What is Metaverse?
It’s a concept of a virtual world powered by Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Mixed Reality (MR), built on blockchains with web3 capabilities and token economics (Folger 2021). If you haven't heard of the Metaverse, it's time to start paying attention. . It's a place where people can interact with each other and with brands in a completely new way.
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Technologies of the Metaverse
The concept of metaverse is realized due to the advancements in of AR, VR and MR at the core along with other applications of web3.0.
Augmented Reality (AR):
It’s a digitally enhanced representation of the real world created by adding digital visuals, audio, or other sensory input and delivering it through technology.
Virtual Reality (VR):
It’s a simulated experience that can be similar to or completely different from the real world. A simulated digital world whose effects are experienced by VR headsets.
Mixed Reality (MR):
It’s a combination of the real world and simulated digital world to produce new combinations where reality and simulation co-exist.
eXtended Reality (XR):
Mixed reality, virtual reality, and augmented reality are together represented as XR. Even if the attributes of the three realities overlap, each has unique purposes and use cases (ARM 2021).
The true experience and value of the metaverse is unlocked by complimentary developments in web3 like the NFTs, smart contracts and token economies in addition to technologies mentioned above and the ever-increasing metaverse userbase together bring rich ecosystems at play. Crypto plays a crucial role in enabling proof of ownership, accessibility, interoperability, etc.
How to Build a Metaverse?
You can use any of the existing platforms like Decentraland, Cryptovoxels or the Sandbox and start building your own assets. You would also need a web wallet and need to pay some transaction fees to the platform to submit your work.
In case if you’re looking at building metaverses with advanced features, game development, then tools like Unity3D, Unreal Engine, Amazon Sumerian, SparkAR and cybernetics technologies can be explored.
As per BCG 2022, following the below 10 step process can help companies to get started with building a metaverse strategy. Refer this detailed guide, article from BCG and this HBR article from Janet Balis for a deeper dive into Metaverse implementation for your brands.
Real world use cases and growing adoption of the metaverse include gaming, virtual meetings and events, ecommerce, travel, education, virtual real estate, social networks, etc. to name a few. But still in the initial stages requiring high speed internet and high-power computers, these metaverse applications would take some time to become accessible and affordable for mass adoption.
How can brands enter Metaverse?
Lets explore some of the ways in which brands can enter the Metaverse and benefit from the use of it:
1. Use existing platforms
One way for brands to enter the Metaverse is to use existing platforms such as Second Life, IMVU, or VRChat. These platforms allow users to create avatars and interact with each other in virtual environments.
Many brands have already started using these platforms to engage with their customers. For example, Coca-Cola has used Second Life to create a virtual version of its popular Happiness Factory campaign.
2. Develop your own platform
Another way for brands to enter the Metaverse is to develop their own platform. This would give them more control over their environment and allow them to create an immersive experience that is tailored to their brand identity.
However, developing your own platform can be a risky and expensive undertaking. It requires a deep understanding of virtual reality technology and 3D design. It also requires a significant investment of resources.
3. Partner with an existing platform provider
A third option for brands wanting to enter the Metaverse is to partner with an existing platform provider. This would allow them to tap into the existing user base of the platform and avoid the risks and expenses associated with developing their own platform.
4. Wait and see
Finally, another option for brands is to simply wait and see how the Metaverse develops. This may be a prudent approach for those who are unsure about how to proceed or who do not want to make a large investment at this stage.
As the Metaverse evolves, new opportunities are likely to arise for brands that are not currently possible to foresee.
AlexWGomezz n.d., How to Build in the Metaverse? A Beginner’s Guide, Cyber Scrilla.
ARM 2021, xR, AR, VR, MR: What’s the Difference in Reality?, Arm Blueprint.
BCG 2022a, How to Play in the New Digital Realm, www.linkedin.com, viewed 22 July 2022, <https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-play-new-digital-realm-boston-consulting-group/>.
― 2022b, The Corporate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Metaverse, BCG Global.
Binance 2022, What Is the Metaverse?, Binance Academy.
Folger, J 2021, Metaverse, Investopedia.
Pic from Travis Scott and Fortnite Present: Astronomical 2021, www.youtube.com, viewed 21 July 2022, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYeFAlVC8qU&t=95s>.