This week, Eliga Services’ Senior Developer (and gaming enthusiast), Chris Jenkins, shares his thoughts on the metaverse.
Having worked for Eliga for almost two years, Chris is a valued member of our dev team. His focus is largely on Front-End Web Development. However, he’s also incredibly passionate about Game Development in Unity and New Technologies. His background and knowledge of games meant he was a natural choice for this week’s topic, the metaverse.
Towards the end of 2021, Mark Zuckerberg introduced the world to the rebrand of his company, now known as Meta. This indicates a substantial change in direction – from a social media platform to a ‘social technology company’ that will bring the metaverse to life and help people connect, find communities and grow businesses. Zuckerberg is so convinced the metaverse is the next big thing, he is willing to bet the whole company on it; spending billions and hiring tens of thousands of employees to build it.
To many, this is big news; but at the same time, the question remains, ‘What is the metaverse and are you ready for it?’
How it all began
The concept of a persistent virtual world is nothing new. In the mid-2000s, games such as Second Life and World of Warcraft provided access to three-dimensional realities. Users partook in a variety of activities in these games. In Second Life, you could purchase virtual clothing from the virtual stores, work at jobs and acquire enough money to purchase your own real estate. The game peaked at a million players; World of Warcraft managed over 12 million. Your level of success in each is determined via comparison to your virtual peers, much like in real life. Fast forward to more recent times and the idea has been made popular by films such as Ready Player One and The Matrix.
The one constant in these products is the idea of being social in a persistent world. With that in mind, it seems obvious that the next step for the king of social media is to take on the metaverse. While the reality of what Meta is creating is uncertain, a key difference from the creations of the past is the sheer amount of money involved – more than any other acquisition he has made thus far.
The metaverse will change our experience
Immersion is a key feature in persistent virtual worlds. Meta has decided that VR headsets will be the gateway to the new world, and they’re hoping the Quest device will be the top choice. While the technology isn’t as mainstream as smartphones, this is largely due to the lack of use options. Currently, only a few niche games are supported by the hardware, and it offers limited business options; but that shouldn’t be an issue if the metaverse fills the gap.
Access to VR has rapidly become more feasible. Today, you can pick up a good quality device for less than £400. People spend more on mobile phones. According to TechJury, “The global AR and VR market is expected to grow to $209.2 billion by 2022.”
The metaverse will change how we work
The pandemic has transformed the way we live. Office use has been devastated by an unwillingness to commute and a heightened awareness of safety. Zoom calls have become the norm, but they don’t have the same level of interaction as meeting in person. The metaverse could fill the gap by providing a safe space to collaborate and interact in a familiar yet virtual office environment. Unrestricted by the laws of physics, this could massively improve the offices of yesterday.
Meta’s initial examples include ‘Workplace’, a VR meeting application. In a post-pandemic world, it can be easy to see how the transition from Zoom calls to virtual meetings could be the next step. Outside of the virtual office, there are applications to watch films in a virtual cinema with other people in real-time. It wouldn’t be too hard to imagine a virtual Amazon store where you can pick up and feel the product you intend to buy rather than looking at it on a 2D screen.
As the metaverse continues to grab headlines with the likes of J.P. Morgan’s virtual lounge and HSBC buying up land, this is one trend businesses will want to watch. The arrival of some of the biggest names in Financial Services indicates that the metaverse is here to stay. More importantly, metanomics will shape how we play, relax, connect and transact in persistent virtual worlds.
At Eliga, we specialise in transformation projects. We level up company infrastructure, technology and thinking. Currently, this exists in the 2D space, but with the metaverse on its way, we could be jumping into the third dimension soon.
Have a question or want to explore a transformation project with us? Chat to one of our experts today.