With Facebook changing the company name to Meta, “Metaverse” has come to attract attention. We will introduce what the Metaverse is and specific examples of the Metaverse, and predict how the society will change due to the Metaverse.
What is Metaverse ?
In October 2021, Facebook changed its name to Meta Platforms (Meta). This is intended to make Metaverse, which is expected to grow in the future, the core of our business. This has brought more attention to the word Metaverse.
Metaverse is a coined word that combines the English words “meta” and “universe”, and refers to the three-dimensional virtual space and its services built in a computer network.
Users participate in virtual spaces built online with their own avatars (users’ alter ego operating in a virtual world on the Internet), and while communicating, economic activities such as entertainment such as games and buying and selling products and services. It is envisioned that the metaverse space will become one living space.
Technology that enables the Metaverse
With the development of technology, the Metaverse is becoming a reality from fiction. The technical factors that made the Metaverse feasible include:
- Faster internet connection
- Widespread use of smartphones / VR devices and higher specifications
- Birth of blockchain technology
A high-speed internet connection is indispensable for the metaverse, which requires the exchange of large amounts of data. Recent optical lines and 5G technology have enabled real-time and large-scale data communication.
In addition, the high specs of smartphones and PCs and the development of VR devices that realize a more immersive virtual space experience are also helping to popularize the Metaverse.
And with the advent of blockchain technology, it has become possible to mutually monitor transactions on the Internet and prevent data tampering. In the Metaverse space, blockchain technology makes it possible to carry out economic activities more safely.
Specific examples of the Metaverse
■ Online games
Currently, the game industry is said to be the most actively used Metaverse. In the game world, it is common to play while communicating with other players in virtual space.
- Mine Craft
- Animal Crossing Forest
In these games, players create their own avatars, communicate and build communities. A mechanism has been built that allows you to project yourself onto the characters in the game and express yourself online.
■ Online festival / virtual live
Until now, live distribution has been performed online. But it was just a “view” for the user, far from a live experience sharing the same space and time. In a live concert in the Metaverse space, for example, the user enters the Metaverse as an avatar.
In addition, the event will be held at a fixed time. By setting spatial and time restrictions in this way, it is necessary to systematically think about directions and time in order to listen to the songs of the artist you want to listen to, just like in an actual festival. This allows users to enjoy a more realistic live experience.
■ Online conferencing
With the spread of remote work in Korona-ka, opportunities for online conferencing such as Zoom have increased. Online conferencing is further evolving with the Metaverse.
In “Workrooms” provided by Meta, meeting participants join the meeting with their own avatars. Your eyes and gestures are also reflected in your avatar, and your avatar’s mouth moves when you speak. It is also possible to display and operate the PC screen in the virtual space.
Metaverse and NFT
Digital data is replicable and it was difficult to prove which data was original. However, this is made possible by the non-fungible token (NFT) realized by the blockchain. NFTs can give digital data the following characteristics:
- Can prove uniqueness
- Impossible to tamper with
- Can record creator / owner
In short, NFTs allow you to treat digital data that is inherently replicable as a non-substitutable “asset.” NFT makes it possible to capitalize and buy and sell digital data such as land, buildings, and items in the Metaverse space.
“GameFi” is an example of using this mechanism. GameFi is an online game that combines games with DeFi (Decentralized Finance).
Players can acquire items, lands, avatars, etc. in the game and exchange them for other players or convert them into crypto assets in the market. You can also monetize user interactions in online games, such as leveling up your character, participating in quests, and winning tournaments.
Although Metaverse is a space constructed with digital data, NFT adds value to the digital data and makes it possible to realize economic activities such as buying and selling goods and services.
The future of the Metaverse
The Metaverse market was about $ 480 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow to about $ 780 billion by 2024. Metaverse may spread to various fields and industries in the future.
In the above, we introduced examples of the Metaverse in business and games, but one of the fields where the Metaverse is expected to spread in the future is education.
One of the merits of learning with the Metaverse is that you can virtually experience scientific experiments that are dangerous and cannot be done in reality. In the past, it was common for teachers to guide students in the right direction, but if you can make mistakes with peace of mind, students will have the opportunity to act and think more independently.
Communication with overseas students will be easier, and opportunities for language learning and cross-cultural exchange will increase. Furthermore, if translation technology advances, it is fully expected that people from different countries and different languages will take the same lessons.
In addition, even those who are not familiar with the school environment or who have difficulty attending school due to illness or disability can study while communicating with their classmates in the Metaverse space.
In conventional online learning, it was difficult for students to communicate with each other and build a community, but it is also possible with Metaverse to allow students to gather together with avatars and enjoy chatting in a virtual classroom during breaks.
And when a child educated in the Metaverse becomes an adult, there is no doubt that the metaverse of society will accelerate even further.
Legal development is cited as an issue for the Metaverse. Current law does not envision business in virtual space, so if a virtual item disappears due to some accident, it may not be possible to get legal remedies, even if it is worth it. there is. Therefore, in November 2021, an organization called the “Virtual Consortium” was established to develop guidelines for the rules and operations of Metaverse’s commercial transactions.
If laws related to the Metaverse are put in place in the future, commercial activities in the Metaverse will become more active and the Metaverse market will expand further.