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Metaverse | What to eat it with and what can it give us? Metaverse | What to eat it with and what can it give us?

What happens when physical space is dematerialized? Learn about the 7 basic layers of the Metaverse that is already changing our lives.

The term metaverse was coined by American writer Neal Stephenson in his 1993 science fiction hit Snow Crash. But what was sprawling fiction 30 years ago is now approaching reality. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the company’s vision to unite communities, creators and commerce through virtual reality: “Our overarching goal in all of these initiatives is to help bring the metaverse to life.”

What exactly is the metaverse? It’s best explained as a collection of 3D worlds that you explore as an avatar. Stephenson’s original vision depicted a digital 3D world where users interacted in a shared online environment. The metaverse in Snow Crash, set in the aftermath of a catastrophic global economic meltdown, emerged as the successor to the Internet. Subcultures grew up alongside new social hierarchies, and users expressed their status through the emergence of their digital avatars.

Today, virtual worlds are being molded and populated in this very direction and are already generating serious money. Names like Roblox and Fortnite are just one example; however, many others have emerged, such as Decentraland, Upland, Sandbox.

These metaverse are peaking at a time when reality itself seems dystopian, with global pandemics, climate change, and economic uncertainty hanging over our daily lives. The pandemic in particular has caused many of us to escape reality into online worlds. These spaces have proven to be a place where human creativity can flourish in times of crisis.

In fact, we are currently experiencing an explosion of platforms parallel to the dotcom boom. While many of these fledgling digital worlds will become what Ask Jeeves was to Google, it may be that a few will match the scale and reach of the tech giant – or even exceed it.

As the metaverse brings a new dimension to the Internet, brands and companies will have to consider their current and future role in it. Some are already leading the way and creating a new genre of marketing in the process: direct to avatar (D2A). Gucci sold a virtual bag more expensive than a real one in Roblox; Nike dropped virtual Jordans in Fortnite;<a href=”https://esportsinside

r.com/2019/05/epic-games-launches-fortnite-and-nike-air-jordans-crossover/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Coca-Cola hasintroduced its avatar lines in Decentraland Sotheby’s has an art gallery where your avatar can walk around at your leisure.

D2A is supercharged by blockchain technology and the boom of digital ownership via NFT. Non-convertible tokens are already making waves in art and gaming. In the first 30 days of this year, the game Axie Infinity sold over $191 million worth of tokens. This kind of growth makes the current trends hard to ignore. In the process, blockchain and cryptocurrencies are starting to look less and less like “outside technology.” There are still big barriers to overcome – one being UX and the other being the environmental impact of mining.

A fad?

Critics see the metaverse as a pandemic fad, encapsulating it in the current NFT bubble or reducing it to Zuckerberg’s dystopian corporate landscape. Such rhetoric ignores the larger behavioral shift taking place among the alpha generation. When you watch people play, it becomes clear that the metaverse is more than a trendy word.

For the alpha generation, gaming is a social life. While Millennials are constantly scrolling through channels, Alphas and Zoomers are increasingly strolling through virtual spaces with their friends. Why spend the evening staring at Instagram when you can wander around virtual Harajuku with your friends?

Large corporations and technology companies are beginning to bet on this vision of the future. Sony invested $200 million in Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite, in the company’s latest $1 billion funding round. Decentralized crypto platform Boson Protocol paid $700,000 for a plot of virtual real estate in Decentraland to build a mall on it. The examples can be multiplied.

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These companies are investing huge sums because they see younger generations doing the same: 87% of generation Z and 83% of millennials play video games and use the digital space on smartphones, game consoles and computers at least once a week, if not daily. What’s more, over 65% of post – millenials have ever spent money on in-game items.

How is the metaverse structured?

Layer 1: Experience

Many people think of the metaverse as a 3D space that surrounds us. But the metaverse is neither 3D, nor 2D, nor even a graphical interface; it’s about the relentless dematerialization of physical space, the distances and objects that divide it.

What happens when physical space is dematerialized? Previously rare experiences can become abundant. Games show us the way forward: in a game you can dream of bliving to be a rock star, a Jedi, a race car driver, or anything else you want to be. Imagine what happens when you apply this to more familiar experiences. For example, a concert in a physical space might only sell a few front row seats – but a virtual concert can generate a personalized plane of existence around each person where you always enjoy the best seat in the comfort of your own home.

Gaming will evolve to include more and more live entertainment events, such as music concerts and immersive theatre, which have already appeared in Fortnite, Roblox and Rec Room. E-sports and online communities will be enhanced by social entertainment. Meanwhile, traditional industries such as travel, education, and live performance will be transformed into game thinking and a virtual economy of abundance.

Live events are leading to yet another aspect of the metaverse experience: the merging of content and community. Whereas customers were once just consumers of content, they are now also content creators and content enhancers. In the past, there was a concept of “user-generated content” for mundane functions like blog comments or video uploads. Now content is not simply generated by people: it emerges from their interactions and forms the basis of conversations in their communities. Content begets content: a virtual flywheel of content, events and social interactions. When we talk about “immersion” in the future, we will refer this only to immersion in a graphical space or story world, but also to social immersion and how it triggers interaction and drives content.

Layer 2: Discovery

The discovery layer is about the push and pull that brings people into new experiences. This is a vast ecosystem.In general, most discovery systems can be classified asinbound(a person actively seeks information about an experience) oroutbound(marketing).

Inbound:

  • Real-time presence
  • Community-driven content
  • N of your friends like app stores (along with reviews, rating systems and categorization/tagging)
  • Search Engines
  • Media

Outbound:

  • Display advertising
  • Spam (email, LinkedIn, Discord)
  • Notifications

Community-driven content is a much more cost-effective way to discover information than most forms of marketing. When people really care about the content or events they are attending, they will spread the word about them. As the content itself becomes easier to share, trade and exchange in metaverse contexts, it will also become a marketing asset. An example that has already emerged is NFTs. Two of their key advantages are the relative ease with which they can be delivered to decentralized exchanges, and the economics that foster more direct integration between creators and the community. Content markets will become an alternative to app markets as a new way of discovery.

Real-time presence features are a specific form. Instead of focusing on what people like, it’s about what people are actually doing here and now. This is very important in the metaverse, where so much value will come from interacting with friends through shared experiences.

Just as we are dematerializing physical reality, the metaverse is also digitizing social structures. Whereas earlier stages of the Internet were defined by the clustering of social media around a few leading providers, a decentralized identity ecosystem can shift the balance of power in favor of social groups themselves, allowing them to move seamlessly through collective experiences. Clubhouses pop up, and Rec Room parties are planned, guilds move between games, the circle of friends jumps between experiences on Roblox. This is the marketing implication of the content-community complex.

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Real-time presence detection, which includes a lot of activity in the metaverse, is one of the biggest discovery opportunities for creators. Discord has a presence detection SDK that works in a variety of gaming environments; once this (or something like it) is adopted more comprehensively and more prominently, we will increasingly move from asynchronous “social networking” to real-time “social activity.” Experiences that give community leaders the tools to launch activities that people actually want to join will pave the way forward.

Layer 3: The economics of creators

Not only are metaverse experiences becoming more immersive, social and real-time, but the number of creators creating them is growing exponentially. This layer contains all the technology that creators use every day to create experiences that people enjoy.

Previous models of the creator economy have evolved in consistent patterns, whether in the metaverse, games, web development or e-commerce:

The era of the pioneers: The first people to create experiences for a technology don’t have the tools available, so they build everything from scratch. The first websites were coded directly into HTML; people implemented their own shopping carts on e-commerce sites; programmers wrote directly into graphics hardware for games.

The Engineering Era: After early market successes, there is an explosion in the number of people on teams. Creating from scratch tends to be too slow and expensive to meet needs, and workflows become increasingly complex. The earliest tools on the market tend to relieve overloaded engineers by providing SDKs and middleware to save them time. For example, Ruby on Rails (along with a huge number of other application server stacks) has made it easier for developers to create data-driven websites. Graphics libraries such as OpenGL and DirectX have emerged in games to provide developers with the ability to render 3D graphics without knowledge of low-level coding. </p> The

era of creators: Ultimately, designers and developers don’t want code bottlenecks to slow them down – and developers prefer to focus their skills on unique aspects of the design. This era is defined by the exponential growth of developers. They are gaining tools, templates, and content marketplaces that are shifting development from a bottom-up, code-centric process to a top-down, creatively focused process.

Today, you can launch an e-commerce site on Shopify in minutes without writing a single line of code. Websites can be created and maintained in Wix or Squarespace. 3D graphics can be created in game engines like Unity and Unreal without touching the lower-level rendering APIs

– using the visual interfaces in their studio environments.

Experiences in the metaverse will become increasingly live, social, and constantly updated. So far, developer experiences are oriented around centrally managed platforms like Roblox, Rec Room, and Manticore. Beamable

‘s vision is to equip independent developers with the same capabilities, but in a decentralized and open way.

Layer 4: Sp

atial Computing

Spatial computing offers hybrid real/virtual computing that bridges the barriers between the physical and ideal worlds. … If possible, the machine in space and the space in the machine should interpenetrate with respect to each other. Sometimes this means bringing space into the computer, sometimes it means bringing computation into objects. Most of all, however, it means designing systems that cross the traditional boundaries of screen and keyboard without hanging or melting into an interface or docile simulation (Simon Greenwold, Spatial computing

).

Spatial computing has exploded into a large category of technology that allows us to enter and manipulate 3D spaces and extend the real world with more information and experiences. Jon Radoff points out that among the key aspects of spatial computing software are

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:

  • 3D engines for displaying geometry and animation (Unity and Unreal)
  • Internal and external world mapping and interpretation – geospatial mapping (Niantic Planet-Scale AR and Cesium) and object recognition
  • Voice and gesture recognition
  • Integration of data from devices (Internet of Things) and biometric data from people (for identification purposes as well as for quantitative health/fitness applications)
  • Next-generation user interfaces supporting concurrent streams of information and analytics

Layer 5: Decentralization

The

ideal metaverse structure is the opposite of OASIS from Ready Player One, where it was controlled by a single entity. Experimentation and development exponentially increase when options are maximized and systems are interoperable and created in competitive markets where developers are independent of their own data and work.

The simplest example of decentralization is the domain name system (

DNS), which maps individual IP addresses to names so you don’t have to enter a number every time you want to go online.

Distributed computing and microservices provide developers with a scalable ecosystem that enables Internet capabilities – from trading systems to specialized artificial intelligence and various gaming systems – without having to focus on building or integrating back-end functions.

Blockchain technology is freeing financial assets from centralized control and oversight – and within decentralized finance (DeFi), we are already seeing examples of financial elements being combined to create novel applications. With the advent of NFT and blockchains optimized for the microtransactions required by games and the metaverse, we will see a wave of innovation around decentralized markets and applications for gaming assets as well.

Far edge computing will move the cloud closer to our homes – even into our vehicles – to enable powerful low-latency applications without burdening our devices with all the work. Computing power will become more like a utility on the grid (like electricity) and less like a data center.

Layer 6: Human Interface

Computing devices are moving closer to our bodies, turning us into cyborgs. Smartphones are no longer phones. They are highly portable, always connected and powerful computers that have been armed with a pre-installed app. They are only becoming more powerful; and with further miniaturization, appropriate sensors, embedded artificial intelligence technology, and access to powerful low-latency computing, they will absorb more and more apps and metaverse experiences.

The Oculus Quest is essentially a smartphone that has been transformed into a VR device; this release gives us a sense of where the future is headed.

In a few years, the Quest 2 should resemble a brick cell phone from decades ago; soon we’ll have smartglasses that can perform all the functions of a smartphone along with AR and VR apps.

Beyond smartglasses, there is a growing industry that is experimenting with new ways to bring us closer to our machines:

Layer 7: Infrastructure

The infrastructure layer includes the technology that enables our devices to function, connects them to the network, and delivers content.

5G networks will dramatically improve throughput while reducing network contention and latency. 6G will increase speeds by another order of magnitude.

Enabling the unlimited functionality, high performance, and miniaturization required by next-generation mobile devices, smart glasses, and wearables will require increasingly powerful and smaller hardware: semiconductors that will inevitably move to 3nm processes and beyond; microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) that enable small sensors; and compact, long-lasting batteries.

Translation sources on 7 layers of the metaverse:

<a href=”https://medium.com/building-the-metaverse/the-metaverse-value-chain-afcf9e09e3a7″ target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>https://medium.com/building-the-metaverse/the-metaverse-value-chain-afcf9e09e3a7

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