What is the metaverse, and why did the business choose this model instead of WEB 3.0

14.12.2021 |

For an article on the metaverse

Some consider the principles of the metaverse to be one of the components of the future of the Internet [WEB 3.0] (/blog/en/common/web-3-0-new-reality-of-the-internet-environment/). However, if the original principles of mixing virtual and objective reality were planned to be built precisely as part of something more holistic, now there is a certain bias in the emphasis of this particular technology. Thus, The idea can be postponed indefinitely, remaining the lot of a small group of geeks.

What is a metaverse

Before you understand why the development of metaverses can stop the era of WEB 3.0, it’s worth figuring out what it is and who might need it.

The metaverse is a connection of two worlds, virtual and real, where the actual merging of physical objects and events with non-existent entities takes place. For example, a digital avatar of a real person, with duplicates of other people, can be transferred to all corners of the universe, where various services can be used within a certain scenario. So it is possible to organize, for example, training or sports events. In a way, the above examples already exist, although their implementation cannot yet be called fully part of the metaverse.

In a direct sense, the metaverse means “beyond the universe”, and the term itself was coined and first used in his 1992 book “Snow Crash” by American science fiction writer Neal Stephenson. Later, the term was used in the literature more than once, denoting worlds where avatars of various manifestations of real people live. And the metaverse became more widely known thanks to Ernest Cline’s “Ready Player One”, and the film adaptation of the novel by Steven Spielberg in 2018.

It is important to understand that the Metaverse is a full-fledged concept of approaching the construction of a new dimension in which it will be possible to combine virtual and real worlds. To do this, it is not necessary to immediately launch a full-fledged platform, each new element: an augmented reality game or interactive group training, allows you to get one step closer to the concept of a new world.

Parts of the metaverse

The main component of the metaverse is a VR/AR helmet or glasses. Without them, it is impossible to get into augmented reality. Already, a number of companies offer similar devices, most of which are designed primarily for augmented or virtual reality games. Most IT companies are working in this direction one way or another, although Google, which was one of the first to develop a real device, abandoned the idea of everyday augmented reality glasses.

The second is software for creating virtual reality objects in the real world. The most striking example was the famous Pokemon Go game. Other studios also produce augmented reality programs or adapt existing ones. Although, to be fair, so far it’s mostly games.

In addition, a number of breakthrough technologies are needed, the concept of which is clear, but the implementation is still at a rudimentary level and has not been fully optimized. So more functional controllers are needed to transfer real actions to virtual reality. More stable communication channels of the fifth generation or higher are also required, and we must not forget about the increased security requirements, where even a small mistake or access to data by third parties can lead to fatal consequences already in the real world, and not only in the virtual world.

A simple example of the latter is that hacking a bank’s cybersystem can lead to a loss of funds, which, of course, affects the real world, but still does not have fatal consequences, but hacking a car control system through an augmented reality device can already lead to real victims among people who cannot be replenished, and even punishing the perpetrators will not be able to restore health and life to the victims.

Examples of metaverse applications based on existing technologies

Of course, the first thing that comes to mind is augmented reality games, which we have already mentioned. However, the potential of the new dimension is much broader. We will not consider this topic and the implementation mechanism, a lot has already been written about it. And here are some other mechanisms for the use of augmented realities, consider a few more details.

Virtual Museum

Already partially implemented scenario of using augmented reality. The simplest example is QR codes near the museum exhibits, pointing at which the smartphone camera can get all the information about the exhibition sample. Thus, you can do without a guide when organizing an excursion.

The second option is a virtual museum at your home. With the help of augmented reality glasses, it is possible to “transfer” the museum’s exhibition to your home. So the exhibits can be “placed” in the rooms and on the walls of the house, and a virtual guide will conduct a tour and talk about the exhibition.

Virtual education

Although distance education and online learning have recently gained some popularity, which is greatly facilitated by the coronavirus pandemic, however, the principles of pedagogy do not allow to obtain high-quality results with this approach. In order for the training to be effective, teacher and student contact is necessary, the only way the teacher can find an approach and control the understanding of the material.

This is where augmented reality technologies can come to the rescue. In this case, the students and the teacher can be in different parts of the world, while the virtual classroom will create the effect of the full presence of everyone involved in the process, and the interaction may differ little from the classical classroom with a blackboard and other teaching attributes.

This is far from a complete list of possibilities, but only a couple of social moments that can be facilitated with the help of metaverses and augmented reality. Looking deeper into the issue, you can find or come up with many more ways to use it. Everything will rest only on the technological embodiment — controllers have not already been developed for everything and mechanisms for removing and transmitting information have been thought out.

WEB 3.0 or another business project

Some tend to attribute the idea of the metaverse to the new era of the Internet WEB 3.0, but it becomes clear that if augmented reality develops before other aspects, then there is a high probability that everything will stop there.

The main idea of WEB 3.0 technology is complete decentralization. At the same time, the current incarnation of the metaverses, on the contrary, brings all information flows to a single server. Thus, instead of greater freedom on the Internet, the user can begin to transfer even more information about himself to the largest corporations, which already collect and analyze a huge amount of information about their users.

A good example, if now Facebook, which was the first to become Meta and declared itself a future metaverse, is currently analyzing the interaction with advertisements, examining the “consumed” content of the social network and the response to this or that ad, then receiving information within the sensors of the physical response to the information displayed, it becomes possible to understand how a person actually reacts to this or that event. Thus, marketing specialists have the opportunity not only to understand more precisely what the user wants, but also to bypass the “banner blindness” that has developed in many, affecting almost the subconscious.

The main problem is that corporations do not understand the principles of monetization in the WEB 3.0 space. The existing ideas voiced by the previously mentioned Facebook do not imply any decentralization, except that non-fungible tokens can be used, and then the question is still open. Therefore, users, having received the technology of the metaverse, can immerse themselves in it, once again pushing aside the issue of freedom and information collection.

Having understood everything described above, we can assume that the real WEB 3.0 will remain the lot of a relatively small group of geeks who are attracted not only by everything new, but also care about their privacy and the problem of collecting personal data in all possible ways by various market players. And until people realize that they have similar problems and begin to take them seriously, we will continue to observe the centralization and increase of methods of manipulation and management.