The Metaverse Is Here! Your Questions Answered
Last October, controversial Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the Tech company Facebook was rebranding its name to ‘Meta’. According to Mark “Meta’s focus will be to bring the metaverse to life and help people connect, find communities and grow businesses”. Soon after all social media platforms were buzzing with the word ‘Metaverse’.
So what exactly is the ‘Metaverse’ and what is all the fuss about?
The Author of the 1992 Sci-Fi novel “Snow Crash” Neal Stephenson is attributed with coming up with the term “metaverse” in which he envisioned human-like avatars who convene and interact in realistic, virtual 3D buildings and other augmented reality environments.
The Metaverse will be a Virtual reality space where users will be able to meet with the help of customized avatars that make them feel more present than just a regular video call. You’ll be able to go to school, shop, attend events, go on vacations and even go on dates in the metaverse with the help of the internet and Virtual Reality equipment.
If you’ve watched the 2018 movie Ready Player One or if you’re into Virtual Reality gaming like Roblox and Fortnite, then you have a rudimentary understanding of what the Metaverse will look like.
Meta, Facebook’s parent company, was the most popular app in Apple’s App Store on Christmas Day because of their Virtual reality app ‘The Oculus’. It is the app users download to navigate the Oculus Virtual Reality headset, and it is an indicator that the Meta’s VR headset was a wildly popular tech gift over the holidays.
We asked our readers on social media what they’d like to know about the metaverse and what it would mean for Kenyans in the near future.
Flora, an editor in Nairobi asks, When will Kenyans start experiencing the Metaverse? When will it get here?
According to Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Meta (formerly known as Facebook), he estimates it could take up to a decade before the mega features of their metaverse go mainstream. Some aspects of the metaverse currently exist. Like fast broadband speeds, VR sets and virtual gaming worlds are up and running even though they are still only accessible to a few people.
College student Philip asks, Will we have different kinds of Metaverses?
Organizations such as Sony, Facebook, Apple Decentraland and Microsoft have all announced their plans to create Metaverses.
In 2021, Nvidia announced to the public that its Omniverse Enterprise will enable creators to collaborate on different projects like Design, simulation and 3D modeling. The company Decentraland has been advocating for the mainstreaming of the metaverse since it was established and has recently stated that they have recorded virtual real estate sales worth more than $1 million! The company that brought us Pokémon GO, Niantic, has also ventured into building a gaming metaverse for players. They announced that they had raised an investment of close to $300 million for developing its own metaverse.
Pam, entrepreneur, asks how the Metaverse will impact small clothing businesses like hers?
There’ll be immense benefits of the Metaverse for digital commerce. Sellers will be able to combine physical and virtual products. This will include the establishment of virtual stores and even entire malls where customers can browse shops and even try all kinds of virtual goods. Clothing, footwear, eyewear, cosmetics and all kinds of accessories will be sampled and worn by our metaverse avatars so we can get a feel of how we’ll look like in a particular ensemble. This way, buyers are able to experience a 360-degree view of how these items will look on them instead of having to deal with the limitations of traditional digital commerce. Pretty cool huh?
Eric Kamau, father of three asks, What could possibly go wrong in the metaverse?
The metaverse is not going to be some utopia sadly. It can also be absolute hell where the current problems of Social media platforms like harassment and misinformation are augmented. It is already happening in Virtual Reality gaming rooms and could get worse if the Metaverse companies don’t find a way to rein in the menace early enough.
The Metaverse will mean different things for different people. It’s exciting and scary to imagine what the future holds. What will you be looking forward to experiencing in the Metaverse? Tell us at firstname.lastname@example.org