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June 17, 2024
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The Metaverse: A Few Questions Answered

Metaverse. This is what we have heard recently: Metaverse. It started when Mark Zuckerberg announced the rebranding of Facebook into Meta. Of course, from `the metaverse”.

But what is this Metaverse, and how have we all got here?

What is The Metaverse?

Metaverse is not something invented by Facebook, Google, or any other company. Metaverse is a name coined by the sci-fi author Neil Stephenson when he wrote his cyberpunk novel “Snow crash” in 1992. At that time, he presented this world where people could interact through their avatars or interact with other intelligent beings.

It’s exactly what Facebook, sorry, Meta wants to accomplish. A 3D virtual reality where people could interact with each other. So, instead of chatting on a platform and seeing each other’s pictures or videos, we’ll be able to immerse ourselves in a virtual world. We’ll be able to get from 2D to 3D.

Facebook reveals plan for building Metaverse

Sounds interesting, right? But is Facebook the only company in the race for Metaverse? Let’s talk about all the tech giants and see their progress from this perspective.

Is Facebook the only company to build the Metaverse?

What companies are racing for building The Metaverse? What have Facebook, Google and Microsoft achieved so far?

Apart from Facebook, a company that hurried up with the announcement, at the moment, there are many companies to race for building this 3D reality.

Google was the first tech giant to introduce something close to this augmented reality: the Google glasses technology.

Google glass project
Google glasses

Google glasses are a technology perfectly integrated into what we might call a metaverse. You are able to put them on and see the world through augmented reality. You could interact with the physical environment while walking on the street, but at the same time, you could video record, take pictures, reply to comments and search on Google for anything, just like browsing any page.

It was a technology introduced too early for that age and time, but now that technology could be brought to life once again. As we speak, Google has the technology to be integrated into a metaverse, such as Google Maps or the Glasses, but there is a long way to go until developing the Metaverse itself.

Facebook has just announced its intention of creating the Metaverse. It’s an announcement made by its very founder, Mark Zuckerberg. Some say it’s all about covering the recent scandal involving a whistleblower from his company. Some others say he wanted to prevent the rival companies from announcing this intention first. Either way, Facebook doesn’t possess or doesn’t show any sign of having such technology yet, and specialists think it could take five to more years until the coders from Facebook will be able to launch the Metaverse.

Microsoft is another tech giant in this race. Microsoft has started to integrate elements of virtual reality into its products. ‘Teams’ has just introduced this feature, and now you can have your avatar while on Teams.

But Metaverse is much more than just augmented reality.

When is The Metaverse going to be launched?

At the moment, there is no available public version of the Metaverse. There could be parts of Metaverse already coded, but no information on the subject has yet reached the mainstream media.

Also, no formal announcement was made, such as for the launching date. Some say it could be done in one year, based on the existing technologies available, some say in 5 to 10 years.

Recently, one of the former CEOs from Google said he doubted that Facebook would succeed in building the Metaverse in the following year. So, it might take a while until the Metaverse is constructed and made available to the users.

Some may not know that, but the Internet as we know it was created as a military application for different units of the American Armed Forces to exchange information securely and to be able to communicate in a modern way. That was the beginning, and it got to the version we all know today with all its good and bad things attached to it.

We now have the IoT – the Internet of Things, where most electronic devices are interconnected.

IoT - the internet of things
The Internet of Things

The intelligent fridge tells you when your vegetables are about to expire or that you ran out of milk while at the same time ordering food from your local store or Amazon. Your TV knows when your favorite show begins and starts recording it if you’re not watching, but at the same time, it could help you browse the Internet and select your favorite products online. Your phone is not just a smartphone, but a very complex device to help you take pictures, receive and answer e-mails, play video games online, browse the Internet, buy things while shopping, and many other features.

But how will all this metaverse technology look like? How will it impact our lives, and what will be its benefits?

How will The Metaverse look like?

Person with VR glasses
Entering The Metaverse

First off, we have to answer one question: will it be a metaverse, The Metaverse, or more metaverses?

If more companies race to create a metaverse, aren’t there more versions of metaverses? But of course, they will. Facebook will create its Metaverse (not the Metaverse), Google and Microsoft will perhaps do the same. All their metaverses will be platforms just like it is at the moment – each giant has its platforms, its own family of products.

After launching different versions of the Metaverse, after a while, the companies will integrate all the versions into a single one and make it possible for the users to navigate from one to the other. Such as the Internet allows you to navigate from Chrome to Explorer without having the feeling of leaving the Internet.

The Metaverse, in our opinion, will be like the 3D of everything that’s now 2D. Let’s take this example: you want to visit Bucharest, a very cosmopolite capital from Eastern Europe, where you can see attractions of the communist past, but also enjoy the free capitalist pleasures of life. What options do you have to get to know more about the city before actually visiting it?

You can browse the Internet, of course. Google “Bucharest attractions.” Or maybe search for a dedicated app to visit Bucharest on Google Play. You can see some nice pictures, descriptions of the attractions, and interesting facts about the city’s history. Maybe you will download the mobile app and listen to the audio guide. But that would be all before arriving in Bucharest.

Let’s imagine we are in 2025, and Google has just launched its Metaverse. You put your VR or AR glasses on, and you will enter this virtual space where you can pick up any destination. In this case, Bucharest. And, just like walking on the streets of Bucharest, you’ll be able to ‘walk’ in the augmented space, visiting the attractions and walking along with real-life pre-recorded people or avatars of others visiting Bucharest virtually. You’ll be able to enter the museums that are integrated into the Metaverse; you’ll be able to enter the pubs, or, why not, get a glimpse of what a local soccer derby feels like while sitting in the stands of the National Arena.

You might not visit Bucharest after all, right, as the experience could be compelling.

What technology stays behind The Metaverse?

Unity is a powerful cross-platform engine developed by Unity Technologies and launched in 2005. It seems to be the platform for developing metaverses at the moment. It was intended to be used for gaming, but it got to the point where its features helped create parts of the future metaverses and virtual platforms.

Might you have heard of Pokémon Go? It is an AR game developed on Unity technology and launched in 2016. Its beauty is that it offers the players an augmented reality where they can see the creatures hopping near them only when watching the reality through their smartphones playing the game.

Pokemon character in New York
Pokemon Go

Facebook, sorry again, Meta is working on the first full AR glasses, and the project is coded as “Project Nazare.” Unity technology helps a lot from this perspective as well.

Unreal is another engine that can be used for 3D worlds. It was developed by Epic Games and used in Unreal video game in 1998.

But, of course, there are lots of cross-platforms and real-time 3D creation tools to help build The Metaverse, and each company or entity will use one, more, or develop its own technology. The future will tell.

What are the immediate consequences of The Metaverse?

Among multiple consequences of the metaverse technology, there are a few worthwhile mentioning.

In The Metaverse people will be able to create their own avatars and interact with each others

Meta replicated Avatars

We mean to interact with each other in a virtual space appropriately. The Zoom meetings we have at the moment could become meetings in a virtual room where we all sit at the same round table and see each other’s avatars. And when talking to each other, to have the same feeling of actually being in a face-to-face meeting. Much like you could see in the movie “A Hologram for the King,” starring Tom Hanks.

People will be able to ‘visit’ distant locations in The Metaverse

VR for traveling
Traveling in The Metaverse

This will encourage or dissuade you from traveling. After virtually visiting some of Bucharest’s attractions in the example above, one might consider traveling to Bucharest. In contrast, another could think the virtual experience was enough, and there is no need for physically visiting Romania’s capital city.

Companies will have more space for advertising (isn’t it all about marketing, after all?)

We believe this is the reason for developing the Metaverse. It costs considerable sums to build it, some say 10 billion USD so far, but it will bring billions a day for those who create it. Facebook has close to 100 billion USD a year in revenues. In The Metaverse, this sum is going to skyrocket.

The advertisers foresee that moment and are aware that advertising, as we know it today, will become obsolete in The Metaverse.

When the Metaverse will be launched, it will be a very big change of the game. Marketing will step into another era and those who won’t be ready for it will vanish from the market. Those who know how to market their products now will have to learn how to advertise in the metaverse, which is going to be a completely different game to beat your competitors at.

Do you think the cost of advertising has exploded in the recent years? Wait and see how much you will have to pay for displaying your digital banners in the metaverse while your clients are connected. And it’s not only about the costs, but also about the creativity – it’s something to design a banner for a website, it will be something else to integrate your advertising strategy into the metaverse.

Catalin ADAM, Digital Strategist at TUYA Digital

Exactly! Imagine yourselves admiring the Great Pyramid, almost touching the hieroglyphs, when you glimpse, right next to them, a small banner that leads you to a translation agency. Or another one that leads you to an online platform that sells ancient Egyptian souvenirs. Or, when you try to exit the Metaverse, an avatar from an Egyptian travel agency could pop up and ask you if you’d be interested in visiting in real life the Great Pyramid of Giza by flying to Egypt the very next week?

The sky is the limit in the Metaverse, but even the sky will be available for advertising. When looking up, instead of a clear blue sky, you’ll see a random plane from Qatar Airlines of Lufthansa flying above, trying to persuade people actually to visit the locations in real life.

People and companies will need personal and corporate space in The Metaverse

It might be accessible at the beginning, such as you can create your profile on Facebook or your company’s profile on Google My Business. Or, on the contrary, it could cost you big money right away. After all, the Metaverse developing costs,

Anyway, people and companies will wish for their profile on Metaverse. Whether you are an individual or a big company, you’ll be part of the game. A downpayment or a subscription will be necessary, or, again, it might be free of charge. But you can bet your bottom dollar there will be huge costs involved in advertising anything in the Metaverse.

Are you prepared for The Metaverse experience?

Avatar entering The Metaverse
Launching The Metaverse

There is nothing scary, but on the contrary – it will be an enhanced experience, so far reserved only for the 3D videogames. Or for those entering the 3D virtual tours of selected museums.

We say there is nothing to be prepared for – we were not prepared for Google, but it is here, we were not prepared for Facebook, but look where it got so far, we were not even prepared nor wished for TikTok, but they took all the other social platforms by storm.

The Metaverse could be an enjoyable experience for those who will embrace it. It will also generate trillions of dollars in revenues for the company launching this kind of technology. It will also cost colossal money to advertise on it. But, in the end, it will be another step forward in technology, virtuality, and augmented reality.


What is The Metaverse?

A 3D virtual reality where people could interact with each other.

When is The Metaverse going to be launched?

At the moment, there is no available public version of the Metaverse. No formal announcement was made, such as for the launching date.

What are the immediate consequences of The Metaverse?

1. In The Metaverse people will be able to create their own avatars and interact with each others
2. People will be able to ‘visit’ distant locations in The Metaverse
3. Companies will have more space for advertising
4. People and companies will need personal and corporate space in The Metaverse

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