What is metaverse? Why are tech giants interested in building the metaverse?
Table of contents
- What is Metaverse?
- Some Metaverse Projects
What is Metaverse?
The term “Metaverse” has become popular as social media giant “Facebook” has changed its parent company name to Meta. So you may have a common question like others, what exactly it is. The prefix “Meta” means “more comprehensive” or “transcending.” All planets, stars, galaxies, and other forms of matter and energy are considered the universe. Metaverse is a combination of multiple technological elements, including VR (virtual reality), AR (augmented reality), and others where users live within a digital universe. Users will be able to perform, play, and stay connected with family, friends, and colleagues. They will be able to attend concerts and conferences, trip around to the virtual world, buy clothes and property, etc. If you are a non-technical person and want a simple answer, you may compare metaverse with your dream where you can interact with other people, buy clothes, land, or do anything you want.
Some Metaverse Projects
The metaverse isn’t entirely in existence, but some platforms offer metaverse-like elements. We can take some video games as examples, nearly providing some metaverse experience. Second Life is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game, pioneering virtual world that’s been enjoyed by millions of people and seen billions of dollars transacted among users in its economy. Minecraft, Active Worlds, Roblox, Decentraland are also bringing together multiple elements of our lives into online worlds. In comparison, these applications are somewhat similar but are not the metaverse.
Everyone, including tech giants “Facebook” and “Microsoft”, is focusing on “Metaverse”. The metaverse is a social field where users will meet using personalized avatars that make them feel more engaged than a simple video call. It’s contemporary, which makes it feel more like real life than today’s feed-based social media.
Although we haven’t seen a rigid metaverse project from Google, the foundations are there. Google already has a lot of Augmented Reality (AR) experience. A new “Google Labs” group now oversees the company’s augmented reality work. Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google, also gave his thoughts on the metaverse as “evolving computing in an immersive way with augmented reality”. In an interview with Bloomberg, also he said- “I’ve always been excited about the future of immersive computing. This doesn’t belong to any company. This is the evolution of the internet”.
Facebook is one of the loudest voices in terms of large-scale metaverse development. The social media giant also changes its name to “Meta” in major rebrands, which shows its seriousness on the topic. It has already made significant investments in VR (virtual reality). In 2014 it acquired “Oculus” that produces virtual reality headsets. Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO and chairman of Meta, has been bullish on the metaverse. He believes it could replace the internet as we know it now. After revealing the company’s rebranding, he said-“The next platform and medium will be even more immersive and embodied internet where you’re in the experience, not just looking at it, and we call this the metaverse”. Let’s look at some of their technologies needed to enable people to do things in the metaverse.
Meta introduced Horizon Home, a social platform to help people create and interact in the metaverse. Until now, it’s just been called Home because the experience wasn’t social. Soon, users will invite their friends to join them in Horizon Home, where they can hang out, watch videos, and jump into games and apps together.
Messenger calls in VR
Meta launched Messenger support in VR, letting you send a quick message to friends from inside the headset. They are also planning to bring Messenger audio calls to VR. Users will be able to jump into an audio call with friends and family from any Messenger-enabled platform and eventually hang out or travel to VR destinations together.
Project Cambria is a next-generation all-in-one VR hardware launching next year. It will be a high-end device at a higher price point, packed with all the latest advanced technologies, including improved social presence, color Passthrough, pancake optics, and a lot more.
Meta looks ahead toward AR glasses with an always-available assistant. In September, they released Ray-Ban Stories in partnership with EssilorLuxottica. Ray-Ban Stories is an all-day wearable smart glasses paired with the new Facebook View app so that you can share your point of view, stories, and memories seamlessly with friends and social media followers.
Meta also announced Presence Platform, a suite of machine perception and AI capabilities. Beyond entertainment and social experiences, Meta is also working in the education and healthcare industry.
The software giant Microsoft is also in the race of metaverse. They already have a device called “HoloLens” that lets you view holograms. Holograms are things made of light and sound that appear like natural objects in the world around you. It can respond to your voice commands, stare, motions, and more.
They can even interact with real-world objects around you. Holograms are digital entities that are part of your world. They are also developing mixed and extended reality (XR) applications. Mixed reality is a combination of the material world and the digital world. In mixed reality, digital data is illustrated by holograms—that appear in the area near you. These holograms react to orders and interact with real-world surfaces in real-time for a more natural and intuitive experience through artificial intelligence. In short, mixed reality helps you bring your work and data to life when you need it, where you need it. Start building secure, collaborative mixed reality solutions today using intelligent services, best-in-class hardware, and cross-platform tools.
Epic Games, Inc. is a giant video game and software developer and publisher based in Cary, North Carolina. They announced a $1 Billion Funding Round to Support their Long-Term Vision for the Metaverse. CEO and Founder of Epic Games, Tim Sweeney said-“We are grateful to our new and existing investors who support our vision for Epic and the Metaverse. Their investment will help accelerate our work around building connected social experiences in Fortnite, Rocket League and Fall Guys, while empowering game developers and creators with Unreal Engine, Epic Online Services and the Epic Games Store”.
Metaverse has a lot of room for innovation. Blockchain could also be an essential part of the metaverse. Many companies are in the race to develop the metaverse. Assembling the metaverse needs time and action. It could take five to 10 years before the key features of the metaverse become mainstream.
Thanks for the informative article. It is really easy to understand.