Metaverse conceptually refers to a virtual reality space where users can indulge in a conversation with a computer-generated environment and other users in real-time. Although the metaverse is still in its early stages, there are several platforms and technologies in development that aim to create this interconnected virtual world a success.
Let’s have a look into some of the most popular apps, platforms, and verticals that are reshaping the metaverse and changing the way we communicate with others, play games, learn new things, and conduct business online.
Discover a virtual world filled with infinite adventures!
One of the most enchanting elements of the metaverse today is virtual worlds. These 3D environments present enormous landscapes and unlimited opportunities.
The availability of avatars takes the metaverse experience to the next level. Avatars are virtual representations of people that appear in the majority of VR apps and games. They are typically used in simulated environments, such as online multiplayer games or online dating apps. A metaverse avatar allows you to appear however you want in any environment. You are not constrained by weather, geography, or any other aspect of your physicality. You can dress however you want and try on clothing or athletic gear.
Built on the Ethereum blockchain technology, Decentraland is a 3D virtual reality platform that runs in the browser. Using MANA cryptocurrency, allows users to create, buy, and sell virtual land and assets as non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Users can interact with each other and build their own virtual experiences on the platform.
2. Somnium Space:
Somnium Space is a VR platform accessible via VR headsets or a traditional computer. Users can create and customize their avatars and interact socially with other participants from all over the world. Voice chat, text chat, and real-time multiplayer interactions are among the platform’s features, allowing users to communicate, collaborate, and form communities. It allows users to buy and sell virtual land, buildings, and other virtual items using a native cryptocurrency known as “CUBEs”.
This blockchain integration strengthens users with a sense of ownership as well as the ability to generate revenue from their virtual assets and creations. It also provides support for a variety of activities and events, such as virtual art exhibitions, live performances, conferences, and educational experiences.
A sandbox serves as a foundational element or tool that enables users to create and shape their virtual environments, objects, and experiences within the metaverse. It can allow users to build and design virtual structures, create interactive content, develop virtual businesses or economies, and even program and script complex behaviors.
Sandbox offers users a controlled space where they can experiment with different ideas, collaborate with others, and bring their virtual creations to life. It can also serve as a testing ground for new technologies, applications, and experiences. It allows developers to prototype and refine their virtual innovations before introducing them to a broader metaverse audience.
The Social Metaverse
The social aspect of the metaverse is a major driving force behind its popularity. Platforms create virtual environments in which people can interact, communicate, and share their experiences in real time using VR headsets.
1. Facebook Horizon/ Horizon Worlds:
Facebook / Meta developed a platform called Facebook Horizon which is also known as “Horizon Worlds“. This platform was primarily designed to be a social metaverse and got released as a no-cost virtual reality video game that can be played online. Users can create their virtual avatars and customize their virtual spaces.
The game uses full 3D motion via the motion capture system of the headset and two hand-held motion controllers, which are necessary to interact with objects in the game. It can be played with an Oculus Rift S or Meta Quest 2 virtual reality headset. Meta also promised the release of a web version in October 2022 so that players can access the game without a headset as well.
NBA games can now be watched for free by users of Horizon Worlds thanks to a new partnership that Meta recently announced with the league. A special NBA Arena was also included.
VRChat is known for its lively and distinct community feature that enables users from all over the world to connect, mingle, and explore user-generated worlds and experiences? Users can create their own virtual spaces, objects, and avatars using the Unity game engine.
The availability of avatars and customized appearances lets the users represent themselves or any other character they choose. Users can also engage with others in real-time voice and text conversations, join virtual clubs or hangouts, and participate in various kinds of activities such as games, events, and performances.
3. Rec Room:
Rec Room provides a social and creative VR platform where users can interact, play games, create content, and engage with the community. It supports cross-platform compatibility which means traversing across different VR platforms. Players can even create and share their games and experiences.
There are various multiplayer games and cooperative activities available, along with regular events and challenges for players to participate in. With customization options, users can personalize their virtual avatars. Rec Room also incorporates accessibility features such as options for seated play, comfort settings for those prone to motion sickness, and text-to-speech and speech-to-text communication tools.
Users of AltspaceVR can interact, go to events, play games, and participate in interactive activities while customizing their avatars on this social VR platform. It enables communication between users of various VR devices. The platform hosts a wide variety of events, such as live performances, comedy shows, informative talks, and neighborhood gatherings.
Virtual charades, trivia, and escape rooms are just a few of the interactive games and activities that AltspaceVR has to offer its users. Users of the platform can express their creativity through interactive tools like drawing and 3D sculpting. Using spatial audio technology, AltspaceVR enables users to hear and communicate with others based on their relative proximity in the virtual environment.
Note: In 2017 it was acquired by Microsoft and some elements of the platform appear in Microsoft Mesh. The service has been shut down and becomes a part of Microsoft’s Mixed Reality division (alongside notable products like HoloLens and HoloLens 2) within the Cloud and AI group.
Virtual reality has long been driven by gaming, and the metaverse is taking it to new heights.
Fortnite is an online multiplayer game where players can participate in various activities beyond core gameplay, such as attending virtual concerts and visiting live events. It allows gamers from different platforms, such as PC, consoles, and mobile, to compete against each other. players can build their worlds, games, and challenges and share them with others. It can also bring characters and items from movies, TV shows, and music into the game due to its tie-up with popular franchises. Fortnite has a dynamic storyline that evolves, introducing new locations, events, and gameplay mechanics to keep players invested and excited.
It is a sandbox game that is loved by millions. It allows players to create and explore virtual worlds together. While not traditionally seen as a metaverse platform, it has a large player base and supports multiplayer interactions, making it a potential space for metaverse-like experiences.
While not explicitly promoted as a metaverse, Roblox allows people to build their games, experiences, and virtual objects using the Robolox Studio that may be later on marketed. Customizable avatars with a wide range of clothing and accessories are available. Players can also purchase virtual items using in-game currency called Robux or create their items to sell to others. Robux can be purchased through various means, such as participating in the Developer Exchange program or selling virtual items they have created.
Multiple platforms, including PC, Mac, iOS, Android, Xbox One, and some virtual reality devices support Robolox. “Roblox Education”, an educational initiative offers coding tutorials and game development lessons. This helps younger players to learn valuable skills like coding and game design while having fun.
Augmented Reality (AR) Metaverse
Augmented reality (AR) integrates the digital world into our physical environments, as opposed to virtual reality (VR), which actively involves users in entirely virtual environments.
- The well-known social media apps link Instagram and Snapchat provide augmented reality (AR) filters and lenses that add digital effects to our selfies and videos, turning us into different characters or including interactive elements in our surroundings, such as adding animal ears, virtual masks, or animated backgrounds.
- Pokémon Go attracted everyone’s eyeballs with its augmented reality (AR) gameplay. In this game, players were asked to use their smartphones to capture virtual Pokémon in actual locations.
- Microsoft Mesh, a collaborative AR platform, enables users to interact and collaborate with others in shared holographic experiences to make virtual meetings and presentations more immersive and interesting.
Metaverse Commerce: Redefining Online Shopping
E-commerce platforms are taking advantage of Metaverse technology to provide immersive and personalized shopping experiences. It aims to give you an offline shopping experience while shopping online. The metaverse is seeing an increase in demand for virtual try-on rooms and showrooms. Users can browse products in visually appealing and interactive virtual spaces that are created by brands and retailers.
Users of virtual fitting rooms can virtually try on clothing, which reduces the need for actual fitting rooms and improves the convenience of online shopping. Users can view products in interactive product showcases from various perspectives, access more information, and even see how they might fit into their actual spaces.
It allows consumers to make informed purchasing decisions by providing virtual representations of products and creating a sense of immersion that goes beyond traditional e-commerce.
Metaverse Education: Learning that has No Boundaries
Learning is being revolutionised by immersive and interactive platforms which are as follows:
This platform provides a virtual learning environment where educators and students can indulge in conversations. Students can take online classes and work together on projects in a common virtual setting. Engage also supports multimedia content, including videos, audio files, images, and interactive elements which makes the courses more dynamic and impactful.
Students can explore historical sites, travel to far-off places, and participate in lifelike simulations that help them better understand a variety of subjects thanks to ClassVR, which offers immersive educational content through virtual reality headsets.
It emphasizes experiential learning by offering virtual reality experiences that simulate real-world scenarios in order to give students the opportunity to practice their skills in a secure and controlled environment. It also provides technology-based solutions to institutions and educators to help them improvise their teaching-learning process.
Because of the immersive and experiential learning opportunities offered by these educational Metaverse applications, students can visualize complex ideas, take part in interactive simulations, and work with peers anywhere in the world, regardless of their physical location.
The metaverse is not just a futuristic concept, it is rapidly becoming a part of our digital reality. As technology improves and innovation increases, the metaverse will undoubtedly develop further. It will start offering even more enticing applications and opportunities. Accept the metaverse revolution and get ready to set out on a journey where the virtual world becomes a vital part of our daily lives, bringing us closer together and opening up new horizons of imagination. The time has come, and it is now that we investigate the infinite possibilities of the metaverse.