“The Metaverse has been a #trending buzzword of late, particularly after Facebook announced on Oct 28, 2021 that it has changed its company name to Meta. Not to be outdone, Microsoft is building a metaverse inside Teams by introducing Mesh, a collaborative platform for virtual experiences, slated to come to life in the first half of 2022.”
– Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO
The metaverse is the next frontier just like social networking was when (they) got started… Our hope is that within the next decade, the metaverse will reach a billion people, host hundreds of billions of dollars of digital commerce, and support jobs for millions of creators and developers.
Source: Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO. Getty Images
HANG ON – META… WHAT?
Going back to the roots of the world “Metaverse”, it is coined by Sci-Fi author Neal Stephenson in his 1992 novel “Snow Crash”, in which he envisioned life-like avatars who met in realistic 3D buildings and other virtual reality environments. Fast forward to 2021 today, a real metaverse could be truly upon us. Loosely defined, it is an online digital world that incorporates virtual reality, augmented reality, 3D holographic avatars, cryptocurrencies and the likes that allows users to interact and coexist virtually. Basically, both of your physical and online worlds will bleed into one – indistinguishably. Imagine “The Sims” being taken to a new level.
Source: Microsoft Teams is getting new 3D Avatars | Microsoft, 3 Nov 2021
NOT JUST FUN AND GAMES
On first blush, the Metaverse may be misunderstood as primarily being related to gaming (think Minecraft), or the fantasy world. But it is not. There are 7 layers in the Metaverse, with “Experience” making up the outermost layer.
These are the most relatable experiences such as work meetings via Zoom, smart home devices such as Alexa, home gym personal training with Peloton – and the list goes on. Going beyond, there are currently plenty of use cases found in all industries and sectors, with immense potential to permeate all areas of our lives.
Source: The Sims 4 | Origin, 1 Sept 2014
Earlier this year in May, Roblox held a virtual event to celebrate the brand Gucci’s 100th anniversary. Replicating the physical space, there is a virtual Gucci Garden space that is divided into themed rooms. It is an immersive experience that allows visitors to wander through as a neutral mannequin while absorbing the elements of the exhibition. This event exemplifies how the Metaverse has the potential to make art and fashion more accessible to millions of people and expanding self-expression to virtual territories.
Source: Medium, 7 Apr 2021
Gucci Garden Archetypes – Diorama in Bloom (Left). Gucci Garden Virtual Exhibition in Roblox
Source: Roblox, 17 May 2021
Source: Redshark news, 6 August 2021
This is one for car lovers out there – the automotive industry is racing into the Metaverse. BMW is now designing its car and factories in NVIDIA’s Omniverse (subset of Metaverse) – they are connecting their teams to design, plan and operate virtually before anything is built in the physical world. Traditional computer-aided design software (e.g. AutoCAD) is unable to incorporate the laws of physics into its simulation. With this new technology, the results are enhanced productivity and reduction of resource wastage from traditional trial and error methods. It is possible to seamlessly take one of these designs from BMW and use exactly the same set of assets to make a photorealistic representation of those cars in a 3D space.
Source: Bitcoin, 17 June 2021
Best for the last – crypto assets that have exploded in their recognition and popularity. More will be explained in the next article so here is a brief. To be in a fully immersive virtual world, you need a currency that is crypto. Metaverse crypto currencies can only typically be spent in the metaverse they are tied in.
These coins can be used to buy in-game items, or be traded with other players. One of the top metaverse cryptocurrency is SAND – the currency of The Sandbox – with a market capitalization of over $2 billion. Users can create a virtual world driven by non-fungible tokens (NFTs), where they can build, own, and monetize their virtual gaming experience. Softbank has also invested $93 million in the company earlier this year. Decentraland is another blockchain-based virtual reality platform where users can purchase plots of digital real estate called “LAND” using its in-game cryptocurrency “MANA”. The examples listed above are but the tip of the iceberg. As seen from the chart below, the Metaverse Market Cap is extensive – and it is exploding. Well buckle up, we are in for a ride.
Metaverse Market Map
Source: Medium, 14 April 2021