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The metaverse is rapidly being portrayed as the next frontier in the tech, business, and finance world. The concept gained popularity in July 2021, after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg rebranded the company to Meta to reflect its growing focus on the metaverse. Today, everyone, from major corporations like Microsoft and Disney to innovative startups, is scrambling to enter the lucrative market that is predicted to reach over $780 billion by 2024. But what exactly is the metaverse? How will it affect the way we live and work?
What is the metaverse?
In simplest terms, the metaverse is a fully immersive virtual world that parallels our real life. However, a metaverse is not a specific type of technology. Instead, a functioning metaverse requires a combination of cutting-edge technologies like augmented reality, virtual reality, 3D holographic avatars, and artificial intelligence.
The metaverse is not new
Zuckerberg may have drawn the world's attention to the metaverse, but the idea of a virtual world is not new. The gaming industry has been building the fundamental elements of the metaverse for many years. For instance. Fortnite: Battle Royal, where 100 players battle it out on a small island until only one survivor is left, is a prime example of a virtual universe.
The use of holograms is credited to the music industry. Hatsune Miku, one of Japan's most beloved pop stars, is a hologram with 100,000 hit songs to her credit. The "singer," created by Crypton Future Media, uses Yamaha's Vocaloid2 synthesizer and voice samples from Japanese actress Saki Fujita.
Will the metaverse change the way we live?
Fans believe that the metaverse will enable people to conduct their daily lives in an online world. They envision using the virtual platform to attend meetings, conferences, concerts, and even tour the world with friends.
However, experts believe the technologies need to improve drastically before that happens. The still clunky virtual reality headsets often cause motion sickness and are not ready for prolonged use. The amount of computing power required to house billions of people worldwide in a parallel universe also presents an issue.
The various Metaverse companies will also have different virtual worlds. They will have to standardize the technology so users can move seamlessly between them. Most importantly, the virtual experience has to be compelling and affordable for consumers.
Resources: Forbes.com, Wired.com, Polygon.com