We’re on the brink of something huge. The internet is getting ready for its next upgrade—the Metaverse. And it all starts with an idea.
In simple words, the Metaverse is the next version of the Internet. Imagine a 3D virtual world, with ever-evolving aspects, a unique nomenclature, which is collectively shared by its inhabitants. Visualize a second world, albeit virtual, and with real-time events and an online infrastructure—like a session in a player-versus-player (PvP) game!
In theory, it encapsulates everything that’s happening now into its world and will bring real-time events and updates going forward! The user exists in a virtual world without borders. There are no abrupt transitions requiring logging off and signing in. The Metaverse will be a platform-agnostic experience and a seamless one at that.
Before you dismiss the ‘Metaverse’ as another overhyped Hollywood science fiction concept, tech giants have already set in motion the progress for this process, with Facebook and Epic leading the pack.
A world of endless possibilities:
With the Metaverse, you are at the center stage. Virtual communities, activities, events, all seamlessly accessible without the need to sign into multiple apps. For a user-centric approach, this is a key aspect of the Metaverse that will work in its favour. For example, you can sign into your virtual office as a virtual avatar of yourself, go for a break and speak to your friend from IT, go explore the game room for a round of foosball. Meet a client virtually all in one place—effortlessly transitioning into the next step without discrepancies. All of this while sitting at the warmth and comfort of your home, not having to take the subway or drive for two hours to work in traffic-ridden metropolitan cities.
We are almost halfway there, with the pandemic confining us to our homes for work. But the Metaverse takes it to another level. Think seamless cross-platform interaction with your friends across the world. Cross-platform play is in its infancy even in the gaming industry. With the Metaverse, cross-platform interaction will be the gold standard for seamless virtual interaction across the globe. Addresses and pin codes won’t matter as much!
With the Metaverse, the virtual marketplace will be a serious business affair. Brands will transform the way they advertise, which will be a memorable experience rather than the intrusive pop-ups and forced ads we see today. With in-world ads, the advertisements are smartly positioned to attract user attention so that users voluntarily interact with the ad, making it more effective and involving, as opposed to the distractive immersion-breaking ads of today.
What’s different is the way the user interacts with these in-world ads. Imagine an event inside a game, where the player must perform an activity as a challenge, and the challenge is significant to the product that is advertising.
Every gamer loves an impromptu challenge with some goodies as an outcome. What’s even more special is players will get personalized ads based on their digital footprint and interests, meaning different challenges providing a dynamic in-world ad experience. Top brands like H&M have already opened their virtual store inside the Metaverse offering users a 3D shopping space and providing them the option to digitally try out the merchandise. They can also order merchandise using the CEEK cryptocurrency. Brands like Adidas and Nike have also followed suit, and with time, there’ll only be an increase in businesses venturing into the virtual world!
The road ahead
The Metaverse is still a concept that’s being brought to reality and is accompanied by its own set of challenges, as is the case with any bleeding-edge technology.
While technological constraints are always there, privacy concerns are hard to ignore. One more concern is the concept of currency in the virtual world.
There is also the question of the government’s involvement, which may change the whole dynamic of the Metaverse since cryptocurrency is one of its driving forces. While the prospect of the Metaverse is definitely something to look forward to, what remains to be seen is if the Metaverse will define Web 3.0.
Saurabh Tandon is board member and president Americas at Affine—an AI and data engineering consulting and solutions firm.
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