There is a lot of hype going around about the Metaverse, but there aren’t a lot of people that have been able to explain it to the extent that allows the general public to embrace this new era we are moving into. Let’s start with a little bit of backstory. Author, Neal Stephenson has been credited with being the first person to speak of the word ‘Metaverse’ in his 1992 science fiction novel, “Snow Crash”. It presented lifelike avatars in a realistic 3D world. Their actions were never face-to-face but over a multi-reality universe.
Since then, a lot has changed. This incredible new reality started coming to life and it has had some major milestones in the last ten or so years. The first, more well-known correlation between the real world and an alternate reality (in the form of video games) was when Fortnite, Minecraft and Roblox decided to take the forefront on the possibilities by embracing this Metaverse way of living. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta (previously known as Facebook), is one of the most famous advocates for this new “embodiment of the internet”. His main goal is to make this platform more available and accessible for everyone. Now, more simulated 3D environments that augment reality have been created, like virtual reality concerts that show 3D holographic avatars or fashion showrooms for reputable brands, where you can virtually interact with any piece of clothing – perfect for those who want to stay at home but don’t want to miss out!
Overall, the Metaverse is a combination of a variety of technological elements. This is essentially where people are ‘living’ in a virtual world, where it feels like you are sitting in the same room as other people but…you’re not. Business meetings are being conducted with participants all over the world, but none of them are in the same room. It means an even more flexible workplace for employees who want to work remotely and easier interaction with people around the world! But isn’t this just like zoom calls? No, because there is a 3D reality that comes with it. As you move, your avatar moves with you. It is giving a real-life feel to a way of life that we are all ready to move into (or at least getting ready!). Brands like Apple and Google are already working on special goggles to make this experience enjoyable (and hopefully, fashionable) for us.
The metaverse is going to influence nearly every type of consumer technology including social media, gaming and fashion and recent events, such as the coronavirus pandemic, have exploded this change. People were unable to leave their homes but technology allowed people to continue to have a connection to others which created a new sense of normality. “Right now, we are on the cusp of the next internet,” said Matthew Ball, who is the managing partner of Epyllion Industries, a venture capital firm, and it seems that the Metaverse will be the spearhead of this change.
The question we all want to ask: are we all going to be using Metaverse soon?
Truth be told, it’s not likely – it has been said that this movement may take between 5-10 years to be ready to implement into people’s day-to-day lives, but some aspects of this new world and the new way of the internet is already here with us, in the form of ultra-fast broadband and VR devices for video games.
It is also likely that we will be seeing more uses of the Metaverse by brands in their marketing efforts as they embrace this new technology alongside the early adopters.
An interesting example would be how Pokémon celebrated their 25th anniversary with Selfridges, designer Charli Cohen and Yahoo RYOT Lab. Together they created a virtual city, inspired by the fashion capitals of the world, where you could shop for limited edition products (virtual and physical!). Visitors could freely roam the digital space by using their custom 3D avatars. These characters were able to try on different clothing, and then be viewed through a special body-tracking lens or shared on social media and other virtual environments. In addition, Selfridges held an in-store promotional launch. Customers had the benefit of registering for digital wallets, which enabled them to enter physical easter egg hunts and win physical prizes (even Charli Cohen digital collectables). This is an interesting preview into how our reality might change in about 5 or 10 years.
Whether we’re ready or not, the future of technology is coming and all we can do is prepare for it. So, are YOU ready for the Metaverse?