Metaverse: A Sci-Fi Hype or the Next Big Thing?


Do you know recently, a person bought a plot of land for US$450,000? Also, a real estate company bought a piece of land for US$2.43 million. “So, what’s the big deal”—you may think. Well, they spent real money to buy fictitious “land” in a virtual world. Now, it sounds absurd, isn’t it? Investors are pouring millions of dollars to own a piece of digital property in the virtual world. And not just properties, people are also buying other products, building life-like models, taking trips, and attending concerts — all in the virtual world. But why?

Let’s just picture this: you put on a pair of glasses and you’re transported to a beautiful island. You relax and unwind there for a while before you head to your virtual meeting room at 10 a.m. You instantly teleport as a hologram at your virtual office and you’re excited to wrap up work early to catch up with your friends to attend a concert that’s happening thousands of miles away. And you’re doing it all without leaving your home. Hard to believe? Welcome to the world of the metaverse. The idea of the metaverse isn’t new. It has always existed in games and on websites. But the mumblings around this technology suddenly grew into shouts when Mark Zuckerberg announced the rebranding of Facebook to Meta late last year. And it’s the huge hype around the tech that’s propelling investors to spend millions on digital lands on the metaverse. 

So, What Is The Metaverse, Exactly?

About three decades ago in 1992, the American science fiction writer Neal Stephenson coined the term “metaverse” in his novel ‘Snow Crush’. And of course, how can we forget the iconic Matrix movie that depicted the mindboggling concept of the virtual world, right? Still, wondering what does the metaverse really mean? Remember Second Life? Set up by developer Linden Lab in 2003, it was the first mainstream iteration of the Metaverse. It allowed people to create an avatar for themselves and have a second life in an online virtual world. But, it had mixed success at that time. Perhaps, the concept was a bit ahead of its time. However, today, the metaverse is all the rage and everyone, including most of the brands, is boldly embracing this trend.

To put it simply, Metaverse is basically a virtual world environment where people can socialize, work, play, buy properties, and do even more. It allows you to enter this parallel world using a virtual identity or your digital avatar. And you get a chance to roam, interact with things and use your voice to communicate with other people in your “vicinity”— the possibilities are endless. So, how does it work? Well, Metaverse works by combining several technologies like AI, VR, AR, Machine Learning, and Blockchain Technology.

Brands Hopping into the Bandwagon

So, is Facebook the only brand embracing Metaverse? Well, not really! Several brands are also staking a claim in the metaverse. The apparel giant, Nike is now teaming up with Roblox to create a virtual world called Nikeland, where users can dress up their digital avatars using the company’s products. And if digital outfits sound alien, consider Microsoft’s vision to transform workplace experiences along that vein. The company aims to roll out an immersive space within Microsoft Teams that will enable you to interact with the avatars of your colleague in a 3D environment. Joining these brands in the race, the multinational entertainment giant, Disney is also placing its bets on metaverse. The entertainment company was recently approved for a patent for a “virtual-world simulator which converts one of the company’s theme parks into a 3D realm. The technology would facilitate headset-free, highly immersive individualized 3D virtual experiences to the user. With heavy investment and interest from leaders worldwide, Metaverse could be the future of the internet.

Where It Could Be Going?

Today, the gamers, users, investors, tech giants— everyone has a reason to be excited about this digital world and its endless possibilities. So, it’ll be interesting to see how this plays out in the coming years. Though metaverse is still in its infant stage and it’s hard to predict where it will lead, one thing is certain—the Metaverse is here to stay. And this new “meta” era will unleash incredible creativity and open up new frontiers for brands and businesses. So, are you ready for it?