Since our article about the tech trends for 2023, we decided to do a series of follow-up articles talking about related issues. Step by step we are expanding the topics we began to discuss earlier in January. We already talked about the main types of software development and last week we explained the differences between AI and Machine Learning. And for today we want to talk more about the metaverse.
The metaverse became popular over the last year because of the announcement of Meta, formerly known as Facebook. But in fact, the metaverse concept is way older as alway as the discourse about and virtual reality (VR). This topic is starting to receive more attention. As we mentioned before in our article, 66% of executives report that their companies are actively engaged with the possibilities of the metaverse.
So in today’s article we gonna discuss a little bit about what exactly is the metaverse. We also would like to talk about the current state of VR technology. And later what we can expect for the future of this field.
Explaining the Metaverse
Although the term got more popular when Mark Zuckerberg decided to rebrand the digital technological titan of Facebook to Meta, he didn’t create the metaverse. Actually, this concept has been around since the 90s when the world wide web was shaping itself.
Investors see the metaverse as the next phase of our iteration with the internet. It describes a 3D immersive virtual space where people could be able to share experiences. In other words, we could say that the metaverse is a massive social network where we could insert ourselves through an avatar. Looking for examples, we could consider a metaverse-like entrepreneurship already tested. This was the game Second Life, which was a trend in the 2000s.
As a digital ecosystem, the metaverse requires the integration of so many 3D worlds. That’s the main reason to not consider, at least not entirely, Second Life an example of the metaverse. Because it is a centralized platform, owned by a single company and closed protocols. The idea of the metaverse is to have an open-source decentralised digital universe using real-time collaboration between different parts and blockchain-based technology.
To enable people to “enter” this digital ecosystem is also necessary to widespread access to VR technologies. We should consider VR one of the key factors to the success of the metaverse. So next we’ll discuss this technology before talking about the future expectations for the metaverse.
Virtual and Augmented Reality
Today there are basically two technologies envisioned to be the “doors” to the metaverse: VR and augmented reality.
If we are talking solely in terms of immersion, augmented reality is the weakest one. That’s because this technology does not enable you to “enter” a virtual space. What it does is create an overlay of text, sounds and/or images to sort of expand our reality. You can use augmented reality with smartphones and tablets without the need for headsets like VR. There are already lots of real applications with augmented reality. To name a few we could cite like apps to help in translation, tourism, retail, etc. And there are also social network filters such as Instagram and Snapchat and games like Pokemon GO.
On the other hand, VR technology immerses its users in a virtual environment and allows them to interact and perceive this space through their senses. The primary form to perceive this 3D-generated virtual world is with the use of headsets that have built-in screens. They also utilize head tracking technology to allow the users to have a 360° view of their surroundings.
VR technology is sought to have several applications in different markets. What we see the most is the use of VR in the entertainment sector with video games. Culture also has its applications by allowing the user to visit museums and art galleries in a virtual space. VR could also be used in the training of factory workers to operate heavy machinery.
Because of that, we can correlate the future of the metaverse with the success and evolution of VR technology. Which opens the question:
What to expect for the future of the metaverse?
The key player in the metaverse is and will be for a long period the game industry. It already has a history of developing full and immersive virtual worlds with massive audiences as we can see with online games such as World of Warcraft, Lost Ark, and others. There are also dozen of simulator games that are benefiting from the optimization of VR technology.
Different businesses are also studying the possibilities of the metaverse to create virtual offices that will be useful for remote work and eliminate the need for physical spaces. Hospitals around the world use VR to train doctors in common medical practices and, in the future, this could be expanded for more complex procedures. In the metaverse, you could have spaces dedicated to this kind of training.
To achieve this goal, VR technology still needs to be improved. Not only it needs to become more accessible, but also there are lots of performance issues like video clipping and even physical problems like motion sickness that developers need to look into. There will be lots of experimentation with the metaverse and probably most of them will not succeed. However, investors are optimistic about the possibilities companies could achieve so we can expect an increase in startups and creative developers for the next years.
Although it is a long-time concept, just recently the possibility of a real metaverse became feasible. But there is no assurance. The metaverse still depends a lot on the evolution and accessibility of VR technology so probably we won’t see many applications in the next months.
We can expect an increase in interest from the public, developers and investors and for that is worth paying attention to the topic. In our article, we discussed a few details about the concept of the metaverse and its most important ally which is VR technology.
Now we ask what are your opinions about the metaverse? Are you optimistic about it? What challenges do you think it will need to surpass? Please let us know in the comments below. As usual, you can contact us on our blog page or our website.