Metaverse is growing and capturing the tech industry’s imagination — and while Facebook parent Meta is the best-known for the futuristic virtual concept… it’s not the only one.
Facebook’s rebranding, renaming the company and investing tens of billions of dollars in Meta, was the beginning of this revolutionary change. Fun fact: Science fiction writer Neal Stephenson used the term for his 1992 novel “Snow Crash.”
While many think that Zuckerberg and his team are the ones only working on the metaverse, the truth is that many other tech companies are betting on it and thinking about how to employ a mix of virtual reality and other technologies, and make the metaverse take shape, such as software giant Microsoft, which have a partnership to create a showroom in the metaverse or OVR company, which lets people smell the metaverse.
As with any emerging technology, there are plenty of concerns around the metaverse, including whether it could allow big tech companies access to even more personal data or contribute to the spread of hate and misinformation along with other online harms that exacerbate real-world problems. For now, anyone who wants to enter the metaverse must wear a virtual reality headset — an immediate dealbreaker for some people.
What is the Metaverse?
Think of it as the internet brought to life.
Zuckerberg has described it as a “virtual environment” you can go inside of — instead of just looking at a screen. Basically, it’s a world of endless, interconnected virtual communities where people can meet, work and play, using virtual reality headsets, augmented reality glasses, smartphone apps or other devices. It also will incorporate other aspects of online life, such as shopping and social media.
We can call it “The next evolution of connectivity” or having a new possibility of expanding lives and works.
What Can I do in the Metaverse?
There are many things you will be able to do, such as going to a virtual concert, taking a trip or travelling online, trying digital fashion and beauty products and even buying them. Not forgetting the parties that some companies already are doing online. We were actually invited to a couple of them, and every time, Metaverse places are upgrading and getting better.
The Metaverse could also be a game-changer for the work-from-home shift since that changed during the pandemic with people working from home and getting stressed without getting people around or being outside. Imagine, instead of seeing co-workers on a video call grid, you can see them virtually.
Is the Metaverse just a Trend?
While Zuckerberg and Meta are connected to the Metaverse, the metaverse is no one’s place. Other companies talking up the metaverse include Microsoft or Nvidia, along with some new startups.
There are a lot of companies building virtual worlds and environments in the metaverse, in the same way, there have been lots of companies doing things on the internet at the beginning of the World Wide Web.
Video game companies are also taking steps. Epic Games, the company behind the popular Fortnite video game, raised $1 billion from investors to help build the metaverse.
Consumer brands are simply trying to jump on the trend too. From brands such as Tresemme or Charlotte Tilbury, to Nike or Adidas, companies are inviting clients and ambassadors to parties online and making their brand awareness increase.
What about My Data?
People’s opinion is that they want to be able to move around the internet with ease, but we also want to be able to move around the internet in a way we’re not tracked and monitored. Apps and gadgets have the option to share and track their localization, but people are now more aware of their data usage by companies.
Zuckerberg’s embrace of the metaverse in some ways contradicts a central tenet of the biggest enthusiasts. They envision the metaverse as online culture’s liberation from tech platforms like Facebook that assumed ownership of people’s accounts, photos, posts and playlists and traded off what they gleaned from that data.
What people need to understand is that anything online is not yours any more. Once connected, there is no turning point. The only way is by reading the little printed letters and agreements when creating accounts online, and choosing the best option for you.
Metaverse can and will be a good, fun and productive way in the future, but there is still a good way to go. Either for leisure or for work, Metaverse is here to be tried and tested.