In October 2021, Facebook announced it would change its name to Meta. At the same time, the hype around metaverse technology has just started. Google Trends chart shows a rapid spike in interest in the vanguard technology that introduces virtual worlds to our everyday lives.
Metaverse has been continually gaining popularity since the end of 2021, and this is not only due to Facebook’s in-house revolution. While the California-based giant, regardless of its loud announcements, has been in a lot of trouble in recent months, other tech companies spotted a chance to become world leaders in providing a one-of-a-kind virtual reality experience.
Metaverse changes a lot:
- It opens new opportunities for product manufacturers (such as virtual reality headsets, screens, and other items that bridge the physical world with the metaverse are in growing demand).
- It appears to be an excellent chance for tech industry companies that provide various virtual world solutions.
- Lastly, the consumers may benefit as well. They can access epic games and may be treated with great entertainment from augmented reality plays. The metaverse allows its participants to create digital avatars and interact with each other in a shared virtual space.
While the metaverse has been hyped up for a dozen months, don’t be over-optimistic. It’s worth approaching this matter from different perspectives. Can the producers ensure metaverse development as we expect? Are we ready to immerse ourselves into a digital reality and fully enjoy the virtual experiences the metaverse offers?
To begin, let’s answer the question of what a metaverse is. It’s way beyond just a video game you can access with your virtual reality headset. On the contrary, the metaverse is a unique virtual environment where practically everything can exist. Moreover, it can directly impact your senses: sight, smell, touch, sound, and taste. There may be a variety of metaverses, and every single one would reflect a standard universe as you know it already.
It’s worth noting that virtual items may hold real-world value, and the digital currency used in the digital world could also translate its weight into the real world. And how would that be possible?
Suppose you did purchase a virtual-world NFT, or even better – a digital land in the digital environment offered by one of the creators of virtual reality. While those assets hold value in a persistent virtual world, you can sell them over to other users of a particular platform. You will use digital currency that supports a virtual economy system for that transaction.
And here comes a fundamental difference between metaverse games/metaverse environment and the standard gaming world or the trend you have known by far as classic augmented reality.
When you play epic games in the traditional gaming industry, the assets you earn remain in the virtual environment forever. However, as a participant in the metaverse, you can withhold digital tokens and exchange them for real money. Although it is a standalone formation, the metaverse blends the physical world and its digital reflection.
Metaverse Has Way More to Offer
Metaverse is more complex than a set of digital avatars hanging out in common cyberspace. Virtual worlds differ, and every single one may hold different traits. Below you will find specific example adaptations of the metaverse and involved assets.
- Cryptocurrencies. In the physical world, you typically use so-called fiat money. In other words, you spend $USD, €EUR, £GPB, or other currencies in exchange for goods and services. In the metaverse, you can also purchase assets and use crypto. You must already know that the crypto course may be highly volatile. While some lose most of their value after being launched, others could 50x or even 100x of their worth within a few weeks.
- NFT – non-fungible tokens are somewhat controversial, and even several crypto zealots would oppose that form of digital ownership. However, some of the NFTs have already proved to be enormously profitable, increasing their value several dozen times. So how may NFT impact the metaverse experience? Most commonly, they could serve as digital worlds assets providing their holders special incentives and unique perks in the virtual world.
- Marketplaces. You already know that the metaverse can be used in many different ways. For example, you can own digital real estate, earn unique assets to empower in-game characters, and collect valuable NFTs. Since the sustainable economy is the underlying factor of metaverse success, it’s of great importance that the metaverse offers a well-balanced marketplace where the participants can trade with each other. And as this usually happens with successful marketplaces, sellers and buyers can gain adequate profits.
Metaverse visions may differ, but in the end, it boils down to spending time in an alternate universe parallel to your real life. While metaverse companies offer numerous opportunities, we still face different challenges with this form of innovation.
- Privacy issues. You must put your data online to get involved in a virtual metaverse environment. Moreover, metaverse companies store and collect new data types, such as voice recordings. It evokes new legal and commercial challenges. Sometimes, it’s unclear how those companies will store and protect that data. The more information you leave online, the bigger your digital footprint is, and you will encounter more risks.
- While cybersecurity gains importance each year, it’s undeniable that the metaverse online communities will face threats related to online security. For virtual environments such as the metaverse, cybersecurity may become more vital. The virtual reality experience involves trading items that hold value in the real world.
- Threats to kids – while privacy and cybersecurity-related threats are a real danger for adults engaging in the Metaverse, they may bear even more danger for children. Youngsters may be exposed to even bigger risks. Cyberbullying, addictivity, and psychological and health issues (heavy use of VR headsets) are further on the list.
- Legal issues – every innovation comes with pitfalls that might not be visible on the surface. Metaverse will face a variety of legal issues that could hamper its development. The concerns are related to technologies (software, hardware, equipment – VR glasses), ownership rights, and various components within a digital environment (graphics, virtual objects, photos, etc.).
Will Virtual Reality Change the World as We Know it?
The metaverse is not yet another marketing buzzword you can go by without noticing it. Web3 virtual reality concepts bring new promises and prospects for how people can interact with each other. Virtual meetings are no longer limited to sitting in front of a screen and talking with another person.
In the metaverse, you can feel, smell, hear, sound, and even taste objects available in the virtual universe. In addition, the companies strive to create sustainable economies so that you can exchange goods and take profits as your investments are expected to grow over time.
However, metaverse creators and participants must confront a multitude of challenges and risks that stem from that form of virtual experience.
It’s worth observing the evolution of the metaverse. Spot the changes and overcome risks to take the best out of Web3 development.
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