Following Facebook’s announcement in October, the company rebranded as Meta – many in the industry are wondering what lies ahead for businesses and how the metaverse will expand in the future.
A lot of us will ask: what is the metaverse? And, despite technology advancing, the metaverse is still relatively far from current world standards. There are many concepts of the metaverse, but the one described by Mark Zuckerberg will require tools such as virtual reality, augmented reality and the help of social media to richen interactions that feel close to real life.
What is the metaverse?
The metaverse will transform the way people interact with one another in a way that science fiction lovers might not have imagined could happen in the real world.
Meta in Greek is popularly used as a prefix to mean ‘beyond’. The combination of meta and universe suggests an exciting new world beyond the universe – introducing the next chapter of the internet. 2021 witnessed a glimpse of the metaverse come alive – an immersive experience where avatars can shop, work, enjoy hobbies or engage in an online community.
The metaverse first came to light in a 1992 novel by Neal Stephenson, described as a shared imaginary place, available to access over a fibre-optics network and projected through VR goggles.
While the idea of the metaverse is different to everyone, most see it as a social environment where avatars have plenty of distinctive digital areas to browse.
The metaverse leaves a lot of unanswered questions as to how it will combine artificial intelligence, virtual reality, augmented reality, NFTs, crypto, 5G, online shopping, social networks and more of what we have seen in the latest news, but we must remember that the metaverse is more than one idea.
The future awaits
Immersive worlds that use virtual avatars are not something new to the industry. Games such as Roblox and Minecraft have already built virtual worlds to enjoy. While gaming introduced the concept of the metaverse years ago, Meta’s announcement aims to reach a dream beyond entertainment.
After a whirlwind of two years, the concept of virtual workspaces and experiences are becoming the future. The metaverse will support every social interaction, such as a business meeting or a social gathering.
Bill Gates predicts that companies will hold virtual meetings in the metaverse in as little as three years. While VR hardware might seem inaccessible cost-wise, however as technology advances, it will soon become more affordable to the general public.
It’s wondered whether workers will solely use VR headsets with the need for a central workplace soon dying out. The same goes for the education sector, with games such as Roblox planning to introduce educational video games to schools.
Social lives are upgrading too, with platforms like AltspaceVR creating virtual communities where people can enjoy live virtual events. Commerce is the current focus sector embracing the metaverse, with high-end brands such as Balenciaga, who recently partnered with Fortnite to produce a collection of virtual avatar clothing and an impressive 3D billboard experience in London, Tokyo, New York and Seoul.
Nike has filed trademark applications for virtual shoes, while Louis Vuitton sells e-clothes and bags. It is incredible to see the market shift, but there is also a concern for how the world will look in, say, twenty years from now. Will virtual become our crucial source of reality?
Is the metaverse just a new marketing ploy?
While Mark Zuckerberg wants to change how we interact socially and at work, there is speculation that the metaverse is more than virtual reality. In gaming, while many think the metaverse is just simulation games and online chat rooms, there is more than meets the eye.
How often do you see Monopoly come out with a new version of the same game that has been on the shelves since 1935? Throughout the years, Monopoly has recreated the game countless times. Popular TV shows such as Stranger Things and fan favourites like Pokemon have even collaborated with the game. This is a prime example of another version of the metaverse – combining different popular universes in the form of merchandise to gain more traction as brands become popular.
Of course, fans love to see their favourite entertainment sources collaborating with games and delving deeper into storylines on the television, but how much is too much? Many will wonder how many times a character can travel through the infinite timelines of a Marvel franchise. Every title of a Marvel movie can connect to every other title in the series, regardless of how different and unique each franchise is.
Any character from one movie can show up in another, and it doesn’t just stop at films – many have appeared on Marvel TV shows too. We have seen this portrayed perfectly in the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy blockbusters. The plot of the singular movies is rarely affected by the collaborative films but will have soft mentions of the experience to keep everything connected.
Rooster marketing knows a thing or two about strategy
Essentially, the metaverse is always a part of everything else, without anything ever having to end. It is a marketing plot that, if done correctly, can be the groundwork for multi-million-pound industries without really having to create anything too ‘new’. Once you have the desired audience hooked, the marketing strategy is endless and the profits are unmatched.
It is interesting to see how the metaverse will develop throughout the different sectors and industries, but it doesn’t show any signs of stopping soon. What do you think could happen in the future? Are you on board with the metaverse or are you concerned about how it will change the way we work and live?
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