Meta (Facebook) is only one of the metaverse companies betting big on this idea. Stay tuned to know about the others and the way ahead.
Metaverse is the perceived future of the internet. A future beyond the screens, into the digital realm of avatars, games, learning, commerce, and practically everything that we do in our real lives.
What is Metaverse?
In its present form, the metaverse is a virtual world that you can enter into with the help of extended reality gadgets.
Built to cut distances, the primary aim is to collaborate without physical boundaries.
Think of a super-advanced version of a video conference where you’re in there in the form of an avatar, able to talk to other avatars, make gestures, walk, or sit around a round table.
That would be a metaverse.
And it’s not a new idea if you knew of the game Secondlife, launched in 2003. It’s a virtual world to live with your digital self. A similar game is The Sims.
But the metaverse is way more advanced and lively than just a game. It’s so big that Facebook renamed itself, Meta.
And not just this, it has already invested billions of dollars in a bid to capture the lion’s share in the metaverse. So, we’ll start with Meta and its Metaverse projects.
Horizon Workrooms is to undo remote work culture–digitally. Take a look:
While still in beta, you and your team can use this via the VR headset: Oculus Quest 2.
Only the first person needs to create a VR room with the Quest 2 while the rest can join with their computers. However, a Quest 2 headset is required for an immersive virtual experience.
In a nutshell, Workrooms is your alternative to a physical coworking space. One more Meta project is…
Horizon Worlds is way more than just remote working. It’s about everything we do in our daily lives and this:
Horizon Worlds is more complete than Workrooms. At first, it feels that Meta is trying to make it a substitute (virtual) reality. However, things may not be as fancy as the video shows, but it’s headed there anyway.
Notably, these Metaverse projects–Workrooms & Worlds–need Oculus VR headsets. This can be a major downside because, ultimately, it can be an effort to wear those bulky headsets for longer durations without any side effects like cybersickness.
That’s exactly where Microsoft is ahead in the race. It is one of the metaverse companies with a vision to bring people together even without a VR headset.
Microsoft Mesh is a multi-platform collaboration utility invented to shrink physical distances.
You can experience the best of Mesh with a HoloLens device.
However, it can also be accessed with some limitations on smartphones, PCs & Tablets via Mesh-enabled apps.
Mesh for Microsoft Teams
Microsoft has recently launched one such integration in Mesh for Teams to answer Meta’s Horizon Workrooms.
These are virtual spaces for effective remote working. One more hidden objective is to reduce video fatigue during remote meetings.
So you can activate your avatar instead of sitting upright facing the webcam. And it won’t be a dull animated character sitting there; Microsoft has plans to replicate your hand moments and facial expressions in future updates.
Depending on the device at hand, the interactions will be life-like. For instance, a HoloLens is a perfect device to experience virtual worlds at their most compared to a smartphone with fewer sensors and cameras.
Afterward, the plan is to get into immersive 3D spaces.
For instance, this is named Nth Floor–a 3D digital landscape for Accenture employees:
So your multi-national company can design a virtual campus for the cross-country professionals to work together. This will all happen inside Microsoft Teams.
Currently, this is in beta. However, you can grab HoloLens devices and a few colleagues to get a taste of limited-experience Mesh for Teams.
837 is Samsung’s New York City experience center. Indeed, not everyone can go and pay a visit physically. However, you definitely can try Samsung 837x: a metaverse model of the original 837.
It’s Samsung’s way of showcasing its sustainability, customization, and connectivity initiatives.
You can play as a guest for a casual hang-out. Or connect your crypto wallet to collect badges and NFT wearables for your avatar.
This is hosted at Decentraland, a 3D web browser-based digital world. You can buy/sell land plots, trade, and do much more in this virtual world opened to the general public in February 2020.
There are plenty of business meetings, art exhibitions, and even some speculations about metaverse dating on it. There is also a public event calendar to plan for your metaverse adventures. You can join the mentioned events or submit yours.
One artist has set up an NFT shop, so you could contact him on Instagram to buy those tokens.
One can make purchases inside the Decentraland with MANA, a metaverse cryptocurrency. These digital currencies let you buy metaverse-only things. And the ownership of which is maintained via non-fungible tokens.
Other Metaverse Companies
Though that covers the primary metaverse projects, there are many others.
For instance, soon, you could be ordering from McDonald’s metaverse restaurant to get it delivered at your real-world address.
Similarly, auto major Hyundai has partnered with Unity to set up a Metaverse-Factory. This will help the managers solve production problems without actually visiting the facility each time. In addition, this meta-factory is for virtual experience for the Hyundai customers.
While there are a ton more, they are still very beta-level, with Meta (Facebook) and Microsoft clearly leading the race.
There will be many more metaverse companies cementing their virtual presence in the coming years.
We will meet up, purchase, enjoy, and work in the metaverse. I guess that’s a vast portion of what we call life.
But don’t think too far; we have made a list of metaverses to join right now to give you a peek inside the future.