The infamous announcement by the social media giant, Facebook, renaming itself ‘Meta’ and traversing into digitizing everyday experiences into virtual or augmented reality (VR/AR), has people buzzing about the term Metaverse since late 2021. The metaverse term was further sensationalized when it was announced that the sector potentially may be worth well over 800 billion dollars by 2025 and over 2.5 trillion by 2030.
But, the vertical has been around since at least 2019 and has produced some winning contenders, especially in the commercial space to help businesses out in humanizing their in-person online interactions, beyond a zoom call, during a pandemic that just refuses to quit.
But, What is a Metaverse, Anyways?
First imagined in Neal Stephenson’s science fiction novel, “Snow Crash,” a Metaverse can be loosely defined as a virtual shared area that is the convergence of physical, augmented, and virtual reality online. Lately, though, it has kinda become a catch-all term for any shared space in the entire digital and virtual world. However, it is important to ensure that any venture termed “Metaverse” must include a digital experience on the internet and is persistent, immersive, three-dimensional (3D). Most importantly, though, it is a digital twin, so the experience must not be happening in the physical world.
The Challenges and the Opportunities:
As you have imagined from the number of big names jumping on the Metaverse bandwagon both costs to develop one and the opportunities it presents are stratospheric.
Meta (formerly known as Facebook) has made an initial commitment of $10 billion for its venture and big names from Microsoft, IBM, and other big names in technology are ready to dump sizable amounts of investments into projects related to the metaverse.
But, surprisingly enough the emerging sentiments around the technology are leaning more towards collaboration than competition. For example, Enjin, a major provider of platforms for building Web3 and VR/AR gaming has created its virtual headquarters on another metaverse competitor called Bloktopia.
The metaverse landscape is quickly evolving, being rapidly gobbled up by entertainment and gaming companies leading the way. This has also allowed newer gaming platforms, like Roblox to create unique experiences and features, allowing its users to create and then be able to play across immersive worlds created, and often monetized, by users.
Another leading contender, Decentraland, has created an entire 3D virtual world that belongs to its users, where they are free to create virtual structures — from theme parks to galleries — and even allowing them to monetize these virtual structures by charging other users to visit them, all powered by Ethereum blockchain technology. Other companies, such as MetaVRse and Unity, are creating engines to power brand and gaming studios and accelerate the development of AR and VR content creation.
Sustainability, The Central Linchpin:
5IRE, the 5th generation blockchain company, whose central tenet is to include and make everything blockchain directed towards the “For Benefit” purposes of tech and to weave in sustainability along with it.
Starting with their recent MoU signed with AICET, the largest educational regulatory body in India, 5ire will have its sustainability-focused technology weave in in-person virtual experiences in its e-governance and educational ventures that it is rapidly developing use cases for.
As Pratik Gauri, the CEO, and co-founder of 5ire puts it, “I think in-person, VR and AR experiences melded together will fit in nicely in our use cases, and we can support such use cases both technologically and monetarily because it’s a great model to dovetail into a lot of public services and educational use cases we are building right now in the physical world with our technology, and less physical travel is definitely a goal that helps sustainability.”
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