Decoding the metaverse: Key questions answered

March 9, 2022

The metaverse is a decentralized network of immersive 3D platforms that provide the possibility of living another life, entirely online. Instead of the internet, which allows users to access computers, the metaverse places users directly in them. This allows users to “live” essentially any experience through avatars, or virtual representations of people. Like the internet, the metaverse does not consist only of a single service or company. Rather, the term describes the totality of experiences and services in virtual or augmented reality. 


Why would people want the metaverse to exist?

The metaverse has a multitude of uses. Microsoft invested heavily in the gaming industry, most recently through its $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard. The metaverse will revolutionize video games as they become more immersive, realistic and fun to play. The company is focusing on making working from home a more viable option for everyone. Microsoft’s vision for the metaverse includes office spaces, schools and productivity-related software, all in virtual reality. Bill Gates even claimed that most business meetings would occur through the metaverse in two to three years. The metaverse could also be a gateway for people to gain new, previously inaccessible experiences like traveling the world, attending digital festivals, socializing with new people, reliving historical events among other interesting applications. The latter is what Meta (formerly Facebook) is focused on developing. Another reason some people are rooting for the metaverse is the opportunity for money to be made with virtual land sales for millions of dollars, cryptocurrency investment, stocks for metaverse companies and more.


Why do companies want the metaverse to exist?

Because the metaverse is completely immersive, companies involved in its development will be able to harvest data on every aspect of your life, from business to entertainment. This also includes data on your physical movements as virtual reality headsets will come with hand (and eventually foot) trackers to register real-world movements. This data can be useful for companies and governments, primarily hyper-targeted marketing. The all-encompassing access that companies and governments will have into personal lives triggers privacy and security concerns in some experts and consumers.


Does the metaverse exist today?

Not exactly. Although softwares like Zoom may seem like an example of the metaverse, that’s not quite it. By definition, the metaverse must be immersive and 3D. Gaming is where the metaverse is most developed. Major companies have been pouring money into developing VR gaming as consumer graphics chips become more powerful and VR technology improves. Games like Roblox already have VR modes, social opportunity and robust in-game economies. At the same time, companies like Decentraland are offering their early versions of the metaverse, albeit quite rudimentary and often pointless. The hope for metaverse enthusiasts is for each of these pieces — communication, gaming, work, money-making — to develop sufficiently in VR to fit together and create a network.


Who owns the metaverse?

By definition, no one company can own the metaverse just like no one can own the internet. Massive companies like Google control large swaths of total traffic, and the same may become true for the metaverse. These companies may use their control and money to exercise great influence over the metaverse.


Is the metaverse inevitable?

The metaverse is in its early stages of development, meaning that there’s still a lot of uncertainty. Questions over privacy, security, feasibility, climate change and consumer demand means that widespread use of the metaverse is far from reality. Still, technology companies are pouring billions of dollars into overcoming these challenges, making it a serious possibility.


Where did the metaverse come from?

Scan the QR code below with your phone camera to see a timeline of the metaverse in augmented reality. AR creation by Amon Gray.


What technologies power the metaverse?

Graphical processing unit: A computer chip that renders graphics for display on an electronic device. GPUs act as a sort of engine to present graphical content on computer or VR screens. All metaverses will rely on GPUs.


Blockchain: The blockchain provides a decentralized solution to verifying ownership of digital assets. The metaverse will require use of the blockchain for all transactions.


Cryptocurrency: A digital currency that is not backed by a centralized authority, such as a government or central bank. Cryptocurrencies will become essential to buy basic digital goods and services in the metaverse.


Artificial intelligence: With all the new data that companies will have access to, AI will become more predictive than ever. With data on physical movements, virtual AI people in the metaverse could quickly become indistinguishable from human users.


3D reconstruction: 3D reconstruction technology, developed by companies like Google and Matterport, allows users to scan real-world environments into digital ones. Using this technology, houses, stadiums and even cities will be realistically transformed into virtual space.

Augmented vs. virtual reality: Augmented reality places digital objects into the real world using a lens, like a phone camera. Virtual reality is an immersive experience that transports the user into a digital world. Although AR is considered a part of the metaverse, only VR technology can facilitate the creation of realistic, immersive environments.


Internet of things: The IoT is a network of physical objects that connect to the internet. “Smart” products — speakers, thermostats, TVs, phones — are all examples of the IoT.

Leave a Comment

U-High Midway • Copyright 2024 • FLEX WordPress Theme by SNOLog in

Comments (0)

All U-High Midway Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *