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Metaverses: hype or the future to come?

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Alexander Volchek, IT entrepreneur, CEO GeekBrains

Pretty much everyone in the IT community is talking metaverses, NFTs, blockchain and cryptocurrency. This time we will discuss metaverses, and come back to everything else in the letters to follow. Entrepreneurs and founders of tech giants are passionate about this idea, and investors are allocating millions of dollars for projects dealing with metaverses. Let's start with the basics.

Question #1. What are the metaverses?

These are virtual platforms that allow users to truly experience self-fulfillment. With the help of augmented and virtual reality technologies, people get into a virtual realm that mirrors the physical world with its social, economic, legal relations, but also amplifies it with new opportunities.

This is where one can work, study, relax, have fun, make money, interact, and even buy cars and real estate. Just as in the real world, everything that a person acquires or creates in the metaverse belongs to them only.

The metaverse is built around these 4 key principles:

  • realistic 3D avatars;

  • imitation of life;

  • a functional economy;

  • an opportunity for brands and people to make real money.

Question #2. Is the metaverse like Ready Player One?

Perhaps, but not only. In 2021, the top managers of Microsoft, Epic Games and Facebook played the metaverse card all at once. And each company has its own vision for the image of the virtual universe of the future.

The Microsoft version of the metaverse - A canvas for your ideas and applications

“A space where you can model any object, create autonomous systems that are constantly learning and enhancing”

The Epic Games version of the metaverse - A place where people and companies can co-exist and respond to different events

“If you are a car maker, your brand’s presence in the metaverse will not be advertising. It's a place where people will actually drive cars.”

The Meta version of the metaverse - A space where, instead of just viewing content, you are a part of it

“The metaverse means not only virtual reality. It is a sustainable and synchronized environment where we can be together: a kind of a hybrid of social platforms.”

Question #3. What is happening in the metaverses right now?

To put it simple, artificial intelligence is the ability to learn, comprehend and apply knowledge in practice. Neural nets are able to cope with the first and last tasks out of those. They draw incredible pictures, read handwritten text, and even compose poetry. However, none of the neural nets is able to change its mind and choose another “specialty”. Neural nets do only what they were trained to do, so, in a sense, one can consider them programmed to perform those tasks. They have no real comprehension of what those things actually are.

Virtual offices are being created

This past May, Microsoft introduced the new Mesh virtual space. The basic Microsoft Mesh scenario is a virtual meeting in a conference room, for instance, on the Teams platform. Employees will be able to view and edit documents in the virtual space by literally “hand- touching” Excel tables or 3D models in an editor.

Virtual stores are being opened

A Dyson store in virtual reality. Currently, the store is only available to Australian owners of Oculus VR headset. Shoppers examine hair dryers and straighteners in their hands without leaving home, which is a lot cooler than in a regular online market, where there are only photos and videos. The Dyson Demo VR Store was developed using the same visualization and simulation technologies that the British company's engineers use to create their prototypes.

Fashion shows are held

The British Fashion Council (BFC) has collaborated with Gucci and the Roblox platform to launch the Fashion Awards 2021 in the metaverse, which anyone could attend. Thus, the first- ever fashion award for digital clothing design was celebrated.

Virtual parties and concerts are organized

Last year, Coca Cola launched its first NFT collection and held a virtual event in the Decentraland metaverse to celebrate. The virtual party was held on the roof of a virtual building shaped as the iconic Coca Cola can. Visitors could take part in a raffle and win rare wearables.

Question #4 Why are the metaverses so important?

If you think that the metaverses are some teenage trifling – think again. We have collected for you the key points that prove that metaverses need to be addressed, because they are here to stay.

The Metaverse could be the next Internet

Experts have it that the metaverse could be the next major online destination where users would get together, interact, buy, sell, play, and work. At the initial stage, the metaverse will be an alternative to social media, but it will eventually replace the World Wide Web. The Internet as we know it today may no longer exist.

Work and cooperation can move into the metaverse

The advent of VR for work, collaboration, and training progressed already back in 2020. For example, Facebook came out with their offer called Oculus for Business. Due to the metaverses, more employees will be able to switch over to remote or hybrid work. Companies are forced to make concessions to their qualified staff, which is in favor of hybrid work formats.

The metaverse affects the economy and even transforms it

When metaverses become massive, there will be many opportunities for investment and e-commerce. Some experts already estimate this market at a trillion dollars. There are already some multi-million dollar transactions happening in it right now. For example, several investors have purchased over $5.5 million worth of virtual land at Decentraland. A virtual mega-yacht was previously sold in the Sandbox metaverse for $650,000. We in educational platform GeekBrains have strong focus to teach all is related to metaverse.

Question #5. What tasks are solved by the metaverse specialists?

Metaverses are already helping to create new jobs. For example, Facebook announced that it would create 10,000 new jobs in Europe alone to develop its metaverse concept. The rest of the tech giants will also keep up because a lot of different tasks still need to be solved in order to make metaverses fully operational. Below are just a few of them.

How to create uniform standards

Companies will create thousands of projects within metaverses, and all of them will need to be compatible with each other.

What to do with the gigantic amount of data

The functioning of the metaverse will generate an enormous amount of data. They would need to be stored and protected so that user information is safe.

How to create a common currency

The metaverses already have their own currencies, but, at the moment, they are incompatible with each other and, with rare exceptions, not convertible into the currencies we are used to.

Question #6. So when are we all going to live in the metaverse?

The metaverses will not reach the zenith of their powers for quite a while yet. Humanity now is only taking its first steps.

Equipment plays a major role here. Virtual reality devices are just starting to cost affordable enough for middle-class people to buy them. The availability of such equipment is crucial for functioning of the metaverses.

The experts are optimistic: they are confident that metaverses are the tomorrow from science fiction that is coming to life. It is quite likely that all of us will see the metaverses, and that the next generation will remember the World Wide Web in its current form as the relic of the past, just as we now remember floppy disks and modems.

Alexander Volchek

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