Metaverse meaning: What Is It and How Does It Work?

Silicon Valley now has a new favorite buzzword: metaverse. Ever since Mark Zuckerberg announced earlier this year that the future of Facebook would be in the metaverse, everyone has been scrambling to understand what a metaverse is. And when Facebook rebranded as Meta in October, the tech industry was gripped by metaverse fever.


From Microsoft to Nvidia, every company has suddenly entered the metaverse business, and countless individuals have seemingly overnight become metaverse experts.


However, what is the metaverse? Why does it matter, and who should be concerned? If the metaverse is truly "the next chapter of the internet," as Zuckerberg put it, it is critical to comprehend and define it in order to avoid being caught off guard when (or if) the metaverse wave takes hold.


Here, we'll go over what Metaverse is and everything you need to know about it. We will consider the following:


·      What is the metaverse?

·      When can we expect to see it?

·      What are some examples of it?

·      Why the metaverse matters

·      The players

·      What people are saying

·      Why the Metaverse is Skyrocketing

·      How to make money on Metaverse

·      What’s next?


What is the Metaverse?


At its heart, the metaverse is an embodied internet: a social space where people can connect via personalized avatars that make them feel more present than a standard video call. It is synchronous, which simulates real-life better than today's feed-based social media. Rather than catching up on what others are doing, you'll interact with them in real-time.


It will also be persistent, much like the rest of the world. When you return to a metaverse space, you will not have to start over. And, like real life, it will include a variety of activities that you may wish to do with other people: attend concerts and other events, play games, socialize, date, and, yes, work and shop.


To be clear, the metaverse does not exist — at the moment. What we do have, however, are some forerunners:


·      Virtuoso - VR is frequently confused with the metaverse, which makes sense. If you wear a headset, having an embodied presence feels significantly more real than controlling an avatar with a keyboard or gamepad. However, while VR, augmented reality and other forms of spatial computing will be incorporated into the metaverse, it is equally critical that the metaverse work across multiple device categories. It's not something you dip into for a half-hour at a time, but something that you carry with you throughout the day: on your phone, your VR headset, and, eventually, consumer-ready augmented reality glasses.


·      Fortnite and Roblox - Both games have been heralded as forerunners of the metaverse, and they do tick a few boxes: Both Fortnite and Roblox are social spheres with avatars and in-world economies, and their massive live events have demonstrated that they are about much more than gaming. Both titles, however, are effectively stand-alone properties. Players cannot bring their Fortnite avatars to Microsoft Teams meetings, and good luck finding a business that accepts Robux as payment outside of Roblox.


Finally, there is one significant reason why we do not yet have a metaverse:


The metaverse is structured as a network. It is not a single service, but a collection of services that are loosely connected, both by companies constructing dedicated roads between their services and by individuals forging their own paths between destinations.


That is also why the first generation of avatar-based services, such as Second Life, are not self-contained metaverses. Just as the mobile internet is not comprised of a single app and none of the apps on your phone would exist without the presence of numerous other apps and services, the metaverse is comprised of a multitude of interconnected services.


Metaverse explained by Mark Zuckerberg. 

When can we expect to see it?


Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of the newly renamed Meta (formerly Facebook), estimates that it will take between five and ten years for the metaverse's key features to become mainstream. However, aspects of the metaverse do exist at the moment. Ultra-fast broadband connections, virtual reality headsets, and persistent always-on online worlds are already available, though not to everyone.


What are some examples of it?


Here's a look at what's happening today that could pave the way for tomorrow's metaverse:


·      Microsoft - Microsoft is already experimenting with holograms and is developing mixed and extended reality (XR) applications using its Microsoft Mesh platform, which combine the real world with augmented and virtual reality. Microsoft demonstrated its plans earlier this month to bring mixed reality, including holograms and virtual avatars, to Microsoft Teams in 2022. Additionally, explorable 3D virtual connected spaces for retail and workplaces are being developed for next year. The United States Army is currently collaborating with Microsoft on an augmented reality Hololens 2 headset that will be used by soldiers to train, rehearse, and fight. Additionally, Xbox Live already connects millions of video game players worldwide.


·      Meta - The former Facebook-owned technology company has already made significant investments in virtual reality, including the acquisition of Oculus in 2014. Meta envisions a virtual world in which digital avatars interact via virtual reality headsets for work, travel, and entertainment. Zuckerberg has been an outspoken proponent of the metaverse, believing it has the potential to supplant the internet as we know it. "The next platform and medium will be an even more immersive and embodied internet in which you are part of the experience rather than just looking at it," Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said last month in announcing the company's rebranding.


·      Roblox - The platform, which was founded in 2004, hosts a plethora of user-generated games, including role-playing games such as Bloxburg and Brookhaven, in which users can construct homes, work, and role-play scenarios. Roblox is now worth more than $45 billion following its initial public offering this year. the On the day of the platform's initial public offering in March, David Baszucki, the platform's founder and CEO, tweeted a thank you to everyone who helped bring the platform "one step closer to fulfilling our vision of the #Metaverse." Since then, Roblox has partnered with skateboarding shoe company Vans to create Vans World, a virtual skateboarding park where players can dress up in new Vans gear, as well as a limited-edition Gucci Garden where players can try on and purchase clothing and accessories for their virtual selves.


·      Minecraft - Another popular virtual world with children, Microsoft-owned Minecraft is essentially the digital equivalent of Legos, with players creating their own digital character and constructing whatever they please. Minecraft had over 140 million monthly active users as of August. Its popularity skyrocketed during the pandemic, as children were forced to rely more heavily on virtual connections.


·      Epic Games - "It's no secret that Epic is invested in building the metaverse," said Tim Sweeney, CEO of the company that developed Fortnite. It has hosted concerts by Ariana Grande and Travis Scott, as well as film trailers and music debuts, as well as a "immersive" reimagining of Martin Luther King Jr.'s historic 1963 "I Have A Dream" speech. Additionally, it is developing photorealistic digital humans through its MetaHuman Creator, which may be used to customize your digital doppelganger in future open-world games.


Several lesser-known businesses have established their own virtual worlds. Second Life, an online fantasy world founded in 2003, is entering its second decade as an alternate reality.


Why the Metaverse matters


Believe it or not, the rush to the metaverse did not begin with Zuckerberg's obsession with virtual reality. Rather than that, it is influenced by a variety of factors. People are flocking to avatar-based social gaming platforms in droves; the pandemic has compelled us all to seek out new forms of real-time interaction; and companies like Apple, Amazon, Google, and Meta are all scouting for the next big thing after the smartphone. And, while these trends are unfolding in real-time, a few critical questions remain unanswered.


Who will take on the role of the new gatekeepers?


The companies that develop the future AR and VR headsets are in a strong position to profit financially from the metaverse and to impose rules on it. As Zuckerberg has admitted, one reason Meta is so interested in the metaverse is that the company missed out on mobile hardware and is now forced to play by the rules of Google and Apple's app stores.


How about privacy, security, and mental health?


Facebook, YouTube, and other social media platforms have been scrutinized for their handling of misinformation and privacy concerns, as well as their impact on their users' mental health. All of these issues do not vanish in the metaverse, but they will almost certainly be resolved very differently. Hiring tens of thousands of moderators may not be the optimal strategy for preventing hate and harassment in real-time environments, and spatial data collected by headsets surveying people's living rooms raises a slew of new privacy concerns. Keeping these issues in mind from the start will be critical for both industry insiders and regulators.


Who is going to pay for it, and how are they going to pay for it?


The consumer internet of today is largely based on advertising, with a healthy froth of subscription revenues on top. Several of those models may be applicable in the metaverse. Additionally, we may see a return to transactional business models, possibly facilitated by decentralized finance. The future business models for these services will have a significant impact on the companies competing to build the metaverse, but they will also ultimately determine who has access to these new worlds, from small businesses to everyday people.


The players


Numerous companies are attempting to build the metaverse. The following are some of the major players in the space:


·      Meta has already invested $10 billion in metaverse technologies for the year 2021. The company's efforts include its VR hardware, social VR applications such as Horizon, and an investment in augmented reality wearables.


·      Roblox's proto-metaverse world generated $454 million in revenue in the second quarter of 2021. Additionally, the company has over 43 million daily active users, the majority of whom are children.


·      Epic earned more than $9 billion from Fortnite in 2018 and 2019, and the company's Unreal Engine powers a large number of augmented and virtual reality experiences.


·      Apple has avoided the hype surrounding the metaverse, but the company's massive investments in augmented reality hardware indicate that it wants the App Store to be a part of whatever the future brings.


What people are saying


    "The full vision of the Metaverse is decades away. It requires extraordinary technical advancements … and perhaps regulatory involvement too. In addition, it will require overhauls in business policies and changes to consumer behavior. But the term has become so recently popular because we can feel it beginning." — Hollywood-exec-turned-metaverse-expert Matthew Ball in the foreword to his upcoming book "The Metaverse."


    "Our hope is that within the next decade, the metaverse will reach a billion people, host hundreds of billions of dollars of digital commerce, and support jobs for millions of creators and developers." — Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, laying out a more ambitious timeline in Meta's founder's letter.


    "What the internet is for information, the metaverse is going to do for social connections. I'm no longer bound by physical distance or all these constraints in terms of who I interact with or how I represent who I am. All these things are suddenly unleashed. It's insanely disruptive." — Roblox CBO Craig Donato told Protocol last year why he thinks his company is well-positioned for the metaverse.


    "I would hope that the Metaverse as a future medium can be a much greater engine for economic efficiency than any of the closed systems that exist today. And that we'd ultimately get to a point where a much higher percentage of the profits go to creators than with any of these other platforms that currently exist." — Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney on the economy of the metaverse.


Why the Metaverse is Skyrocketing


By any conventional metric, Upland is perplexing to many. It is more than a virtual game; it is a social experience, but why are thousands of people spending their hard-earned money on it? One reason could be that it is truly unique.


Upland is a decentralized application (dApp) that enables the purchase, sale, and trading of virtual real estate that is linked to physical maps. Thus, you can visit Upland New York City to ascertain who owns the Empire State Building or the New York Stock Exchange. You can even bid for them yourself if you have the necessary in-game currency.


On its own, this concept is quite clever. However, what elevates Upland above mere toy status is the game's in-game economy. To begin purchasing their first properties, players must first purchase the native token, UPX, with fiat money. As Upland becomes more popular, market values for these properties naturally increase. Virtual landlords have the option of holding or cashing out for fiat once more.


Thus, while Upland properties are fictitious, they are very real investment assets.


Consider the NYSE as an example. You'd imagine that, in comparison to the majority of Upland properties, the Stock Exchange could fetch a decent amount of UPX. However, would you guess it's worth the full $23,000? That is the price it sold for in December. Today, it is even more valuable.


Even so, even this financial component falls short of fully capturing Upland's appeal. We interviewed one of the platform's co-founders, Dirk Lueth, for this article to get the full picture. We asked him not only how much money players can earn on his platform, but also how much they enjoy being there. He narrowed it down to five justifications:


·      It's enjoyable to discover properties with a special meaning, value, or emotional connection.

·      It's exhilarating to flip properties.

·      Taking pleasure in the community and making new friends

·      Locating like-minded individuals

·      Excited about the prospect of reconstructing the world and eventually making a living there


Upland's development team intends to expand its universe in the coming months and years by adding 3D property development features and allowing players to run businesses in-game. They're even considering adding a feature that will allow players to import NFT artwork into their virtual properties, effectively increasing their value in the same way that physical art increases the value of physical properties.


"I am extremely excited to bring more real-world brands into Upland and to finally introduce some location-based services and features that will begin to blur the line between the real world and the Upland metaverse," Lueth said.


How to make money on Metaverse


In the coming years, the Metaverse may alter how you earn money, shop, and perhaps even socialize. Cryptocurrency is revolutionizing the way people generate wealth worldwide. The following are some methods for earning money in the Metaverse World:


Shopping Online


Online shopping is extremely advantageous and thus one of the most well-known ways to earn money in the Metaverse, with companies like Amazon and Flipkart offering fast shipping and a diverse selection of brands. New concepts in digital fashion and avatar skins will emerge, paving the way for clothing companies and brands that will exist exclusively online. As people's work hours change, virtual experiments may become more critical in order to find the optimal Metaverse connection for your avatar.


Travel and Tourism


Due to travel restrictions last year, virtual reality tours of prehistoric Greece and Egypt gained popularity. On the other hand, the Metaverse's development teams hope to captivate visitors and reenact historical events such as the American Civil War. Thus, you will not only be able to cross borders without leaving your house but also to travel through time. Additionally, with workplaces utilizing the Metaverse for collaboration, there is a significant reduction in the need for long-distance travel, which saves money and fuel.


Ownership of Online Digital Property


In reality, art and land parcels have piqued investors' interest. As more people become interested in the Metaverse, at least a few people have recognized the value of 'land' in an internet world. Purchasing land is a popular method of earning money in the Metaverse.


Play to Earn Games


Earn by Playing Games are a well-known method of earning money in the Metaverse. Southeast Asian gamers are earning a living by playing 'play to earn' blockchain-based games, Snoop Dogg is throwing virtual parties, and artists now have a new revenue stream. In its simplest form, the Metaverse is a virtual realm in which virtually anything is possible. Players can earn between $300 and $5,000 USD per month playing games like Axie infinity. Additionally, there are other games on Metaverse that are currently fundraising in order to launch at a later date. Thus, you can earn money by playing games in the Metaverse.


Online Partying and Concert Participation


It's often simpler than real-world partying and is one of the most well-known ways to earn money in the Metaverse. Nevertheless, it lacks the "look and feel" of a legitimate party. The Metaverse is making an attempt to bridge that chasm. Initiatives like The Sandbox already enable users to purchase land, construct properties, and host whatever activities they desire on the Ethereum blockchain. Snoop Dogg, the rapper, has already rebuilt his mansion within the Sandbox Metaverse and is offering participants VIP tickets to his live show.


Flipping Lands Inside Metaverse


The simplest way to earn money in Metaverses such as SAND and MANA is to purchase land and then sell it for a profit. We've written an article about how to purchase land on Decentraland.


Metaverse Architecture and Designer


Due to the abundance of plots available in the Metaverse, an investor may find themselves at a loss for ideas on how to design things there. A Metaverse Architect or Metaverse designer can assist a landowner in constructing various structures on Metaverse and profiting from them.


Land brokers


As in the real world, you can work as a land broker in Metaverse, assisting people in buying and selling land and earning a commission on successful transactions. There may be a large number of whales that control a large portion of the plot in the Metaverse. As a Metaverse land broker, you would assist the whale in increasing the value of his plots in exchange for a commission.


Renting Land in the Metaverse


If you own a small, medium, or large plot of land within the Metaverse, you can rent it to creators, builders, or game developers who cannot afford to purchase the land, but can operate their business on your plot, earning you monthly rent. This would result in an increase in passive income.


Establishing Businesses in the Metaverse


Within Metaverse, you can establish your own business and begin selling digital goods. As mentioned previously, one of the ideas could be to perform concerts and live shows. Numerous businesses can be created on Metaverse to generate passive income.


Earn Money by Developing Games


If you are a game developer, you can also publish your game on Metaverses such as Sandbox and earn money from it. As your game's popularity grows, so will your revenue.


While there are numerous headlines at the moment, investment in this field remains low. However, I believe that this will take off when we can truly collaborate on projects and meet people from all over the world. The Metaverse is the eagerly anticipated future!


What’s next?


Whether it takes a decade or a century to build the metaverse, it's clear that immersive hardware will play a critical role in popularizing it. That is why the race between Meta, Apple, Snap, and Microsoft to develop augmented reality glasses is critical. Whoever wins it will not necessarily win the metaverse, but will undoubtedly have a significant home team advantage.

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