digital twin, a virtual counterpart of physical objects. Grieves proposed it publicly at a Society of Manufacturing Engineers Conference at the University of Michigan. 

In 2003, Second Life was developed by Phillip Rosedale and his team at Linden labs. Second Life is a virtual world that pioneered much of what is being developed in various metaverse projects today.

One of the problems encountered by Second Life after launch was the low computing speed, which resulted in low bandwidths and high resolution time. All these combined to give a suboptimal experience to Second Life users back then.

However, Second Life is now one of the leading metaverse projects with over a million user base with much-improved technology. All spend an average of 4 hours a day in the virtual world.

In 2009, Satoshi Nakomoto invented bitcoin and conceptualized the first blockchain to provide real-world utility. 

These two events are significant in the history of the metaverse for two reasons; 

1. Satoshi’s bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency to be built, providing a template for all digital currencies being made to be spent in the metaverse. 

2. Bitcoin’s blockchain network paved the way for later innovations in the blockchain space, leading to great projects like the Ethereum blockchain and Solana blockchain. These blockchains would later be the foundations on which the virtual world of the metaverse is built.

Virtual world

In 2011, American author Ernest Cline wrote a sci-fi novel, Ready Player One.

The story is set in 2045 and focuses on a young man searching for an easter egg in a virtual reality game played by a million others. The easter egg grants its discoverer the right to inherit the game creator’s fortune.

In 2018, the novel was adapted into a movie by Warner Bros company. The film gave the concept of the metaverse wide media attention. It introduced many people to this concept of a virtual world.

In 2014, a young Vitalik Buterin co-created Ethereum, an improved blockchain that allowed programmers to build cool stuff on the blockchain. Ethereum and other similar blockchains are the technological infrastructures the metaverse is built upon today.  

In 2015, Decentraland was developed. Decentraland is virtual real estate built on the Ethereum blockchain. It allowed users to purchase virtual lands and real estate properties. It also marked the first widely successful metaverse project built on the blockchain.

In 2020, Travis Scott and Marshmello performed the first virtual reality concert in the video game ‘Fortnite’ to an audience of just under 30 million people. These people interacted with each other in the virtual world using the internet.

A LOOK AT SOME OF THE METAVERSE PROJECTS

DECENTRALAND: Decentraland is a real estate metaverse project built on the Ethereum blockchain. Users can buy pieces of land and build structures on these lands using the build tool.

You can create as much as your imagination permits you to. You can also explore structures, cities, and villages built by other users. Decentraland is one of the first metaverse projects and has gained massive adoption in recent weeks, with big corporations joining the platform.

Decentraland is home to Samsung’s first flagship metaverse store.

Sandbox: Sandbox was created by Pixowl to disrupt the gaming and content creation industry. The sandbox allows users to develop in-world assets, generate content and gaming experiences. These can be monetized and sold on the sandbox platform.

These happen in a virtual reality world and give users and creators absolute control over their content. Sandbox has a game maker that allows its users to build their games and a sandbox marketplace to sell virtual reality assets for SAND. SAND is the native cryptocurrency of the Sandbox ecosystem. 

Star atlas: Star Atlas is a metaverse gaming platform built on the Solana blockchain. It was founded in January 2021 by Michael Wagner and looked to vastly improve the metaverse gaming experience. 

The Star Atlas game is based on space exploration, resource control, combat, and building space stations and ships. The game is set in a futuristic science fiction setting in 2620. Major factions have emerged in the human race.

They are all battling resource control, sentient androids, and a consortium of alien races. Gamers can experience the star atlas game first, delivering a top-notch cinematic experience. Resources mined in-game can also be sold for real-world currencies.

AXIE infinity: Axie Infinity was developed by Vietnam-based studio Sky Mavis. It is an NFT based online video game that allows users to trade, battle, and collect creatures known as Axis. Players need to have three or more Axis to play the game; it uses a pay-to-play-to-earn system that allows users to earn AXS, a token traded on Binance and exchanged for real-world currency.

CONCERNS ABOUT THE METAVERSE

With the growing adoption of the metaverse, the world gradually shifts to virtual reality. Reduced physical interactions between humans will have repercussions as more and more people decide to live in virtual reality. There have been growing concerns that the metaverse does not represent what humanity stands for: a community, love, and a shared sense of identity. It is left to be seen how much of these ideas can be replicated on the metaverse.

The metaverse could become another addictive technology like most social media apps nowadays, leading to severe psychological disorders, anxiety, and mental problems over a prolonged period. Studies have shown that people addicted to the internet may show signs of stress and other mental illnesses. The metaverse may potentially aggravate this problem.

Another growing concern about it is that it may create an illusion and be used to escape reality by people who may have become disconnected from their environment for several reasons.

Every day, there are new and growing concerns about it.

How will big corporations treat user data? Can crimes be stopped and punished on the metaverse? Can we strike a balance between the physical and virtual world?

All these are questions waiting to be answered and represent most of the concerns. 

WHAT CAN WE EXPECT THE METAVERSE TO BE IN THE FUTURE?

I think there will be a limit to the adoption of the metaverse. We might end up seeing a perfectly balanced world between virtual reality and the physical world. We might primarily use the metaverse for recreation purposes with more games being developed and having terrific user experiences. However, many of our day-to-day activities will remain in the physical world.

The metaverse will expand with the influx of more big corporations. New businesses will be created to cater to the needs of people in it, leading to the establishment of metaverse companies in industries such as fashion, entertainment, real estate, and transportation.

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