understanding the metaverse

20th January 2023

Whilst the idea of a shared cyberspace has been around for almost three decades, it is only now in 2022 that the Metaverse is transitioning from science fiction to reality. But what exactly is a Metaverse? It’s important to note that the Metaverse is a concept rather than a product. Facebook’s ‘Meta’ rebrand and push into the Metaverse is only the tip of the iceberg so bear in mind they’re separate entities as you read on!

Wondering how will it affect the world around us? Discover how the future of interaction is likely closer than you realise.

into the metaverse

The Metaverse is an online network of independent virtual worlds where users can socialise, work or shop. Whilst Meta’s Horizon Worlds (the Facebook one) captured the eye of the media worldwide, the execution of the Metaverse concept alone isn’t dependent on Virtual Reality headsets and uncanny avatars. Video games such as Fortnite allow you to socialise & meet up with friends and is a prime example of an accessible metaverse that you can visit right now!

Fortnite’s ecosystem has evolved far beyond its famous PvP Battle Royale mode into a shared social experience. Creative spaces allow users to meet up, chat and take part in activities together. Exclusive content such as live performances featuring global popstars to early screenings of movie trailers gives fans a daily reason to return to the platform.

Other popular choices include Meta (Facebook’s) Horizons, VR Chat, and Decentraland. The nature of the Metaverse doesn’t simply revolve around building digital worlds but coincides with upgrading our own through the lenses of augmented reality.

the impact will be real

The evolving nature of the Metaverse seeks to not just replace the real world, but supplement and support it through technology such as Augmented & Virtual reality. Engineers are now able to stress test components in a variety of weather conditions without incurring the significant costs associated with real-world research & development.

Other applications include offering students an accessible way to study, or on-demand training for workers. German car manufacturer BMW utilises the Metaverse to design and prototype new products at a fraction of the cost of practical development.

The metaverse may be virtual, but the impact will be real. Meta’s recent marketing campaign exclusively focuses on the real-world benefits that the Metaverse will bring. From attending a virtual lecture to practising complex surgical procedures and even revisiting bygone eras. Check out their full video here: youtube.com/watch?v=80IIEnSNwQc. The possibilities of the Metaverse are substantial!

non-fungible tokens

If you’ve read the news lately, you’ve likely seen time again the phrase ’NFT’ being thrown around. The ‘bored ape’ adopted by celebrities across the world saw big names shelling out thousands of pounds to own their very own NFT.

There are plenty of buzzwords surrounding this topic so let’s run through a couple before we dive in:

Blockchain – A ledger of transactions operating on a peer-to-peer network. Data is stored in blocks. Once a block is full? A new one is created in which each block is chained together in chronological order. Think of this as your receipt!

Non-fungible token – a unique digital identifier that cannot be altered. Used to prove ownership or authenticity of a product. This is your purchase information.

NFTs typically appear in the form of unique, digital artwork that users can buy. So, why purchase an NFT for thousands when you could simply save the image for free?

Technically you can. Comparisons have been made between owning an original piece of art to a reproduction. You (and everyone else) will be able to see who the original owner is. What you’re essentially getting with your purchase is a certificate of authenticity. However, anyone can screenshot your NFT and distribute a perfect copy on the internet. This provides the question if anyone can reproduce a perfect replica of your property, what is it worth (if anything)?

Now we know what an NFT is, how exactly does this tie in to your metaverse escapades?

virtual goods in the digital age

American shoe manufacturer Nike has recently made large strides into cyberspace. In 2021 the company made an appearance in the popular online metaverse, Roblox. Following in the footsteps of similar global corporations such as Ralph Lauren and even the NFL. Nike debuted Nikeland as an area for users to engage in mini-games whilst sporting popular shoes such as the Air Max trainers. LeBron James even made a digital appearance to coach users on their basketball skills whilst they earnt digital goods!

Nikeland marked the tip of the iceberg for the company’s foray into NFTs in the metaverse, having recently launched .Swoosh (pronounced dot swoosh) to serve as their independent NFT marketplace. Nike stated that users will be able to “collect, trade, and flex Nike virtual products. You can go to IRL events with your token-gated virtual creations.”

Rolling out their first digital drop in January 2023, you’ll soon be able to purchase Nike NFTs to kit out your custom metaverse avatar across multiple platforms.

Whilst there are often physical benefits tagged alongside, such as special entry to exclusive events, consumers might very well soon be spending real money on completely intangible objects.

What are your thoughts on the emerging meta-space? If you’re looking to jump into cyberspace soon rather than later, choose toob’s full-fibre broadband to stay connected with 900 Mbps download & upload speeds for just £25 a month.

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