The metaverse, a digital universe that encompasses elements of social interaction, business, and the internet, has become a popular topic of discussion among big tech companies in recent months. The potential of the metaverse has been embraced by Silicon Valley venture capital firms, startup entrepreneurs, and IT influencers alike. Many believe that this digital world represents the next great frontier for digital development, as it provides a space that is devoid of centralized control or prior audience ownership.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is among those who have spoken extensively about the potential of the metaverse. He has described it as “an embodied internet that you’re inside of rather than just looking at,” and has suggested that Facebook is actively seeking to create such an immersive universe. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has similarly mentioned the possibility of an “enterprise metaverse” during the company’s earnings call.
The merging of the offline and digital worlds that the metaverse represents has the potential to challenge the present status quo of closed-loop systems, sandboxes, and audience ownership. In this new digital environment, it is possible to see friends, invest, host a client meeting, watch a movie, or learn a new skill in one place. This presents a unique opportunity for both new and established tech players.
Many fresh and inventive players are entering the metaverse ecosystem every day. Some are gaming-related, while others bring the physical world online to a worldwide audience, allowing consumers to purchase or meet new people in new ways. Others are changing the way we think about money and investing. They all share a common trait: they are flipping traditional thinking on its head and creating entirely new models with the end in mind.
Blockchain technology is also playing a significant role in the development of the metaverse. Entrepreneur Mark Cuban has acknowledged the importance of blockchain in developing the metaverse, and has launched his NFT company, Lazy.com, a digital art gallery aimed at displaying NFTs in the same way that traditional art galleries do, with the help of Polygon Studios. A $100 million fund has been set up to help mainstream metaverse initiatives gain traction.
The metaverse’s capabilities are expanding rapidly, and the trend of allowing people to interact in the ways they want, when they want, is not likely to go away anytime soon. Polygon’s head of gaming and NFT ecosystem, Shrey Singh, has suggested that the metaverse will become “a significant part of the everyday lives of ordinary people” in the coming decade and beyond.
As entrepreneurs continue to leverage the metaverse to put their businesses front and center, the rate of development of this digital world is quickening with each passing week. Facebook is already preparing a metaverse pivot by merging its many products into virtual communities where users can connect, work, buy, and play all in one place. Their commercial products monetize them all.
The potential of the metaverse is enormous, and it is not difficult to see why so many big tech companies and entrepreneurs are eagerly embracing it. The opportunity to create a digital universe that provides a new way of interacting and doing business online is an exciting prospect, and one that is sure to be a significant part of our lives in the years to come.