October 2, 2023

The Metaverse has become a known language recently as it has gained popularity amongst tech giants such Facebook, Microsoft and others you can think of. When you first come across the word ‘Metaverse’, it might become a strange word to you but its interpretation is very simple and understandable.

 The Chief Executive Officer of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg announced earlier last year that the future of the social media application including Instagram and WhatsApp would be in the metaverse. After his announcement, many has been on the lookout for the metaverse freeze and after Facebook rebranded to Meta in October 2021, the metaverse cold caught a lot of tech giants such Microsoft, Nvidia and many others as suddenly every company wanted to be part of the metaverse family.

However, some questions have to be asked. What is metaverse in the first place? Why do we need to worry about the metaverse and if it is the next big thing in our world of internet, is it important for us to know the nitty-gritties about it so we are not caught up unawares? 

What is the metaverse?

Breaking down the meaning of metaverse has to do with understanding what the two words meta and verse stands for. Meta means “after” or “beyond” and the verse was taken out of “Universe”. And so putting the two words ‘metaverse’ together means after or beyond the universe.

This means that it is an embodied space or sphere where possibilities are endless. And it explains a social space where people will be able to meet with the help of a character or personalized avatars that makes one feel his or her presence at a given meeting. For instance, at your workplace, there is a notice of an upcoming virtual meeting which means that your physical presence is not needed at the meeting but through the internet, there will be a live meeting where the presence of everyone will be needed.

In such cases, you are at home and preparing for the meeting. In the meeting also, although you are physically not present, you’ll meet with them in real time. It makes it feel like something more real than today’s social media buzz.

This will be a real life cycle we will be living and when you visit a metaverse environment, you won’t be new to it. Just like real life, it will entail all kinds of things you wish to do with other people, such as going to concerts and theaters, playing games, hanging out and working. I don’t think there’ll be a dull moment on the metaverse. However, the metaverse does not exist yet but what we do have are some fractions of the full metaverse which will be launched in a couple of months. Let’s look at some of the metaverse fractions:

Virtual and augmented reality: 

Virtual and augmented reality is when you are at a different location but your personalized avatar brings you closer to other people for the purpose of a meeting, watching movies together, transacting business, hanging out or playing games. Virtual reality is the recreation of a real life environment. It is realized when people wear modern headsets such as Facebook’s Oculus, 9D virtual reality egg VR stimulator or the 720-degree flight simulator and many other equipment with the technology embedded in them.

Meanwhile, augmented reality is the blend of virtual reality and real life, because app developers put together images that are fused with contents in the real world. But with AR, people are able to interact with virtual contents in the real world while the virtual reality, the real world, is a fabricated one.

Why has metaverse gained popularity across the globe

Metaverse has really gained popularity especially among investors and tech companies and this is all due to the fact that COVID-19 has shown the way things could easily be done on the internet when it becomes a reality. 

This was evident when during the pandemic people could sit in their homes and work as freely as they wanted. Students were having lectures through the zoom and other software applications as well people transact business on the internet. The internet became the space where every activity was conducted. For this reason interest in the metaverse grew rapidly as tech giants saw the vision in metaverse making things even simpler and easy. 

In furtherance, advances in virtual reality applications such as games and other mind boggling software makes it understandable that the metaverse technology is the next phase of the world hence its name. I believe no one wants to be left out if it turns out to be the internet’s next future. 

Who are the investors

A number of people and tech giants have expressed great interest in and have even moved a step further to and have made investments in the field to research more about it. Meta in 2021 spent $10 billion on the technology alone. This includes the virtual reality hardware, social virtual reality apps and augmented reality. 

Also, the roblox’s proto-metaverse world made revenue of $454 million in the second quarter of 2021 and this tells you a lot more companies are making advances in the metaverse space. That’s not all Amazon, Microsoft, Robinhood and a few more companies have invested money in metaverse development and with Microsoft, it has indicated that it is exploring the technology to its fullest. This explains why firms with interest in virtual reality products run on social networking platforms have made it a priority in merging the virtual and augmented realities as a whole for a smooth experience.

Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook has in recent times expressed interest in metaverse especially after Oculus joined the number of firms he owns. Oculus is a virtual reality technology company. This has made him to rebrand Facebook into meta. The company said it would reach its full potential as it broadens its reach beyond social media into areas like virtual reality. 

The change will affect other social media applications Mark owns such as WhatsApp and Instagram. He said in an interview that “Today we are seen as a social media company, but in our DNA we are a company that builds technology to connect people, and the meta is the next phase just like social networking was when we got started”. 

In August 2021, Mark demonstrated on a CBS show how people can use the Oculus headset to have live meetings with personalized avatars created. He is seeking to change the phase of communication between humans with the metaverse and by the use of sophisticated technologies. This has made him the leading investor in the metaverse as he has spent billions of dollars in the creation of the most sought technology about to change the phase of digital communication.

What’s next?

The coming into being of the metaverse means great human interaction where information can be shared with the feeling of other people’s presence at a given point in time. At that point in time all one needs is a pair of digital glasses to zoom in a world where they can transact business, play games, date, watch movies and a whole lot more with less moving about. Although, there might be the negatives about this new technology which is yet to be brought to our full glare for discussion, the advantages of the metaverse seems to outweigh other factors.