On the brink of Covid lockdown, billions of people had to stay indoors for several weeks. Without social life, most people find themselves amidst inevitable boredom. The covid lockdown showed the need for humans to be able to socialize even with meeting physically. Similarly, a rise in remote workers and other apparent factors explains the need for virtual worlds.
Before we get down to it, what exactly is a virtual world?
According to wikipedia.com, a virtual world is a computer-generated environment where users can create personal avatars for exploring the environment and interacting with others. Players simulate their environment to perform nearly all activities in a virtual world. Moreso, a virtual world can bring fantasy (things not physically possible) to virtual reality.
Within a virtual world, users can manipulate the objects around them as they will in a physical world. Thus, you can walk or run, drive a car and speak with other people. Likewise, users can board a plane and even construct buildings. For gamified virtual worlds, the fun is almost endless. Just as a player can commit crimes and get arrested, he can barb his hair or snatch a car.
In the early years of technological advancements, virtual reality mainly was computer-based video games. As the improvement continues to broaden, video games become more immersive. Today, in video games like Grand Theft Auto, a player typically performs any activity like in the real world. Meanwhile, games only depict a fringe of virtual worlds. Hence, we will be explaining even more intriguing aspects of virtual worlds. Namely, how virtual worlds can impact our everyday lives and whether humans can live virtual lives.
Virtual Worlds and the Metaverse
Metaverse combines two words, “meta and verse,” meaning “beyond and the universe,” respectfully. Hence, the metaverse is a virtual multi-dimensional space where users create and explore endless experiences. Similar to a virtual world, the metaverse is full of activities. Users can perform any action a physical human performs.
Like our everyday world, virtual worlds and the metaverse is persistent. The day and night time is busy with avatars going about their businesses. Also, metaverse developers do not program most things that happen there. Instead, players decide what their avatar does, where it goes, and where it lives.
Due to such immersive and independent design, a virtual world is a place to simulate social life. Remote workers can utilize their creativity in the metaverse when work gets boring. Meanwhile, virtual worlds promise to deliver even more features in the future.
Significance of the blockchain technology
Worldwide, we all have the right to possess any item we purchase. On the contrary, traditional virtual reality games do not allow players to own any item they purchase. Consequently, we cannot consider such games a virtual representation of our world.
For virtual worlds to deliver a version of our world online, avatars should be able to own properties. Blockchain technology allows a wallet to hold digital assets without the risk of duplication. Hence, blockchain and cryptocurrencies provide the perfect solutions to the ownership of virtual properties. Also, tokenized assets are essential to the metaverse since they promote decentralization.
Another vital innovation to virtual worlds is non-fungible tokens (NFTs). A non-fungible token is a piece of digital art belonging to a blockchain-based wallet. NFTs can range from pictures to paintings, music, a piece of land, cars, documents, etc.
Majorly gamified metaverse platforms use blockchain and NFTs to tokenize their space. They can create pieces of land with limited supply and sell them as NFTs. Buyers can then build any form of structure depending on their taste. Afterward, a player might sell the real estate for a higher price or rent it to other players. Thus, virtual worlds can create in-game economies just like the real world.
Are institutions interested in the metaverse?
Any form of technology requires investment from top organizations that can fund new projects and research. The same is true of virtual worlds. Before everyone can come to settle for such technology, there has to be institutional interest. Lately, there has been so much interest in the metaverse, even from the fortune 500s.
One of these organizations is Facebook, which rebranded to Meta on October 29, 2021. Facebook is looking to transition into the metaverse with plans to invest up to $10 billion in the industry. The first of their metaverse exploit is Horizon Worlds. Horizon Worlds is a virtual world of avatars where players can build structures and explore and solve interactive puzzles.
Shortly after Facebook’s public interest in the metaverse, several brands began launching metaverse products. Meanwhile, most companies integrate with existing decentralized metaverses, Decentraland, and The Sandbox. The two metaverse platforms have seen tremendous institutional investment within the past year.
For instance, in 2021, Coca-Cola hosted its Friendship Day party in Decentraland. Attending avatars could participate in the Coca-Cola Friendship NFT auction and win wearables. Similarly, Adidas now owns a piece of land in The Sandbox and an NFT collection–Originals: Into the Metaverse. Moreover, Samsung opened a metaverse version of its 837-flagship store in Decentraland. Furthermore, Atari plans to build a gaming casino within Decentraland’s Vegas City. In the meantime, the firm is putting its Decentraland’s real estate on lease for two years.
Will the world go virtual?
Nowadays, we all spend countless hours online every day. Of course, most of our browsing hours are not just for chatting and scrolling the internet. Numerous remote workers need internet access to complete their jobs. Therefore, there is a pressing need for metaverse platforms that simulates our everyday world.
Metaverse building studios are working on virtual worlds that might connect us to the real world. A virtual world where you purchase groceries in a metaverse supermarket and receive the same items at your physical doorstep. Or virtual musical concerts that feel just like real ones.
“The Metaverse” sounds like a collective name for one entity. On the contrary, multiple studios are building metaverse platforms. Thus, some people might wonder if the metaverse will be an interconnection of all the virtual worlds we have now. We can only wait and see what the future will be like in virtual worlds.