The Metaverse: Changing How We Live and Interact Forever
In this blog series, I aim to answer the following questions:
- What is the metaverse?
- What will it offer to users?
- How are tech giants like Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, and Huawei viewing the opportunity?
- How big is the market?
- What are the potential business models?
In this post, I look at the first two of these questions.
Metaverse: The latest buzzword in the industry
In October 2021, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced he was changing Facebook’s name to “Meta” and expanding its borders into the metaverse. “The metaverse will be the successor of the mobile Internet,” he said. The company promises a new reality, full of avatars and futuristic worlds.
In September 2021, Tencent registered the trademarks ‘King Metaverse’, ‘Tian Dollar Universe’, and ‘QQ Metaverse’. Also in 2021, the Singaporean stereoscopic 3D CG animation Production Company Tiny Island Productions teamed up with Huawei to create Tiny Island Universe, a virtual theme park to feature malls and zones for users to explore, socialize, and have fun in.
On February 28, 2022, MTN bought 144 plots of digital land in the African Metaverse Ubuntuland. MTN claim to be the first African company to enter the Metaverse, according to a press release on the company’s website.
Neal Stephenson’s dystopian reality vision: The Metaverse
In 1992, when the Internet was still new, the American novelist Neal Stephenson wrote his novel Snow Crash. In his fictional story, the Metaverse is a parallel digital world where humans interact with each other in the form of an avatar – a virtual world where people use digital avatars to live, work and play on online. The “metaverse” that Stephenson envisioned would be the successor of the Internet, an escape from a dystopian reality.
What kind of dystopian reality did he envisage three decades ago? He painted a picture where “The global economy has collapsed, federal governments have lost power and a handful of giant corporations control the world.”
What is the metaverse?
A blend of ‘meta’ (Greek word meaning ‘beyond’) and ‘verse’ derived from ‘Universe’. So, let’s understand the metaverse in terms of how it will look.
The metaverse is envisaged as a virtual world, featuring avatars, digital objects, and functioning economies where people gather to socialize, play, and work, and where technology is not just a tool, but something
that is all-encompassing.
The metaverse is not just a 3D space, as it includes two key elements:
- A virtual world where people in this metaverse can convert their real-life identity into an avatar that lives in the metaverse.
- Becoming part of each game, program, or application that you are interacting with.
The Metaverse is the next iteration of social media: You can go to a carnival, a music concert, a museum – it’s all “real”, but happening in a virtual
On November 19th, 2021, the Justin Bieber held a 30-minute meta-universe concert where he sang his latest album Justice. At the event, Bieber transformed into a digital avatar and delivered a full live show with real-time motion capture for the live musical performance. While watching, the audience could send a flowing golden light to Bieber according to the scene, and the grass could grow red, yellow, and blue flowers.
February 2019 saw the internationally renowned musician Marshmello’s virtual concert to launch the Fortnite game “Fortress Night”. Marshmello used motion capture technology to broadcast live against a virtual backdrop. Players could interact with the DJ after entering the venue, with a total of 10.7 million people attending this concert. Then in August 2021, around 78 million Fortnite users attended pop star Ariana Grande’s virtual concert “Rift Tour” within the game environment. Grande virtually performed five in-game shows that took place over the course of several days.
And Paris Hilton hosted the New Year’s Eve party “Neon Carnvival” to see in 2022 and mark the launch of her own virtual island, Paris World.
Today big Tech giants like Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Facebook are racing to claim the Metaverse – a virtual universe that will co-exist with the physical one.
And how is that shaping up? Subscribe to this blog to read the next post in this series and find out.
- The Role of Connectivity in Building the Metaverse
- The Role of Computing and AI in Building the Metaverse
Disclaimer: Any views and/or opinions expressed in this post by individual authors or contributors are their personal views and/or opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views and/or opinions of Huawei Technologies.