21. June 2023 By Kevin Pahlke
What is the metaverse?
The metaverse is a concept that refers to a virtual world where users can interact, transact and perform a variety of activities in real time. The idea of the metaverse goes back to science fiction novels such as Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson, but it has become more important in recent years due to the increasing use of virtual and augmented reality technologies.
The development of the metaverse can be divided into several phases:
- The beginnings: The first wave of virtual worlds such as Second Life were developed in the late 1990s. But they were technically limited and had a limited user base. Nevertheless, they demonstrated that there was a market for virtual worlds and that users were willing to invest time and money in them.
- The era of games: In the 2000s, online games such as World of Warcraft and EVE Online became increasingly popular, offering gamers an immersive virtual world in which they could interact with other people and develop their avatars. However, these games were still relatively isolated and offered limited opportunities for users to create their own content.
- The social era: The spread of social media such as Facebook and Twitter in the 2010s also saw virtual worlds become increasingly social. Platforms such as IMVU and Habbo Hotel allowed users to create avatars and interact with other people in virtual spaces. However, these platforms also offered limited opportunities for users to create their own content.
- The VR era: The metaverse has come to the forefront in recent years thanks to the develop of virtual reality technologies. Platforms like VRChat and Sansar allow users to fully immerse themselves in a virtual world and interact with other people. The opportunities for users to create their own content have also improved considerably.
- The future: The future of the Metaverse is uncertain, but there are several ideas about how it could develop. Some companies such as Facebook (now Meta) and Roblox are investing heavily in the concept of the metaverse and trying to develop their platforms in this direction. There are also ideas about how the metaverse could be used as a platform for virtual concerts, fairs and other events.
What is the benefit?
The metaverse has the potential to deliver a wide range of benefits for users, companies and society as a whole. Below are some of the ways in which the metaverse can be used:
One of the greatest strengths of the metaverse is its ability to enable virtual interactions between users. These interactions can take place anywhere in the world and are not dependent on physical distance and spatial limitations. The metaverse allows users to engage in a variety of activities, including participating in virtual events, collaborating on projects or interacting socially with others.
New business opportunities
The metaverse offers companies a new platform to market products and services. Companies can create virtual shops or exhibitions and sell their products directly to metaverse users. By integrating AI and machine learning technologies, companies can also offer personalised experiences and better tailor their products and services to users’ needs.
The metaverse allows users to exercise their creative skills and create their own content, such as virtual environments, clothing and other items. This content can then be sold or exchanged in the virtual world. The metaverse therefore offers a new kind of creative freedom and allows users to express their imagination in new ways.
New learning opportunities
The metaverse can also serve as a platform for education and learning opportunities. It allows users to learn in virtual classrooms, run simulations and perform experimental learning activities. These virtual environments can allow learners to apply and practice what they have learned in a safe environment.
Reduced environmental impact
The metaverse offers an alternative way to attend events and conduct business without those involved needing to be in the same room. This can lead to a reduction in environmental impact, as travel and transport costs are reduced. In addition, virtual environments can also help reduce the need for physical resources such as buildings and materials.
New forms of collaboration
The metaverse can also enable new forms of collaboration by allowing users from different industries and countries to work together on projects. By integrating real-time communication and collaborative tools, users can share ideas and work together to solve complex problems.
These are just a few examples. The metaverse offers a variety of ways to use it that go far beyond the conventional applications of virtual worlds and online games.
How do you earn money in the metaverse?
There are many ways to make money, similar to the physical world. I will introduce you to some of the most important options below:
This is one of the most important areas of application of the metaverse. In virtual worlds, companies can sell virtual products – for example, clothing, furniture, jewellery and much more. Virtual products can often be more intricately designed and offer a higher degree of personalisation and individualisation than physical products. In addition, companies can also offer virtual services such as design or consultation.
Just like in the physical world, companies can place advertisements in the metaverse. Companies can place banner ads in virtual environments or generate attention by sponsoring events and promotions.
Property is a key way to make money in the metaverse. In virtual worlds, users can buy and sell virtual properties – such as houses, flats, offices and shops. The properties can also be rented out, which provides a regular source of income.
Virtual worlds and online games often offer the opportunity to earn or buy virtual currencies. These can then be used to purchase virtual items and upgrades. Some users earn money by making and selling virtual items or by selling their in-game characters.
The metaverse can also be used to provide educational services – for example, by creating virtual classrooms and schools. Companies and individuals can also offer educational services in the form of tutorials, training courses and webinars.
Various forms of content can also be created, including videos, music and podcasts. Content creators can earn money from their work by generating advertising revenue, through the sale of merchandise or through support from fans and followers
What are the trends in the metaverse?
There are numerous trends in the metaverse, some of which I would like to introduce to you. These include:
The metaverse as a new marketing channel
Just as search engines and social media paved the way for web 1.0 and 2.0, marketing and advertising will provide the fuel that will catapult web 3.0 – the metaverse – into the mainstream. The concept may not be fully developed yet, but companies such as international financial giants HSBC and JP Morgan, as well as global lifestyle and fashion brands such as Nike and Gucci, have already staked their claim and started to build their presence in the metaverse.
The appeal is obvious – we know that consumers are always looking for new and more engaging ways to interact with the brands they want to do business with. The metaverse, with its focus on customer experience and individual connections, is another communication channel. Crucially, unlike social media and search engines, which Google and Meta have reasonably well covered, there is still much to be gained. In the next 12 months, companies will try to position themselves in the top virtual locations – whether by building their own platforms or by occupying existing arenas such as Meta Horizons, Fortnite, VR Chat or Decentraland. Nobody knows exactly which strategy will be successful, but one thing is certain – you have to be there to win.
Apart from its power as a marketing tool, the metaverse promises platforms, tools and entire virtual worlds in which companies can conduct remote, efficient and intelligent transactions.
It is expected that the metaverse concept will merge with the idea of the digital twin. Virtual simulations of real products, processes or operations will make it possible to test and try out new ideas in the safe environment of the digital space. From wind farms to Formula 1 cars, designers create physical objects in virtual worlds where their efficiency can be tested under any conditions without incurring the resource costs that testing in the physical world would.
Another use of metaverse technology in the corporate world will be in training, onboarding and other tasks. For example, consulting firm Accenture has created a metaverse environment called The Nth Floor, which provides replicas of real offices and allows employees to perform a range of HR functions in the virtual world.
Collaborative metaverse work environments such as BMW’s augmented reality labs, where new products are designed and prototyped, are also becoming increasingly popular. Here, teams can explore new methods of remote working while staying connected to their colleagues and their creative process.
Web3 and decentralisation
One vision of what the metaverse will eventually look like revolves around decentralisation. According to web3 advocates, distributed ledger and blockchain technology will lead to a new Internet that is beyond the control of global corporations. These corporations will no longer have the power to censor opinions they disagree with or pull the plug on anyone they want to take offline completely. This vision is based on decentralised metaverse platforms such as The Sandbox and Decentraland, which will eventually be organised as DAOs.
Buying property rights gives individuals a voice over how the organisation that builds the virtual domain is run, which will eventually lead to the formation of virtual democracies and user-owned communities.
NFTs are another aspect of the decentralised metaverse. These are unique tokens that live on blockchains – just like non-fungible tokens such as cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin – and can be used to represent unique online goods or assets. Brands such as Nike, Adidas and Forever 21 have used this technology to create digital goods that can be worn, traded and displayed by their owners in the metaverse. Clarks – a British shoe brand – recently launched an online tournament with the Roblox platform where users can win unique virtual goods.
However, the vision of the metaverse as decentralised platforms with the potential to create virtual democracies and user-owned communities has not yet fully come to fruition. There are still many challenges and obstacles to overcome to realise this vision, especially with regard to the scalability, interoperability and security of decentralised metaverse platforms.
In summary, the metaverse is an exciting new concept that offers many opportunities – both for companies and individuals. It has the potential to fundamentally change the way we do business, work, learn and interact with each other. However, it remains to be seen how quickly and how successfully this vision can be implemented and what impact this will have on society.
What might happen next in the story of the metaverse?
The future of metaverse is promising. Technology will continue to evolve, allowing users to have even more immersive experiences. The metaverse will also affect the way we interact and do business online.
An important development is the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) into the metaverse. AI can be used to optimise the virtual world and improve the user experience. It can also be used to provide personalised offers to users and optimise their interactions.
The metaverse will also play an important role in the development of smart cities. Virtual environments can be used to simulate cities and plan their development. It can also be used to improve collaboration and interaction between governments, businesses and citizens.
In summary, the metaverse will play an increasingly important role in our world. It will allow us to have new experiences and improve the way we work together and interact. It is important that we prepare for this future and ensure that we use technology responsibly to create a better world.
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