The metaverse has taken tech and gaming by storm this year. The buzz has been amplifying in the past few months. However, the metaverse is not a new concept and has been around since way back in 1992. So what has spurred the recent buzz around the metaverse?
One of the key reasons for such a rapid increase in interest is linked to Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg’s July 2021 announcement of Facebook's intention to create the Metaverse we will all be using in the future. They even rebranded the company under the name meta.
Facebook already has invested interest in the metaverse through its VR company Oculus. But how close has Virtual Reality (VR) technology come to realizing the ambition of a metaverse and what will the challenges be that businesses need to consider when expanding into the metaverse?
In the real world, the question of identity is pretty straightforward. However, in a virtual environment, things get a little more complicated.
In the metaverse, there will be the question of what is used to make up a user's identity. Users will need to prove who they are to prevent identity theft and avoid bots taking over. It seems likely that bots or scammers would be able to forge facial features or even voices of users in the metaverse to steal identity and thus we will need to rely on different verification methods.
A likely contender for identity verification is NFTs. NFTs are individual tokens with valuable information stored in them. The limited technology used to create them means they are coded to be limited and made easy to verify.
Learn more about How NFTs are the Key to Verification in the Metaverse
Will currency be a challenge in the metaverse? Unless you have been hiding under a rock over the past decade you will have seen that cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin have emerged and are here to stay.
Online marketplaces such as Amazon have also become part of our day-to-day lives. These two solutions repent ideas for how marketplaces, currency and payments may work in the metaverse. However, we have to consider how these things will transfer to a virtual world.
The metaverse will need to include its own virtual marketplace that connects different digital currencies and allows for the fast and simple exchange of ‘goods’.
The key challenge with a metaverse marketplace will be to develop a new transaction verification system. In terms of technology, this is possible to implement now with the blockchain.
One of the larger challenges to overcome will likely be user confidence. Users may find they spend much larger sums of money in the metaverse than they do currently on gaming. They may want to purchase property/land and other products that come with big price tags and will need to have security and trust that their money is safe.
There are not currently any large game developers who have built their in-game economies in a way that is conducive to simple interchange. Larger gaming platforms often do not support common standards. This then makes it expensive for developers to produce content and software that works across multiple platforms. This has presented a barrier to access for many years for developers and is a challenge the metaverse will likely try to overcome.
We may find that with the metaverse it becomes easier for businesses to purchase high-quality ‘mirror worlds’. These are digital twins of physical spaces. By using scans of the real world, developers can create high-quality fantasy worlds at a fraction of the cost of developing them from scratch.
We may still be on the doorstep of entering into the age of the metaverse, setting up the metaverse for your business could position you for a great opportunity. However, like most opportunities, it comes with challenges.
It will be essential to make sure the Metaverse becomes a complimentary space, without replacing the real world we live in. And one of the largest concerns for users will be how to remain aware, safe and secure in this new vast universe. These are concerns your business should think about when investing in the metaverse, and while it is great fun to explore the creative possibilities, investment in security and privacy will be key.
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