by Katherine Webb

Why are people talking about the Metaverse?

Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently announced that the previously known “Facebook” will soon be known as “Meta.” The change is based upon his belief that the metaverse is the “next chapter for the internet.” Facebook plans to invest $150 million over the next decade in training – employees how to build the metaverse and to subsidise devices that users will need to interact and access the metaverse. Facebook describes the metaverse as “a set of virtual spaces where you can create and explore with other people who arent in the same physical space as you.

What is the Metaverse?

The term ‘Metaverse’ is derived from science fiction, such as the 1992 novel Snow Crash, written by Neal Stephenson and from other science fiction stories like Ready Player One and The Matrix.

One definition of the Metaverse that is commonly used by Virtual Reality investors is from Matthew Ball’s book, The Metaverse Primer: “The Metaverse is an expansive network of persistent, real-time rendered 3D worlds and simulations that support continuity of identity, objects, history, payments, and entitlements, and can be experienced synchronously by an effectively unlimited number of users, each with an individual sense of presence.”

From a technological standpoint, the internet may evolve into the metaverse, making it the next major computing platform. Billions of people use the internet daily as their main source for information, communications, purchasing and selling goods, and method of socialization via social media platforms and online gaming. We currently have pieces of the metaverse in a standalone form, which are location-based games such as ‘Pokemon Go’ and ‘Wizard Unit,’ virtual live conference rooms like Facebook’s ‘Horizon Workrooms’ and ‘Vibela.’ We also have Virtual Reality online games like ‘Fortnite’ and ‘Minecraft’ and the ability to buy real estate in virtual worlds like ‘Decentraland’ and ‘The Sandbox.’ Currently NASA uses both Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality to control robots and complete maintenance tasks on-broad the International Space Station. Healthcare clinicians use Augmented Reality to view 3D scans, access patients’ data and contact other clinicians. Athletes can now wear motion captured cameras, which allows memorable moments from a game to be digitized and potentially converted into NFT.

What will the future of the Metaverse look like?

The main difference between our current view of the Metaverse versus the future is the physical sense of being in another location and in the company of other users. In other words, the distinction between being online and offline will be much harder to differentiate. Most interactions are done via controllers while wearing a Virtual Reality headset which can be fully immersive, leaving the user “aware” that they are experiencing something out of the ordinary. We are very much in the early days of the Metaverse, and we still need major advancements in both Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality technology. Another factor is the expensive computer power required for the Metaverse to run. It will also require many engineers and designers to create it, as well as network admins to maintain.

Final thoughts

The potential for this technology is enormous, with users being fully immersed within a virtual world. Current barriers include getting users to try and be comfortable with the new technology, and the high expense of the equipment. This will become less of an issue for the younger generation who will grow up with this technology and see economies greatly benefit. It is very exciting to see the developments and advances in technology that the metaverse will bring with it. Major internet companies will not want to be left behind, especially if this is the future of the internet. We are witnessing this through the recent Facebook public announcement and the increased number of Venture Capitalist funds looking to invest in the metaverse (e.g., Metaverse Ventures). This is sure to be an exciting space to follow and one to watch for the future.

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CrossTower Inc. provides this content for general information purposes, to better inform you on your digital asset investment journey. We do not provide investment recommendations or provide tax advice. Please consult your investment professional or tax advisor if you require assistance in these areas.

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