If you feel rather spaced out when it comes to understanding the new universe everyone is talking about, the Metaverse, you are not alone. Chances are, you are aware that Facebook rebranded itself as Meta but other than that perhaps have little or no clue of the space you could occupy in the Metaverse.
What is Metaverse?
Defining the Metaverse at this point is similar to trying to describe the Internet in the 1970’s. The internet existed then but what it would eventually become and look like was far from clear. So beyond the buzzword that is the Metaverse, what does the term metaverse encompass beyond the hype?
First of all the term Metaverse is not new. It was coined by author Neal Stephenson in the sci-fi novel “Snow Crash” in 1962. While Stephenson referred to the Metaverse as an all-encompassing digital world, at this point in history many experts describe the Metaverse as a 3D model of the Internet. In simple language, metaverse is a network of 3D vertical worlds that uses Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Blockchain.
Mohit Goel who has brought the Metaverse into the awareness of many in India via his blockchain technology company Metalok describes the Metaverse like this, “For years humanity has been dreaming of utopia. I believe the Metaverse can make a utopian world a reality, supported by blockchain technology which will enable a fully functioning economy, interoperability of digital assets like never seen before along with many other such features.”
AR, VR, Blockchain? Is the Metaverse still sounding like a mystery and you’re wondering what exactly do you use it for and how to use it?
What can the Metaverse be used for?
First of all, the Metaverse enables you to have an entire virtual world at your fingertips. Whether it is working or socialising, travelling, shopping, conducting business to events and parties or gaming, you can do it all in the Metaverse, just like you do in the real world, but here you’re not constricted by distance or even by a limited budget. Here it’s possible for you or well to put it more accurately your digital avatar to be a world traveller dressed in designer clothes at a fraction of the cost and effort. Yes, it’s not you but your digital avatar who will enter the world of 3D internet aka metaverse.
The digital assets that you collect in the Metaverse from clothes to real estate and art, will be the 3D versions and are called NFTs or Non Fungible Tokens.
An NFT can be anything from an audio or a video file, fashion to food, art, music, memes, tweets the list goes on. But while anything can be an NFT, the Metaverse is a lot more than just these assets. It’s the universe of NFT’s, cryptocurrencies, smart contracts, smart ledgers, AI and AR/VR.
People have been trying to create immersive virtual experiences as early as the 1960’s. One of the most common examples given is,’ Second Life’. It was a video game played through avatars who could do anything like the real world, like getting jobs, building houses and making families. It used to feel so real that people started socialising via it and got addicted to this first kind of metaverse experience. By 2006, metaverse enthusiasts created more 3D/4D games like it on blockchain.
Examples of such games are Sandbox, Decentraland.
How to create an avatar?
Creating an avatar is somewhat similar to creating a social media profile. However instead of just choosing an existing photo for your profile here you can customize your avatar and choose how you would like to express yourself to the digital community. You can do this through several Metaverse avatar creators which allow you to choose everything from your hair to your lip shape.
How to enter the Metaverse?
Nowadays, many companies are creating their own metaverse or being part of an existing metaverse on the internet. To immerse yourself into the Metaverse one can either put on a VR headset or enter an existing metaverse through its app or its portal. There isn’t just one portal or an app via which one can enter the Metaverse. There are several different platforms through which you can enter the Metaverse depending on what you would like to experience whether that’s gaming or live entertainment. For example, some of the most popular gaming metaverse platforms are Decentraland and The Sandbox amongst others. One can enter their 3D virtual space or meta universe using the normal browser, can choose his/ her avatar and experience the new universe i.e Metaverse.
Whereas others, like many Indian start-ups, allow you to enter their respective metaverse via their apps or portals and choose from preloaded avatars like how you do in many video games. Once you have chosen your avatar, voila you’re ready to immerse yourself in the respective start-up’s metaverse.
Is the Metaverse Mainstream?
Currently network constraints are hindering the growth of the Metaverse. However, with the onset of 5G connectivity, things may change for the better. 5G connections need to improve internationally so that connectivity worldwide can support ambient computing. Ambient computing is essentially when computers surround us and work without the need for direct human intervention. It is an environment when computers and smart devices of all kinds are ubiquitous. However, we are still years away from this sort of technology being prevalent all over the world.
Having said that, big companies are entering the meta universe. From Gucci to Louis Vuitton, from JPMorgan to Deutsche Bank- all are entering the metaverse because it is the future!
Metaverse in India
The Metaverse is estimated to be a $800 billion market by 2024 and India is expected to play a huge role in its growth. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta has said,
“That is because India’s talent pool — the engineers, developers and creators and the whole vibrant startup ecosystem is playing a huge role in shaping the future. India is on track to have the largest app developer base in the world by 2024. It already has one of the largest ‘Spark AR’ developer communities.”
Many Indian companies to start ups have made an entry to the Meta-Universe. Zee recently announced ZeeVerse which will change the way content is consumed.
Bollywood production house Pooja Entertainment announced Poojaverse. It’s their metaverse where they even released the promo of the Akshay Kumar- Tiger Shroff starrer ‘Bade Miyan Chote Miyan’. Not just this, Tanishq launched their new collection in Metaverse. Famous restaurant chains are ready to come up with their own Meta restaurants. Brands like Adidas and Nike India are also open to the Metaverse and are exploring opening storefronts in the Metaverse.
Metalok in the Metaverse
Metalok, an Indian blockchain technology company is part of this extremely exciting evolution of the Internet. With Blockchain technology, Metalok offers its customers a secure platform to experience the Metaverse. According to Metalok’s vision statement, “We have combined the power of AI, VR, AR, Mixed Reality, Crypto, FIAT Money and other promising technology to make this world more accessible for our users. Keeping in mind their interests and passions, Metalok, after already entering a virtual sports world, aims to enter the worlds of Fashion, Jewellery, Health, Celebrity Management and a lot more.”