The Metaverse: What is it and why is everyone talking about it?

The Metaverse: What is it and why is everyone talking about it?

In this new article we are going to deal with probably the most current topic in recent weeks in the technological and immersive field as is the future creation of the metaverse.
And the fact is that, in our particular case as specialists in extended reality and interactive technologies in general, we are excited and motivated that a concept so little treated in recent years, begins to generate excitement and conversation among the general public.
For this reason, here we are going to update you, telling you what the metaverse is, why everyone is talking about it and how companies will be able to benefit from its use when it becomes a reality.
metaverse creation and use of holograms and virtual reality
Imagine if there was a virtual reality environment, accessible to anyone, to enter and be able to develop a parallel life away from the real world. A totally hyper-realistic virtual world in which to live an alternative reality, being able to experience all kinds of sensations and perform any act possible, or even impossible, in the real world. A virtual world with its own laws and rules in which to live an apparently realistic life but without being real.
This is the concept of metaverse that for years (it is not something new that Mark Zuckerberg came up with) has been discussed in different fields, including the purely technological, the literary, where its name emerged in the 1992 novel titled 'Snow Crash' or even the cinematographic, with films like 'The Surrogates' or 'Ready Player One', which address situations in which the metaverse is a tangible reality for humanity.
But, then...

What is the metaverse?

Simplifying to the most basic concept possible, we can say that the metaverse is simply a virtual world. But then you may ask, what is different about the metaverse from what already exists today
It all depends on the level of realism and interconnectedness we want to approach and the rules by which this virtual environment is governed. The metaverse in its purest essence is intended to be the ecosystem that brings together all virtual environments and interconnects them, generating a totally immersive experience for the user in which he is not able to discern whether what he is living is real or virtual.
In addition, it is also considered thatit must be a virtual world in which users can establish real communication with each other and carry out a series of actions as if it were the real world, in addition to having at their fingertips elements in property thanks to tokenization and blockchain.
If we compare it to the current Internet, we could say that, just as the Internet hosts all the websites, interconnects them and allows us to access them from the same place, the metaverse would be the same, hosting all the existing virtual environments and allowing us to enter them with clear and well-defined rules.
And we could define it as Web 3.0!

Why is everyone talking about the metaverse?

If you are interested in technology and keep up with the news that is emerging around its advances and innovations, I guess you have heard of the metaverse concept before, although in recent weeks this concept has spread even among the population less interested in the technological field.
We can say, that the metaverse is on everyone's lips and this is due to the recent moves of big companies like Facebook, Microsoft, Google or Apple, which are already working on making the metaverse a real and tangible idea.
So much so, that just a few days ago Mark Zuckerberg, president and founder of Facebook, announced the change of name of the parent company of Whastapp, Instagram and Facebook itself. The new name of the company will be 'Meta' making direct allusion to the concept of metaverse and presenting, in a way, his candidacy to lead the process to develop it and make it a reality.
In addition to this very big announcement, Zuckerberg also unveiled more about plans for Oculus, its Virtual Reality division which it acquired in 2014 as a plan for the future, and which currently looks set to be a vital pillar in advancing the idea of creating the metaverse.
Mark Zuckerberg presenting the Facebook metaverse alongside his virtual reality avatar
But, in addition, in recent hours Microsoft has become a direct competitor, announcing that it also wants to turn Teams into a metaverse, adding 3D avatars and virtual environments to its tool aimed at business use.
And they're not just looking at the metaverse for Teams, they also want to implement it in their Xbox video games. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella recently explained: "We're absolutely focused on gaming for the metaverse with Xbox. In a sense, a lot of games today are already 2D metaverses, and the question is whether you can bring that to a fully 3D world, and we're planning to do that. "
3D virtual avatars in microsoft teams to turn it into a metaverse

How can companies benefit from using the metaverse?

This is something that remains to be seen 100%, but assuming that the metaverse pursued by companies such as Facebook (newly renamed Meta), Google, Microsoft, Epic Games, Apple or Nvidia, among others, is a success in the medium term, it would mean a revolution as important or even greater than the one that occurred with the creation and implementation of the Internet.
In reality, the metaverse is the next logical step in the evolution of the Internet, moving from browsing on external devices such as computers or Smartphones to introduce us directly into the virtual world and "live" what happens inside feeling it as something totally real.
But, let's get to the really relevant, how will companies be able to benefit from using the metaverse?
The reality is that the possibilities will be practically endless, from recreating our own business and allowing anyone to visit it wherever they are, holding meetings in a virtual office with people from anywhere in the world, advertising in new formats and places, to even selling products whose use is exclusive to the virtual world in the metaverse, for example.
The idea of the metaverse is so extensive that it is expected to generate its own internal economy with a virtual currency that can be acquired through micro payments as happens in many video games. It is also thought that the metaverse may even create new jobs specifically born by and to be developed within the metaverse.
In addition, other booming technologies such as blockchain, cryptocurrencies or NFT, added to the use of virtual reality as a fundamental pillar of the metaverse, complete the formula of the ultimate virtual universe in which social connections, commercial relationships and user entertainment will converge.

Examples of virtual worlds similar to the metaverse

As we have mentioned above, the concept of metaverse is not something that has emerged nowadays, in fact, it was born almost 30 years ago, when in 1992 it was given its name for the first time in the science fiction novel, written by Neal Stephenson, and entitled Snow Crash.
This means that over the years there have been cases of virtual worlds that sought, to a greater or lesser extent, to recreate the concept of metaverse. To give you a better idea, here are some examples:

Second Life:

This is the purest attempt to date of metaverse as such. It consisted of software that allowed users to create their own avatar and enter a virtual world, in which they could move freely, interact with other connected users and make purchases of clothing or property, for example. Like a video game but with a much greater purpose than a video game.
As it was released in 2003, its main problem was that it was too far ahead of its time, being unable to further develop the metaverse concept due to the limitations of the existing technology at the time. Despite this, by 2007 it reached 1.1 million active users and to this day is still active and progressively updated.
Second Life as an example of a virtual world similar to the metaverse

Online Events Platform by DeuSens:

Our own Online Events platform, born in the wake of the covid-19 health crisis as a method to allow companies to continue to have contact with customers and suppliers in the virtual world regardless of restrictions and distances, can also be considered as a precursor platform of the metaverse and in many ways is close to the idea of metaverse that haunts the head of Mark Zuckerberg and company.
Designed to allow large events between companies, it allows you to customize your avatar and access a virtual world in which to communicate with other users and carry out all those events such as conferences, business meetings, visits to stands, etc., that could be carried out in a face-to-face trade fair.
the DeuSens metaverse with its online events platform
Example of metaverse on the DeuSens Online Events platform

Video games such as Minecraft or Fortnite:

Despite having a markedly playful and entertaining character, video games such as Minecraft, Fortnite and some others have proven to be clear examples of what the future metaverse may be like and how it could come to affect us.
In the case of Minecraft, it is a video game in which you literally enter a virtual world in which you can do practically anything, get materials to build your house or any other building you can think of, hunt animals or plant a vegetable garden to get food, explore the world with total freedom, trade and talk with other users of the server, etc... It is a living virtual world in which to create an alternative reality to that of the real world. Its only limitation would be aesthetic, as all 3D models are generated using cubes, making immersion less.
On the other hand, Fortnite allows users to create custom maps in which to participate in various activities, far from their conventional battle royale style games. In addition, Epic Games itself, the game's developer, has held several macro events within the video game itself, such as the Marshmello concert that more than 10 million users experienced live.
the virtual world of minecraft as an example of the metaverse
marshmello concert in fortnite as an example of the metaverse

Facebook Horizon:

It is a virtual reality software developed by Facebook and intended as a virtual world in which users can create their own avatar, move around freely and interact with other users. It is Facebook's first attempt to create a social network in virtual reality in which to interact with family, friends or even strangers through virtual reality and the Internet making virtual encounters possible no matter where users are.
Due to the covid-19 health crisis, Facebook also decided to use it as a tool for virtual meetings of a professional nature, generating virtual spaces set in the business environment such as offices and meeting rooms. Despite having a less immersive aesthetic, the use of Virtual Reality managed to increase the immersion capacity and minimally approach the concept of metaverse.
Facebook Horizon, virtual reality environment precursor of the metaverse

There is no doubt that the metaverse is a distant idea and still in a conception phase but one that is beginning to take shape and for which more and more companies are going to invest both time and resources.
From DeuSens, we have a clear position, we have always joined the progress trying to adapt and even anticipate the trends and technological needs that are emerging, with the aim always to introduce them into the business environment and allow them to continue empowering our customers.

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