Is the Metaverse the next big evolution after the desktop-to-mobile switch? Myths and questions abound about the term. We light up the darkness.
Metaverse here, metaverse there: But what exactly is the metaverse and what new possibilities does it bring with it? This question is currently being asked by a lot of people who may not yet be able to imagine much under the term. But even if you have already read something, there are certain aspects of the story or the potential of the metaverse for the world of work that are still unknown to you. In the article we trace the background and future prospects of the Metaverse.
Conceptual origin and the metaverse before meta
First of all, it can be said that the term metaverse – or metaversum – is very broad and did not first see the light of day with Facebook's renaming to meta. In fact, the term comes from the 1992 science fiction novel Snow Crash written by Neal Stephenson. It describes a virtual, three-dimensional space in which people interact with each other as avatars. The metaverse creates a convergence between physical reality and virtual space in the context of networked digital space. The term metaverse is a portmanteau of "meta" (Latin: limit; prefix for a higher level) and "universe".
The idea of the metaverse was taken up in the following years both in literature, such as in the novel Ready Player One, and as the basis of various game worlds. The game Second Life is considered a pioneering project for the implementation of a metaverse in the game world. In the meantime, newer games – for example Fortnite – also have elements of the Metaverse. In comparison to virtual game worlds, however, the putative metaverse of the future could be significantly more complex and varied in its areas of application.
These are the main players in the Metaverse
The actual core of the idea of the metaverse lies in its decentralization – it should be completely independent of large tech companies. In this sense, many elements in the metaverse are to be stored on the blockchain – such as NFTs and also cryptocurrencies. The big tech players – especially Meta – are currently investing large sums in the development of the Metaverse. For Facebook, after its name change to Meta, the Metaverse is at the center of its future plans because the company thinks:
The metaverse is the next evolution of social connection.
Social media could advance to become the entry platform for the Metaversum and thus change the social landscape in the long term.
Meta is not alone in its enthusiasm: numerous other companies are also investing in a future in the Metaverse. Microsoft, for example, sees great potential in the virtual working world in particular. The company recently introduced the "Mesh" collaboration platform, which enables the use of digital avatars in meetings. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella describes his view of the metaverse as follows:
When we talk about the metaverse, we're describing both a new platform and a new application type, similar to how we talked about the web and websites in the early '90s.
Microsoft Teams Avatars, © Microsoft
Epic Games, the software company behind Fortnite, is also investing in building the Metaverse and is working on the development of various game universes. One type of metaverse that already exists is the virtual reality platform Decentraland, which runs on the Ethereum blockchain and consists of over 90,000 parcels of virtual land. These can be purchased as NFTs. Here, users can create content and apps, monetize them and use them themselves. In contrast, one company that has so far been reluctant to integrate Metaverse is Apple. A virtual platform to escape from reality is – at least for the time being – “off limits” for the company.
Play, Travel, Work: What will be possible in the Metaverse
The difference from traditional websites and social networks lies in the immersive experience that the Metaverse offers. Various activities such as working, shopping, playing or traveling are possible in the metaverse. Many experts see this as a major development of the internet. After the jump from desktop to smartphone, the jump from smartphone to metaverse could be imminent. Even large events are conceivable in the virtual space. Manchester City, for example, announced in cooperation with SONY that they want to build the first football stadium in the Metaverse.
JUST IN: Manchester City partners with SONY to build the worlds first soccer stadium in the #Metaverse. ⚽️
— Watcher.Guru February 20, 2022
Everyday things will also be possible in the Metaverse – for example going out to eat in a restaurant. So it's hardly surprising that McDonald's is also planning to have a presence in the Metaverse. The fast-food chain wants to combine the stay in the virtual restaurant with home delivery.
McDonald's plans for the metaverse are expanding.
On Feb 11th, the company filed a new trademark application for "McDelivery."
The filing claims that @McDonalds will offer "a virtual restaurant featuring home delivery" using the "McDelivery" trademark.#McDonalds #Metaverse pic.twitter.com/jgber7GwAe
— Josh Gerben February 16, 2022
Potential for the world of work and marketing
The Metaverse holds a lot of potential for both the marketing industry and the world of work in general. It offers marketers an enormous amount of new inventory, and exclusive partnerships are also conceivable. A variety of new jobs, such as ecosystem developer, hardware builder, security officer, and world maker, could also spawn the metaverse. Meta announced that it wants to create 10,000 jobs in Europe for the development of the Metaverse over the next five years.
One industry that is expected to benefit greatly from the development of the Metaverse is the creator economy. The new virtual space offers both influencers and brands even more room to develop and could open up unimagined opportunities for everyone involved in influencer marketing.
As exciting as a future in the Metaverse sounds, it will probably take some time before a Metaverse is actually implemented (at least in the form that companies like Meta envision). According to Meta, it could be a good five to ten years before the required technology is developed.
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