Facebook is now Meta! But what is the Metaverse? and how is affecting and will affect our daily lives?
This term was coined by Neal Stephenson’s 1992 science fiction novel Snow Crash. The term “Metaverse” is a combination of meta, meaning comprehensive and transcending, and “universe.” Taken together, this term refers to a virtual universe made up of persistent, shared, 3D virtual spaces in which users can interact with other users.
The origin of this seemingly outlandish term may lead you to think it is jargon relevant only to tech fanatics and gamers. However, the truth is, we are all rapidly moving closer to this new reality which will shape everyone’s day-to-day.
Remember Club Penguin? The massively popular multiplayer game released in the early 2000s? This online game already had metaverse tendencies — people existed as a digital representation of themselves and did things they would in “real life” like hanging out with friends, shopping, decorating their homes, etc. Similarly, video games like Roblox, Fortnite, and Animal Crossings all have been getting us closer to a shared metaverse.
Even by participating in social media, the NFT market, or the crypto market, you are now part of the metaverse experience. Virtual and augmented reality (AR/VR) are also both parts of the metaverse experience — those mask filters on Snapchat and TikTok and those websites that allow you to see products in surroundings are all included under this definition. The rapid development of technology have allowed users to create our own AR/VR content and apps with the help of platforms like echo3D, a 3D-ready cloud platform that helps manage & deliver AR/VR content to apps & devices everywhere.
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With COVID-19 and social distancing, we have been seen the metaverse expanding at increasing rate. For example, Columbia University’s annual concert Bacchanal was hosted this year on Virbela, a virtual event platform. With this tool, Columbia was able to host stars like Flo Milli and A$AP Ferg in a safe way. Other virtual world collaboration tools include XUVER and Gather, and many other live events and concerts has started offering a concurrent virtual alternative to the event (learn more about the the best VR events and concerts planned for 2021 here).
Metaverse’s huge potential has also been a focus of a variety of major corporations. CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently said that Facebook should be known as a “metaverse company,” and that Facebook’s “overarching goal across all of these initiatives is to help bring the metaverse to life.” Since then, Facebook has released a virtual reality workspace for remote workers and has been working on developing smart wristbands and VR goggles that project the viewers’ eyes onto the glasses. Facebook is investing billions of dollars into the effort, and similarly, Epic Games, the maker of Fortnite, has raised $1 billion to invest in the metaverse. More and more companies are now working to create a variety of virtual experiences, environments and assets, all of which are encompassed by the Metaverse vision.
The metaverse is being continually developed: Matthew Ball, a venture capitalist and essayist wrote that there “will be no clean ‘Before Metaverse’ and ‘After Metaverse.’ Instead, it will slowly emerge over time as different products, services and capabilities integrate and meld together.” As we get closer and closer to the Metaverse, we will be able to reap the great benefits of this technology. The capabilities of the metaverse are far beyond the gaming sphere; it offers enormous opportunities to creators, artists, those who want to work remotely far from today’s urban centers, and to those where opportunities for education and recreation are more limited. The metaverse will allow us to interact fully online and to be in the content instead of viewing it, i.e., being inside rather than looking in. Although we may not be close to a working teleportation device, the metaverse may be the next closest thing.
With the metaverse vision expending beyond online gaming, expect to see the metaverse appear in the world of sports, fitness, live events, art, fashion, and even your own workplace, in the same vain has AR/VR technologies have gained ground in many different industries such as sports, shopping, healthcare, workplace, furniture, education, travel, policing, marketing, fashion, music, real estate, manufacturing, food service, automobiles, and tourism.
As our world is ushered into the new age of the “Metaverse”, we at echo3D hope to continue to be part of that journey. With our 3D-ready cloud platform, companies can manage and deliver 3D/AR/VR content that can be used on apps and devices everywhere, making our technology a great option for developers creating shared and immersive 3D experiences.
Written by Tiffany Lau
echo3D (www.echo3D.co; Techstars 19’) is a cloud platform for 3D/AR/VR that provides tools and network infrastructure to help developers & companies quickly build and deploy 3D apps, games, and content.