What is Metaverse?
Metaverse: Every five to ten years, a technical term that few people know suddenly turns into a popular technology that everyone is talking about.Internet, cyberspace, virtual world, three-dimensional environment, augmented reality, social network, 5G, Bitcoin, NFT and many other concepts… Recently, a new one has been added to these: Metaverse.So what is it? How does it work?When will we start using it?How will it affect our lives?What are the latest developments?In this article, we discuss the metaverse in full detail and try to answer many questions in your mind.It can be defined as a virtual world where peoplesocialize, have fun and work.
Metaverse;It is a term that consists of the combination of the words “meta”, meaning beyond the limits, and “universe”, meaning universe, and which we can translate into Turkish as beyond universe.It refers to a conceptual and virtual environment that is different from the physical world we live in.Although most of us have only heard of the term in the last few years, the word “metaverse” first appeared in a science fiction novel titled Snow Crash, published in 1992.
This book, written by Neal Stephenson, speculates about what the successor to the internet might look like.The fiction of the novel takes place in a virtual world called “metaverse”, parallel to the real world, where users communicate with each other through digital avatars (characters or icons representing a specific person).
In fact, as a result of the widespread use of personal computers, the development of the Internet and the widespread use of internet-connected smartphones, a virtual world parallel to the physical world has already formed.However, the concept of metaverse means a new world in which the virtual world has become even more important, and the real and virtual worlds are intertwined, especially with the emergence of three-dimensional visuality.
Why does Meteverse excite you?
When thinking about the Metaverse, it is necessary to consider the internet, social networks, computer games, virtual reality and augmented reality glasses, internet of things (IoT) devices, cryptocurrencies, high-speed internet (5G) and artificial intelligence together.Groundbreaking developments in each of the mentioned technologies open the doors of a new virtual world that was not possible before.Maybe that’s why the concept of commodity excites people!
The metaverse, which was just an idea in the past, has now reached a level where it can be implemented.It describes a virtual world related to the real world.People in the physical world;can control their avatars in the virtual world using various hardware such as keyboard, joystick, glasses and camera that enable human-computer interaction;can produce digital content;can communicate with others and produce economic value as a result of these interactions.
Of course, all these activities must be shaped within the framework of certain rules similar to real life.According to Facebook, the metaverse is a series of virtual spaces where you can coexist with other people who are not in the same physical space as you. According to Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, who believed in the metaverse enough to change its name to Meta, the metaverse completely expresses the internet world we live in. It does.
Some define the metaverse simply as a three-dimensional (3D) model of the internet.When the Internet and computers first appeared, all interactions were text-based (emails, messages, usernames, email addresses).Then they slowly started to become media-based (photos, videos, live broadcasts).In the next rise of user interface and user experience, it is time for the third dimension to become widespread.
Metaverse is an environment where users have an avatar and interact with each other through their avatar.Some technology experts interpret the metaverse very differently.“The metaverse is not a setting, it is a time.”According to this view, metaverse actually represents a moment when the virtual world is more important than the real world.Such a transformation has been taking place for the last 20-30 years and the virtual world is becoming more valuable day by day.For some, their workplace has become their home laptop.People now build their social circle through social media and find their friends in virtual environments.
What Can Be Done in the Metaverse?
There is a fact that should not be ignored: A metaverse as we described in the introduction does not exist yet!Rather, it is a concept that many people and institutions are working on regarding the future.There are multiple virtual universes at work and trying to take the first steps of the metaverse.Examining these can give us ideas about what we can do.
Horizon is a virtual universe developed by Meta (Facebook).There are three main sections within Horizon: Worlds is focused on games and interaction, Venue is focused on meeting and chatting with people who come together in various clubs, and Workroom is designed to be used for business meetings.Facebook aims to invest at least $10 billion in this field over the next five years.
Axie Infinity is a game with Pokémon-like creatures called Axie.The most important feature of the game is that it offers a virtual world that uses cryptocurrencies together with this character.Although it does not meet the broad definition of metaverse, it is a successful application in terms of giving an idea of how cryptocurrency can be used on similar platforms.
Similarly, you can produce your own content in The Sandbox, which offers a world similar to Minecraft and Roblox, and thanks to NFT compatibility, you can earn income by using these products.
Roblox is one of the most popular virtual world games.The game, which is especially preferred by children and young people, offers different types of mini games and experiences created by users, rather than a single game.Among these experiences, there are also virtual worlds defined as metaverse.Players can create their own virtual worlds or write various games within Roblox.In addition, Roblox is currently one of the “worlds” close to the Metaverse, thanks to its structure that also supports VR glasses.In the game, which has 50 million active players, users can take on different characters, make simulations or have business world experiences similar to real life.You can be a bee in Roblox and collect honey or work in a pizzeria.
HOW IS IT WORKING?
In fact, we need to ask how it will work instead of how it works, because there is no metaverse as imagined yet.Technically, we can think of it as a computer game.It just needs to be more comprehensive and integrated with external systems.An experience as described requires a variety of devices that exist today and those that do not exist yet.For example, for virtual and augmented reality experiences, many technologies such as very light glasses, advanced hologram technologies, various sensors for interaction, high-capacity computers and high-speed internet connection need to work in harmony.We can consider what is needed to build the Metaverse at two levels: the technological infrastructure and the ecosystem layer that will rise above it.In this section we will take a look at the details of both levels.
In digital environments, users express themselves with avatars.Recently, many games and applications offer different options for changing and easily editing avatars.With existing technologies, avatars similar to our physical appearance can be automatically created.Factors such as facial details, gestures and facial expressions, full presence of the body, styles used, color, posture, resolution, naturalness of movements, shading, response time, synchronous work with real-world organs, interaction of avatars with each other that affect the design and appearance of avatars are what users feel in the metaverse. It can affect the perception of reality and satisfaction levels.
In Metaverse, it is not possible for all content to be produced only by professional design experts; users must also be provided with the necessary tools to produce content in various categories.These tools include options such as virtual keyboards, workflow diagrams, creating 3D objects with wearable devices, creating characters that exhibit different behaviors with the support of artificial intelligence, digitally transferring drawings made in the physical environment with image processing techniques, and specially prepared editors for advanced users.
Over the past two decades, we have observed examples where users have created and maintained in-game economic systems.The space-themed game EVE Quintessen was a successful example in this regard.However, this does not mean that metaverse developers can emulate EVE’s success and hand over all economic governance to its users.
It also contains a strong trading potential within the Metaverse, and the necessary infrastructure for this needs to be prepared.Here, commerce can take place in different ways, just like in real life, including options such as user-to-user (C2C) or business-to-user (B2C).
Metaverse users can trade with each other using NFT.For this to happen, Metaverse will need to be highly compatible with blockchain technology.However, we should also point out that commerce is not the same as existing e-commerce.
The successful implementation of Metaverse depends on its adoption by users.For this, various factors such as privacy, cultural diversity, technology addiction, bullying, generation difference and environmental awareness need to be taken into account.If such factors are not taken into account, it may not be possible for it to be accepted by society.
For example, when the AR glasses called Google Glass were introduced about ten years ago, they received great criticism because it was thought that wearing glasses that constantly record images would harm both the users’ and other people’s privacy, and this caused the project to be canceled before it became widespread.
Recently, the use of personal data collected by Facebook by organizations such as Cambridge Analytica has turned into a kind of scandal and led to many investigations.
Virtual goods, which were previously only cared about by game users, have become a billion-dollar economy over time, being included in fields such as fashion, real estate and art.Personalized digital avatars have become widespread thanks to applications such as Bitmoji, Memojis, Genies and Loom.Such trends enable the real and virtual worlds to mix and feed each other.
For example, an application called Aglet allows those who collect sneakers to find virtual shoes with a Pokemon Go-style game.This transition, where the real world affects the virtual and the virtual affects the real world, also opens the door to new economic opportunities.
What will happen thanks to the Metaverse?
- Thanks to Metaverse, it will be easier for brands and sellers to reach users directly without intermediaries.
- Instead of trying to reach users through millions of sites such as the internet, users will be able to be reached through a much smaller number of virtual worlds.
- Instead of each brand communicating with its customers through its own website, shopping will be possible more easily through mutual interaction in a virtual world.
- It is clear that big technology companies such asApple, Microsoft,Meta and Amazon will want to be among the big actors by making huge investments in this field.Offering virtual products may be trendy today, but over the next five years the trend is like lyto move towards designing more complete and detailed virtual universes that deliver an immersive shopping experience.
In conclusion, whether you consider the metaverse as a new concept or just a marketing move, it is clear that we are heading towards a new world where real life and virtual intertwine.
Although some of the things claimed for the Metaverse have already come true, we will have to wait a long time for some of them.In order to make good use of the opportunities brought by such transformations, we think that it would be better to stay away from information pollution and use the products and services offered after thoroughly researching them.