To be able to follow us in today’s journey into the future, you probably need to spare a few minutes to read our “Metaverse explained” blog post. The piece does not only explain the term itself but goes back in time to identify its origin. Metaverse has been around for three decades, initially coined by Neal Stephenson in his cyberpunk novel Snow Crash.
To prepare for our next Poolside with Polkastarter podcast with Adam De Cata, Head of Partnerships at Decentraland, we’re venturing into the unknown, exploring the future of metaverse and the different ways it can affect business, technology, and ultimately, life. Shall we?
The metaverse explained…even more
Yes, we have spent time, effort, and digital ink to explain the metaverse, but doing it even more never hurt anyone, right? What’s important to understand is that the metaverse is not a single platform, technology, network, or device. The metaverse is an amalgamation of many such components that create an immersive, three-dimensional world in which users interact with each other and their surroundings.
Here’s a list of the elements that make up the metaverse:
- Virtual, AR/VR, and mixed reality devices
- Computing power in the form of cloud
- 5G / 6G network
- Artificial intelligence and machine learning
- 3D modeling
- Blockchain technology
- Internet of things
The metaverse is the culmination of the evolution of these technologies, which begs the following question: why is a thirty-year-old idea suddenly making headlines? The answer is more straightforward than you’d think. The technologies have reached a point where the idea can become a reality. Need further proof? Microsoft recently made a $69 billion down payment on the metaverse, while Facebook is reportedly spending at least $10 billion this year on its metaverse division.
Some of the most prominent technology players are employing the resources and the R&D to make the future of the metaverse a reality. How does the future look, let’s hypothesize.
The future of metaverse: what can we expect?
Elon University and Pew Research invited thousands of experts to share their insights about the likely near future of extended reality and “the metaverse.” Here’s the full report. When asked to choose between the following statements:
- By 2040 the metaverse WILL be a much-more-refined and truly fully-immersive, well-functioning aspect of daily life for a half billion or more people globally.
- By 2040 the metaverse WILL NOT be a much-more-refined and truly fully-immersive, well-functioning aspect of daily life for a half billion or more people globally.
The results were as follows:
- 54% said by 2040, the metaverse WILL be a much-more-refined and fully-immersive, well-functioning aspect of daily life for a half billion or more people globally.
- 46% said that by 2040, the metaverse WILL NOT be a much-more-refined and fully-immersive, well-functioning aspect of daily life for a half billion or more people globally.
We can infer from the findings that today’s experts are divided as to what the future looks like for the metaverse, which is why we will try to make our guestimations.
Scenario #1: The metaverse evolves to a more refined version of what it already is
What many people don’t realize is that the metaverse is already being utilized, even if that is in a beta stage. Use cases like Web3 gaming, social media, boutique shopping, and virtual collaborations are already being explored.
The future we foresee in this scenario is one where these use cases evolve but never really reach the grandeur we now envision. Some verticals will evolve more than others, but the ecosystem will be fragmented. Gaming and e-commerce will see great utility, allowing users to buy and sell avatars, skins, vehicles, land, art, and music, whereas other areas might struggle to create value for their audience. The user interface works well for specific uses but will be challenging to integrate into daily life.
Scenario #2: Metaverse becomes a dynamic marketplace of a few major players
In this scenario, the metaverse evolves to become a parallel reality to the one we live in today with Web2 — a situation where a few dominant players run the show. The lack of interoperability will push the users to commit to a “home” platform in a highly concentrated market. Platforms will vie for attention and market share and self-govern their ecosystem. This might now seem like an exciting scenario, but it’s probable, considering how today’s conglomerates are approaching this topic.
Scenario #3: The metaverse blossoms in all its glory
This scenario sees the metaverse reach its full potential and materialize into something that will change our lives forever. This is a future where the metaverse is an open, interoperable, and dominant interface through which we conduct most of our daily activities.
The most significant achievement will be seamlessly switching between the physical and digital world without compromising digital ownership, privacy and security. Additionally, there won’t be a single provider, with users having the freedom to choose from different choices.
Let’s use an example of a real-life metaverse example.
Virtual real estate
Decentraland is a 3D virtual world that runs on Ethereum where users can buy and sell digital real estate while exploring, interacting, and playing games within this virtual world. Just how successful is this endeavor? Last year, a virtual real estate plot on the platform was auctioned off for $2.4 million.
Decentraland is, without a doubt, one of the best examples to perceive the true potential of the metaverse. While most of the fuss around Decentraland is about real estate, the possibilities are endless. Users in the Decentraland metaverse can create artifacts, take part in challenges, explore new experiences, participate in different events and win prizes.
Talking of Decentraland, let’s segway to the upcoming event where we go even deeper into the future of the metaverse.
This week’s Poolside with Polkastarter podcast will see us sit down with Adam De Cata from Decentraland to talk about all things Metaverse!
🎧 Make sure you tune in:
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