Imagine holding 3D meetings with your colleagues or making a trip with friends without even stepping foot outside the house. Sounds cool, right? These are just a few of the possible scenarios the metaverse can offer us. But what does it take to make it possible?
The metaverse is now one of the most widely discussed trends and we’re all excited to see where it can take us. The many new opportunities that the metaverse can bring continually pop up in the news and we’ve already seen countless headlines about how it will shape the way we live. No wonder some of the world’s largest companies, like Microsoft and Apple, have already entered the race towards metaverse development.
The idea behind the metaverse was popularized in the late 90s in the novel “Snow Crash” by Neal Stephenson. In it, virtual reality provides users with a fully immersed experience where each person has their own avatar to interact with other users. Now, it seems no longer to be fiction.
One of the biggest advantages of the metaverse is that it helps us quickly teleport from one digital experience to another, thus bringing numerous possibilities. But what do you need to start a metaverse and what technologies stand behind it? Let’s explore those questions. We’ll also briefly discuss how to make money with the metaverse, what companies are building metaverse platforms, and the importance of blockchain and its use cases in the metaverse.
Want to learn more about the metaverse and its future? Take a look at our article covering these questions in detail
What are key technologies underlying the metaverse?
There is a set of cutting-edge technologies and tools you will need to create an immersive metaverse experience, the most prominent ones being blockchain, 3D reconstruction, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), the Internet of Things (IoT), and artificial intelligence (AI).
If we ask you which metaverse technology will be the major access point to the metaverse, we bet you will say virtual reality — and you will be right.
VR produces computer-generated virtual environments, which are explored by users through VR headsets, sensors, and gloves. These gadgets are usually connected to a user’s PC or smartphone that displays virtual images. By wearing full-coverage headsets you become cut off from your surroundings in the real world, which is basically the concept of the metaverse.
Metaverse VR will enable you to hear, feel, and interact with people all over the world. By using a combination of hardware devices and software solutions to provide an immersive environment, metaverse virtual reality can help you be in any place you want in just a matter of seconds.
The VR tech space has already made some impressive advancements in recent years. For example, the development of VR-based games like Half-Life: Alyx will undoubtedly lead to mainstream adoption of this technology.
However, VR is not the only technology underlying the metaverse. Let’s see what else you will need to build your metaverse.
Take a look at this article to find out how VR and AR are changing the world of gaming
AR is a technology that blends digital visual elements with real-world vision. It utilizes computer vision to recognize real-world surroundings while applying such technologies as object recognition, facial recognition, and movement tracking. AR typically requires a camera and access to the screen to observe existing physical surroundings and overlay additional information.
Metaverse AR will allow you to view your surroundings with interactive digital visuals which will provide you with extraordinary and unique experiences. In fact, AR has already changed the way we interact with the digital world. Seeing how a new pair of sneakers will look on you using just the camera of your smartphone hardly even surprises anyone now.
Many renowned brands have already embraced AR to bring us new ways to interact with the world. And let’s admit it, they do so effectively. For example, IKEA applies augmented reality to enable its consumers to visualize how the company’s furniture will look in their homes.
It is projected that the global AR market will reach $97.76 billion by 2028, and we are likely to hear about new advances in metaverse augmented reality very soon.
The unhackability and immutability of blockchain technology, along with fast confirmation of information and cryptographically secure transactions, will no doubt make it the key technology to constitute the metaverse.
From what we have seen so far, people will interact in a completely virtual environment in the metaverse. Therefore, the underlying platform on which they will interact must be secure. And this is actually what blockchain is all about. On top of this the technology has many other benefits, such as decentralization, user governance, and interoperability, all of which make it an ideal fit for the metaverse.
There’s also no doubt that the metaverse will rely on non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, being the best way to identify and transfer ownership of digital assets. We can expect all avatars, objects, skills, and other metaverse assets to be presented in the form of NFTs.
There are many fascinating examples of crypto metaverses – solutions that incorporate blockchain technology and crypto assets, such as metaverse tokens or metaverse NFT, into their economy. Decentraland, Axie Infinity, and The Sandbox are probably the most widely known projects that incorporate metaverse elements. These platforms make use of metaverse items like digital land or digital objects that are represented by different types of metaverse tokens while their ownership is recorded on the blockchain.
Introduce yourself to xtingles – the first NFT marketplace issuing ASMR collectibles
To create a truly immersive experience and make the metaverse actually work you’ll need a technology that will scan the real world, build a 3D model of it, and then transfer this model to the virtual world. Luckily, there’s already a solution that makes this possible. By using 3D reconstruction technology you can create natural-looking spaces which are as close to the real world as possible.
3D reconstruction allows you to render accurate 3D photorealistic models of the physical world, including buildings, locations, and objects. Then, 3D spatial data, along with 4K HD photography, generates a virtual replica in the metaverse. Through this process, the 3D metaverse provides realistic spaces and a fully immersive user experience.
Companies like Nikon, Zeiss, and Faro already have 3D reconstruction sensors. Although quite expensive, these devices can be precise down to units even smaller than millimeters. There are also more affordable solutions, such as Apple’s LIDAR and Microsoft’s Azure Kinect.
AI has the potential to process a lot of data at unprecedented speed while learning from previous interactions. Due to these capabilities, it has become widely used in different scenarios from business strategy planning and decision making to facial recognition and data classification.
Basically, there are 2 main scenarios for applying artificial intelligence for the development of the metaverse. First, artificial intelligence can be applied to the non-player characters or NPCs to simplify lifelike conversations with users and perform certain tasks. Second, AI can be used for the creation of metaverse avatars — you can use AI engines to analyze 3D scans and generate more realistic avatars. AI can also help you create different facial expressions, clothes, etc. to further enhance digital avatars.
Internet of Things
To build a successful project, you’ll need to create real-time simulations in the metaverse. That is how we come to another metaverse technology – the Internet of Things. There are several noteworthy applications of the IoT in the metaverse. But first, let’s figure out how the technology works.
The IoT utilizes sensors and devices to connect everything in the physical world to the Internet. All devices connected to the Internet have a unique identifier. They also have the ability to send and receive information automatically. Currently, the IoT connects voice-activated speakers, thermostats, and other devices to a wide range of data.
One of the key metaverse applications of the IoT will be to collect and provide data from the physical world. For example, IoT data feeds could be used to change the way metaverse objects operate based on different conditions (e.g. current weather), which would help increase the overall accuracy of a digital representation.
Want to know how the IoT works in practice? Here’s a good example of a smart home app
Сore characteristics of a metaverse project
Since it’s a digital world with multiple scenarios, the metaverse could have a whole range of different features. We will concentrate on the most prominent ones: interoperability, a full-fledged economy, interactivity, and persistence.
- Interoperability. The metaverse should offer unprecedented interoperability so that all created objects and avatars can be used in any of the existing metaverses.
- Full-fledged economy. Individuals should be able to create and use goods in any environment regardless of who manages it.
- Interactivity. Users should have the ability to communicate and interact with other users and metaverses.
- Persistence. The metaverse cannot be paused or reset; it should exist continually for everyone to ensure real-life experience.
Before venturing into developing a metaverse project, it is essential to gain a wider perspective of the technology’s capabilities, risks, limitations, and prospects.
With regard to this, our PixelPlex team has created a video covering the most important metaverse aspects and details. Make sure to watch it and enrich your knowledge of the sophisticated tech trend.
Things to consider before building your metaverse project
Take a look at the questions below to decide whether you need to build a metaverse project, evaluate what steps are required, and determine how to make money with it.
Where can you start your metaverse journey from?
You don’t need to jump into the development of the metaverse right away. Just keep in mind that there are plenty of opportunities to test before building an actual project. For instance, consider joining an existing virtual world like Decentraland as a guest. All you need to do is log into the system and create an avatar. It will help you better understand how virtual worlds work and get a feel for what it’s all about.
Are there any other opportunities to make money with the metaverse?
One way of making money through the metaverse without building your own project is to invest in an existing one. Decentraland, The Sandbox, and Axie Infinity are just a few of the projects that have already proven to be a success.
You can also try directly buying metaverse crypto tokens or even virtual real estate in a specific world. In fact, the real estate business in the metaverse has already shown increased potential for investment. For example, The Sandbox, a gaming metaverse project, has already attracted more than $86 million in unique non-fungible tokens and sales.
Or, you can build your virtual world on top of an existing infrastructure. Nike, for example, used Roblox’s infrastructure to build their own version of the metaverse called Nikeland.
Should you build the metaverse at all?
This is probably one of the most tricky questions, as we all know that the development of the metaverse requires significant investment and deep research. We cannot but wonder if it will eventually pay off.
Just like with any new technology, the best strategy would be to give it some time and start small. In any case, the metaverse definitely has a lot of potential, and advances in its development have already contributed to the creation of new markets, such as the sale of virtual goods and real estate. The metaverse also brings fascinating new opportunities for brands to engage with their consumers through visualizing product catalogs, delivering interactive content, and ensuring personalized service.
According to Simon Powell, Global Head of Thematic Research at Jefferies, “A single metaverse could be more than a decade away, but as it evolves, it has the potential to disrupt almost everything in human life.”
What steps should you follow to build a metaverse?
There are 3 key steps to creating a metaverse, including building the infrastructure, filling it with content, and defining standards and protocols.
- Build the infrastructure. Just like in the physical world, you should first build the underlying framework for your metaverse. The infrastructure should allow multiple concurrent users to do different digital things all at the same time. Currently, such infrastructure doesn’t exist, yet many companies are working hard to solve this computational challenge as soon as possible.
- Define standards and protocols. Your next step should be creating standards that define the way your metaverse will operate. Keep in mind issues such as transactions and security.
- Fill your metaverse with content. Once the infrastructure and standards are defined, you need to populate your metaverse with great quality content, assets, and activities.
Check out QTS – a VR real estate platform for generating 360-degree virtual tours
Top 5 companies building the metaverse
Though metaverse development is still in its infancy, here is a list of the top 5 companies taking their first steps:
Microsoft is building a series of metaverse applications on top of its Mesh platform. These are mixed and extended reality applications that integrate the actual world with AR and VR.
Meanwhile, the goal of the company is to create a work-focused metaverse inside Mesh, where users will be able to use Microsoft Teams, Windows, and other services in VR. The technology giant also aims to implement avatars and even holoportation in the work environment to improve and accelerate problem-solving.
Facebook – now known as Meta – is one of the key metaverse companies developing virtual worlds. Meta made a significant investment in the development of virtual reality by purchasing Oculus in 2014. The company is working on the development of headsets that will provide the most realistic experience possible so far. They have even created a new team focused solely on the development of metaverse projects. Their goal is to develop a digital world, where avatars can interact for business, travel, and entertainment. Considering its thriving creator economy, Meta could launch a working prototype in 2-5 years.
The Californian chipmaker isn’t directly building its own metaverse platform, yet it will be a key enabler. The company calls its solution Omniverse – a solution that connects 3D worlds into a shared virtual universe. Omniverse can be used for a wide range of different scenarios like creating real-life simulations of buildings, plants, and factories.
Apple is another tech giant working towards the development of the metaverse. The company has created a Head Mounted System (HMD) Virtual Meetings app for use in the upcoming metaverse. Apple also envisions users’ physical hand or arm movements being mirrored during virtual meetings. However, if users don’t want to show their expressive gestures, they can simply turn on the Physical Muting icon on their HMD interface.
Decentraland was among the early movers towards the metaverse. The Decentraland project is one of the best metaverse examples. It’s a 3D universe that allows players to cultivate virtual plots of land, hold concerts, and organize social activities. Decentraland’s core economy is based on blockchain. It has its own token called MANA, which is built on the Ethereum network.
Blockchain use cases in the metaverse
We’ve already stressed the importance of blockchain for metaverse development earlier in the article, viewing it as the key technology that will ensure interoperability, persistence, and a full-fledged economy. Now let’s look at some of its real use cases and applications. These would be:
- immutable in-game assets represented in the form of NFTs, allowing users to make real money inside the metaverse
- self-identity authentication,realized through blockchain technology to ensure transparency and enable users to securely store their avatars’ identities, appearances, activity history, etc., thus preventing fraud
- creator incentivization to make sure that no unfair rules govern exchanges
- real estate assets, which just like in-game assets should be regulated, so blockchain can act as an immutable record of how real estate is created, traded, etc. in the metaverse
Check out this article to learn more about top NFT projects and use cases
As we can already see, the metaverse craze will continue growing, so the sooner you step into the race the better. Though the metaverse is still in its infancy, continual advances in blockchain, AR, VR, 3D reconstruction, and other technologies significantly contribute to its faster development. In addition, popular metaverse examples like Decentraland prove that it’s a valuable investment.
Whether you are planning to develop a full-fledged metaverse project or just want to take your first steps towards the metaverse, consult our team of experienced consultants and developers and we will work out the best possible solution.