The future of the metaverse continues to be a hot topic of conversation amongst tech developers, virtual reality users, and an increasingly digital native population. As we move further towards engaging with a completely virtual online world, tech giants such as Meta and Microsoft continue to lead the way.
The question is, what exactly can we expect from the metaverse. And could it become the new normal?
What Is the Metaverse?
In his 1992 Science Fiction Novel, ‘Snow Crash’, author Neal Stephenson first used the term ‘metaverse’ to explain his version of a virtual reality environment. Defining a 3D realistic world in which he could virtually be a part of, the term ‘metaverse’ was born, and hasn’t been forgotten since.
The modern-day metaverse could be described as the fight to achieve a real-life online virtual world that incorporates virtual reality, augmented reality, and holographic forms of communication such as 3D avatars.
Offering a hyper-realistic global alternative for users to exist within, the metaverse could transform communication and daily life as we know it as it continues to expand.
While its full potential still remains unlocked, we can see snippets of the metaverse already coming into play. From online game universes such as Minecraft, Fortnite, and Roblox, to new virtual reality-based working environments within the corporate sector, elements of virtual world-building have begun and stand as parts of the evolution of the metaverse.
“Right now, we are on the cusp of the next internet,” claims Matt Ball, Co-manager of Epyllion industries.
As supporters of the modern metaverse continue to envision future users both working and indeed living within an online universe, the future could see us traveling across the world, meeting friends, and staying connected all via online simulation.
The question is, just how far away are we from it?
Could It Become The Future?
As our modern-day world continues to become more and more digitalized and virtual reality-based environments continue to become popular as a result of the pandemic, the metaverse concept continues to become more realistic.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual reality has continued to evolve and place itself outside of game-based settings and now within remote offices and the corporate sector. The virtual reality market is set to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.0% from 2021 to 2028 as more tech giants invest in a metaverse-based future.
This growth suggests that it is not so much about ‘if’ but when as we consider the future of the metaverse.
As the world of virtual reality becomes more popular, Meta CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, suggests that the future of the metaverse could see a change in the way we live and communicate. Planning to hire 10,000 people in Europe in the next 5 years, who will be helping build the metaverse, Zuckerberg is one of the key players in the concept’s future.
“The future will be different from what anyone expects,” said Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg during Connect 2021. “It will be the most interesting and the most important and the most thought-provoking.”
Are Tech Giants Already Investing?
The year 2021 saw a larger spike in metaverse investment than any year before and 2022 is expected to be no different. On the back of Facebook’s large announcement in October 2021, as they changed their name to Meta, sparking a horizon of a virtual future, many tech giants are following.
After revealing the new rebranding in 2021, Meta, formally known as Facebook is pioneering the way forward in VR-based investment. After acquiring Oculus in 2014, Meta is planning to change the digital world as we know it, developing digital avatars that can connect work, communication, and entertainment.
CEO, Mark Zuckerberg suggests that it will change the internet as we know it. Speaking during the company’s rebranding release he said: “The next platform and medium will be even more immersive – an embodied internet where you’re in the experience, not just looking at it. We call this the metaverse.”
Microsoft continues to pioneer the future of augmented reality, using its Microsoft Mesh platform that facilitates extended forms of reality (XR). In 2022, it aims to prioritize the newly digital corporate sector and bring new forms of AR technology to the WFH table.
Aiming to bring new forms of mixed reality, such as holograms to their Microsoft Teams app in 2022 could see a future of 3D connected virtual spaces for workplaces. Post-2020, the WFH trend within the corporate sector has continued to grow, and Microsoft aims to mimic an office experience for those who remain remote.
Metaverse’s Impact On A Modern World: Could It Be The New Normal?
At present, it is still unclear what we can expect from the metaverse. What we can predict is just how drastically it could reinvent what we call the “new normal.”
As 3D simulation technology continues to revolutionize the way we work, communicate and live, the possibilities become endless in terms of designing new worlds and interactive tools.
The question is, how will this affect our relationships and the way we interact as we move forward?
Zuckerberg believes that VR-based tech will encourage more positive interactions within social situations and bring us closer to family and friends. However, the physicality of the future is still left as a concern. As we continue to become more engrossed within a digital world, could our versions of reality and virtual reality blend, depriving us of real experience and physical contact?
Zukerberg disagrees, believing that VR will provide people with more access to experience the things we are unable to in true reality. Metaverse is a consequence-free reality, which could either transform humanity or indeed break it.
About the Guest Author(s)
Daglar Cizmeci is a serial investor, founder and CEO with over 20 years of industry experience in emerging tech, business logistics, and finance.