If you’ve been paying attention to the latest developments in big tech, you’ll have come across the concept of the ‘metaverse’. You’re also probably wondering what does the metaverse look like.
The metaverse is a place where our physical world blends with the virtual, creating an entirely new digital space somewhere in-between. In these spaces, the rules change and allow people to access different layers within themselves through avatars. Users will blur the line between reality and fantasy by bringing out their digital idols into a very real life.
The potential of the metaverse beckons, the main expectation being that much of what we do in our actual lives will exist in another, virtual dimension. This in itself presents gigantic business opportunities. The only thing that seems up for debate at the moment is the percentage of our lives that it will take up. Whatever happens, our everyday lives will increasingly be spent within ‘our’ own metaverse worlds.
What is the metaverse definition, what does it literally mean?
The etymology of the term metaverse is a portmanteau of the Greek term ‘meta’ and the English word universe. The prefix "meta" in Greek means after or beyond, which provides an insight into how it's used: to signify something that goes beyond what we already know about.
Universe is derived from the Latin term "universum". The original sense of this phrase had nothing to do with Earth or planet-based thinking, but rather referred generally towards anything that exists in bulk—a collection; all things collectively.
Metaverse integrates these two and therefore translates to something like ‘the unknown whole’ or ‘undiscovered world’.
But the metaverse isn’t entirely new…
It merely has been bubbling under the surface.
The metaverse is here, and it’s not only transforming how we see the world but how we participate in it—from the factory floor to the meeting room. Take a look.
Satya Nadella, CEO Microsoft, via Twitter
This quote summarises and effectively captures the fact that the transformation towards the metaverse is well and truly underway. Much like the internet and digital revolution of the last several decades, the trend will be like a snowball, picking up its pace as it grows larger and larger.
The marks of the digital revolution started in the 1980s but only really came to pass in the 2000s- especially the 2010s. Now in the 2020s, we can safely say that the world revolves around the internet for a significant percentage of the global population.
Regarding the metaverse, it’s a similar story. It’s been brewing beneath the surface for a long time—since the 2000s in fact—and finally, it’s going to come to an amazing boil this decade.
Some positive benefits of the metaverse
46% of people think that our everyday lives will take place for a significant amount of time IN the metaverse. Let that sink in!
Virtually half of the people in a recent Tidio survey believe that a significant amount of lives will be spent within the metaverse in ten years time (circa 2030). Remember back when there was the digital revolution? It was common in the early 2000s to encounter naysayers claiming that the internet would never take off, even amid the Dotcom bubble. We bet that they’re a bit embarrassed about their cynicism now.
In the same survey, participants said that *the metaverse will increase travel and creativity (37%) experience and opportunities. If anything, these sorts of surveys tend to be on the conservative side, underestimating the impact of whatever topic is in question.
There are numerous ways in which the metaverse could improve our current society, here’s a quick rundown of just a few.
1. Gaming will be more involving, personal and real
Games that we already play will be more engaging, as we’ll be able to communicate deeply in a simulated reality with our friends. We’ll also build deeper connections with the friends we find online.
With the increasing popularity of video games, it is inevitable that some will shift into the metaverse and away from traditional screen-based interactions. In fact, by 2024 the global gaming industry has been projected at $800 billion. A lot of the player growth will originate in rapidly developing countries such as India and parts of Asia.
2. Remote work will be optimised.
The metaverse is not a singular Meta initiative, but rather an evolution of what people have been doing for years; working from home. This new trend taps into the ability to interact with colleagues in more immersive ways while also following suit on products like Microsoft's Mesh which expands the functionality of existing platforms that connect remote workers.
3. A whole new category of products will develop
One of the things that make creating products in a metaverse so tough is this idea of interoperability. It means being able to use your purchased content across different virtual worlds. For instance, if you buy an outfit for one game, but it doesn't work on other virtual platforms, then what solutions will exist for these inter-metaverse questions?
The range of virtual economies and their possibilities is limitless. The idea that creative digital products can be bought and sold within the metaverse could lead to a whole new economy. Entrepreneurs will have access to an open market where they can sell their services or even create businesses around this concept, giving people more options for how they spend money.
4. New industries will blossom
There are already games where people can earn a passive income by playing, either for cryptocurrency or real (fiat) money. There are people from lower-income countries who make this their main form of income, too.
This brings us onto business. Business, trade and the economy could be in for a big shift and massive boost…
The metaverse business opportunities are real
Virtual meetings are just a start
Bill Gates believes that virtual meetings are just a start. Virtual meetings were common in the 2010s. Since the start of this decade and then due to the pandemic, they really became a mainstay of teams across many sectors.
Of course, Gates notes that it will take time and willingness from users before his vision for a virtual workplace in the metaverse becomes reality. First of all, tech companies like Meta have developed worlds to make up this new form. However, there are others trying as well, such as Microsoft's own Minecraft or Roblox Games Platform.
Virtual meetings are only a small consideration in the grand scheme of the metaverse. Sections of virtual land have been sold for more than $2 million. If that’s not a nod to the potential of this technology, what is?
Virtual offices will allow users to engage in a 3D space that mimics a real office environment. Microsoft Teams is on a mission to create the metaverse, and they're doing it with 3D avatars. You won't need VR headsets anymore. These animated versions of yourself can appear in meetings as either 3D or 360-degree images, so you have more flexibility when meeting online with other team members.
Why should you care about the metaverse business opportunities now when they're still so far off from being mainstream?
The metaverse calls to us. It’s definitely a situation where belief in its potential means that it will come to pass, much like a prophecy. This isn’t hot air either, as this article proves there is broad support from some of the most powerful people and leaders across the world today.
Tons of capital is flowing in the direction of the metaverse. Nothing says ‘rooting for this’ like investing in ideas. With the venture capital being ploughed into the metaverse predicted to skyrocket, it’s time for us all to take notice. With nearly $10.4 billion raised globally in 2021 across 612 deals, the metaverse is catching on to be a hotbed for funding.
Epic Games’s April money injection is leading all the others. Hundreds of startups in every major country are—with gusto—betting their futures on it. The global gaming industry is expected to become an $800 billion industry by 2024, according to Bloomberg Intelligence. This is equivalent to more than what the annual GDP of Switzerland will be for that year!
The future of the metaverse: the space is vast and continues expanding. What’s next?
The metaverse is in its early days, and people are just starting to understand the profound impact that this new technology will have on society. Those in the know are warming to the idea and getting serious. It’s going to change everything, just like the internet did.
Nevertheless, most people don't know it yet. It’s a known unknown. It’s clear that it will be more significant, but it’s not known how exactly it will unfold.
If you see the genuine, vast potential of the metaverse, consider downloading our whitepaper. It’s packed with solid research and advice on how you and your business can make the most of this most exciting development.