What was once considered to be pure science fiction, has now become an aspect of our everyday lives. The metaverse, we’ve all heard about it but many of us are still confused about what it actually is and its role in our lives. It may sound like something fresh from an 80’s sci-fi fantasy but the metaverse is very much a reality.
WHAT IS THE METAVERSE?
In essence, the Metaverse is an extension of our current internet, it is a digital universe parallel to the physical world. For example, video games where you can customize and create an avatar, go shopping, design clothes or start a business, is an example of a metaverse. These digital universes create a social space where people can basically do whatever they want within the limits of that particular space. Fortnite for example, allows people to customize their avatars, you can even purchase clothes and equipment using real life money in order to better your virtual experience. It may just seem like another video game, but these platforms have their own language and their own communities which make up a universe.
Beyond the realm of video games, the metaverse is all around us. Apps that use our location to trace where we are like Uber or Google maps are examples of the technology that goes into making metaverse. Basically, these apps transfer data from the physical world to a digital space, that is the fundamental principle of the metaverse.
The metaverse however extends the boundaries of reality by creating endless possibilities, V.R for example creates images and spaces using our real physical space but enhances them to insane lengths. The metaverse goes beyond that and creates an entire world where you have the ability to not only change your space, but you can change yourself, your wardrobe, career, and even build a family. Think like the sims, but in first person perspective.
This new internet era of the metaverse has gained its traction from Facebook's announcement to rebrand itself as a metaverse with a functioning economy, currency with immersive VR, taking zoom and video conferencing to the next level. Facebook announced its plans to create something called Horizon Workrooms which would replace the need for webcams by allowing you to create an avatar and interact via that persona.
So instead of logging into zoom via webcam, you would have to enter as a character and could interact with other characters. 2021 has proved that digital communication and virtual conferencing is the future, so many of our everyday work lives involve zoom meetings and using digital platforms to work. Transitioning to working in the metaverse therefore would be very swift because we’re already basically there.
BUT IS THIS GOOD OR BAD?
In essence, the morality of the universe can be up for debate but it wont change the fact that it’s not going anywhere, the metaverse is simply part of our lives. Since the pandemic, people have relied solely on digital technology to earn money, connect to people and develop new skills. The metaverse has already been instrumental for our finances too. Not only can you use real money for customising things in that world, buying new assets or unlocking new features but you can monetise your creations in that universe. You can actually sell digital assets like custom made clothes for an avatar to other users.
Balenciaga even did their Fall 2021 collection digitally through a video game and collaborated with Fortnite on skins for avatars. Shopping, communicating or building a business has gone beyond clicking websites or links, we now get to experience these things without actually leaving our bedrooms.
Much like social media, the metaverse is going to become just as integrated into our lives as our morning coffee, but let’s not fear change, let’s embrace it. Social media has become such an essential tool for us to function productively, socially and culturally, just think of the endless possibilities the metaverse could bring about.