The metaverse is one of the ‘trendy’ catches in today’s tech-savvy internet spaces, a concept that some believe will shape the future of virtual interactions. Though still in its early days, the metaverse is fast gaining popularity, especially within the gaming community. According to a recent report by JP Morgan, this nascent ecosystem will likely burgeon into a $1 trillion market in the coming years.
So, what is behind the rise of the metaverse? For starters, the upcoming virtual worlds are built on the latest technologies, namely blockchain, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). These technologies feature advanced functionalities, enabling gamers to experience alternate realities and new gameplays such as the play-to-earn (p2e) model. The latter has been instrumental in the growth of the metaverse.
A New Era is Here
As far as gaming technology goes, there have been constant evolutions since the first arcade video games were launched in the early 1970s. Today, people game at the comfort of their homes, with the latest stats showing there are over 2.6 billion mobile gamers. That said, the most notable advancements have been in the gameplay, from simple arcade-style games to online multiplayer gaming environments.
With the invention of the metaverse, things have gotten more interesting. These virtual worlds have introduced a new gaming infrastructure where players can exist inside ‘computer systems’ through personalized avatars. Simply put, the metaverse is a futuristic iteration that allows people to exist within a virtual world. First mentioned in Neal Stephenson’s 1992 science fiction novel ‘Snow Crash’, the author explained the concept of living in the metaverse as,
“The people are pieces of software called avatars. They are the audiovisual bodies that people use to communicate with each other in the Metaverse. Your avatar can look any way you want it to, up to the limitations of your equipment.”
Three decades down the line, we have practical metaverse worlds such as REALM; this open source and community-driven ecosystem allows internet natives to create unique and customisable virtual worlds through NFT tech and augmented reality (AR). More importantly, REALM recently partnered with BlockchainSpace (the guild hub of the metaverse) to bridge the resource gap between NFT gaming guilds and interested players.
Besides the gaming community, the metaverse is also capturing the attention of traditional financial institutions. JP Morgan, one of the leading U.S banks, is among the corporations that have launched a metaverse world. The bank set up a virtual office in Metajuku Mall, which is hosted on the Decentraland world. Meanwhile, Hollywood celebrity Paris Hilton has also introduced her own metaverse ‘Paris World’ to give fans a tour of her experiences,
“For me, the metaverse is somewhere that you can do everything you can do in real life in the digital world. Not everybody gets to experience that, so that’s what we’ve been working together on over the past year — giving them all my inspirations of what I want in that world.” noted Hilton during the debut of Paris World.
With the gaming industry set to grow bigger, it is highly likely that millennials and Gen Z will opt for the most futuristic ecosystems. Therefore, traditional game publishers ought to be preparing for the paradigm shift from Web 2.0 gaming to Web 3.0, also known as the decentralized web. To this end, leading publishers such as Ubisoft are already making moves; the firm has partnered with The Sandbox to integrate Rabbids into the metaverse.
“We’re excited to bring the Rabbids to The Sandbox community and to empower players to create their own original experiences incorporating elements of our gaming IP. We can’t wait to see how they make the Rabbids’ world their own.” commented Ubisoft’s Senior Manager of New Business and Partnerships, Guillaume Mammi.
Given such developments, it is becoming more clear by the day where the tides will roll. One thing is almost certain; gaming developers and players will eventually adopt metaverse worlds in the next era of innovations. However, it may take some time before we see global adoption, given that most of the developments are still in the infancy stages.
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