Metaverse has recently become a topic of conversation, and the popularity of this “reality” has become more evident in everything, mainly from the transformation of Facebook into the new “Meta” brand.
But what is it Metaverse, and why is it so profoundly connected with Augmented Reality?
What is the Metaverse
We can – in short – refer to the “metaverse” as a new kind of internet experience built around many unique technologies. According to Mark Zuckerberg, the Metaverse is a kind of “embodied internet.” It’s something you can jump into (with VR) or bring to your reality (with AR – which interests us).
The Metaverse offers a phygital future where we can enjoy a more substantial overlap between our physical and digital lives. One example is investing in digital forms of art using NFTs. This is already a “Meta experience.”
One of the core technologies behind the Metaverse – among Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence – is Extended Reality. In fact, with VR and AR, we can step into virtual worlds and interact with online communities.
But apart from entering the Metaverse with VR, we can also use Augmented Reality to bring digital content into the real world, changing the way we interact with basically everything from maps to retail experiences.
AR is the door to Metaverse
While VR technology requires visors and equipment more or less complicated (and expensive) to enter the Metaverse, Augmented Reality lets everyone who owns a smartphone or tablet to live Meta experiences, mixing the real world with Metaverse.
Layering digital content to the physical world, many Meta pioneers – to mention one, Niantic CEO John Hanke – are sure that is indeed AR Where the Real Metaverse will happen. Hanke launched popular AR videogames such as Ingress and Pokémon Go, focusing on a vision of a physical world enhanced by digital objects. As reported in this article, Hanke believes that his vision, unlike Virtual Reality, AR will make the real world better without encouraging people to totally check out of it. He even felt compelled to explain why in a self-described manifesto whose title says it all: “The Metaverse Is a Dystopian Nightmare. Let’s Build a Better Reality.”
Considering this, it’s easy to see why AR is the future of Metaverse; VR might be incredible but, as Hanke mentions, “forces” users to leave the real world and immerse themselves into the Metaverse entirely. On the other hand, AR merges the physical and virtual realities, getting the best of the two worlds and upgrading our experience without disconnecting from reality.
The future of Metaverse
While everyone is talking about Metaverse, the opinions about where it is heading are mixed and confused, sometimes even apocalyptic. While we don’t think humankind will ever leave this world to immerse themselves – even if only with minds – into a virtual one, we are sure that Metaverse will happen and change our lives at least a bit. But thanks to AR, not to VR.
Digital communities have existed since the dawn of the internet. From online forums and social media platforms to video games, the internet has always have been a way to connect with other people. This happened, mainly since the pandemic: due to lockdowns and social distancing, we used the internet to create the human connections we lacked in real life.
We could see many celebrations and events happening in the Metaverse, from concerts to weddings, as we head into the future. In addition, as technology evolves, experts predict social experiences in the Metaverse will include additional forms of simulated presence and human connection, and many websites now offer the possibility to create your avatar – for example, Ready Player Me.
Businesses are looking towards Metaverse, considering how it might influence sales. Companies can, in fact, create virtual environments to build products, test ideas, and even sell items and goods in a new engaging way.
A rising number of companies in various industries are already using AR and Metaverse to bring specialists and employees together in a hybrid environment or offer opportunities for online learning and training in the workplace, allowing people to learn new skills in an immersive and stimulating environment and give potential customers incredible Product Visualization experiences.
We are sure that every brand will literally create and build shops in the Metaverse in the upcoming years, offering users a completely new shopping experience online.
Media and entertainment
Since gaming is one of the pillars of the Metaverse, it’s clear that entertainment and media will also benefit from it.
As reported by XRToday, “Entertainment in the Metaverse is already becoming a common concept, with many shared virtual events like concerts and celebrations happening in environments like Minecraft, Roblox, and similar spaces. […] Future metaverse media experiences will combine in-person interactions with digital-twin events in the virtual world, to create more hybrid experiences for people who can’t travel to conference spaces.”
To conclude, the Metaverse is where users will learn, build, play, communicate, and collaborate, building new connections in a new environment.
The dystopian future some experts are painting, in which humans will lose contact with reality, immersing themselves into a virtual world, forgetting about their physical bodies, sounds really unlikely unless you’re in an apocalyptic sci-fi movie.
We expect the Metaverse to make Augmented Reality even more popular and democratic (as we are already doing at Aryel), offering even more users the opportunity to upgrade their reality without leaving it, adding digital layers to the physical world.