In this article, we decide to go to one of the hot topics these days, the concept of Metaverse. A term that is still a long way from reality, and many consider it an alternative to today’s Internet. Rumors of a name change on Facebook have been circulating for a long time. News that perhaps few expected to hear, and many attribute it to the company’s recent scandals over the disclosure of users’ personal information. After all, Facebook is one of the founders of social networks and, more broadly, the Internet experience today, and a sudden name change was not something that users could easily digest. The incident finally happened on November 6, and Zuckerberg unveiled the company’s new name, Meta, during an online conference. Of course, this name change was only for the main company that owns the social networks Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp messengers, but it still made a lot of noise in the world of technology. The renaming of the company was very clever in many ways; Because it no longer mattered to anyone why Facebook had made this brand change, and now what mattered was Meta’s name and Zuckerberg’s statements about the future of the company and Metavars. Introducing the name Meta, Zuckerberg spoke of the company’s ambitious ideas for the Metavars project and the future of virtual reality headsets, and once again turned the world’s attention to the company.
Facebook has spoken many times before about the future of Oculus headsets and their interest in the development of virtual reality technology and the meta-world, and the Connect conference was the best excuse to once again, once again on a global scale, focus on the world and their ambitious ideas. Of course, the term Metaverse, or the concept itself, is not merely coined by Zuckerberg and the Facebook collection And this idea has been in the minds of people and people active in the field of technology for many years. In this article, we are going to take a look at Metavars and what exactly is this term supposed to give us? Is Metavars the same as virtual reality or augmented reality games, or is it supposed to be something beyond that?
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What is Metavars?
Metavars is supposed to be a virtual network where users can interact with each other and with other components of their environment. In fact, Metavars is similar to an online role-playing work that combines various aspects of social media, video games, virtual reality and augmented reality technology, and ultimately blockchain. With the expansion of Metavars, different virtual spaces will be created in which users, instead of being an observer, interact with all its components on the border between the real and virtual world. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, said during the Connect conference on October 28th, announcing his new company name (Meta) about Metavars: “At Metavars, you can do anything you can imagine; Get together with your friends and family, work, train, play, shop, create content, and experience all the different experiences we could not have imagined with today’s mobiles or computers. “In the future, you can quickly be teleported to different places as a hologram image, go to various conferences with your friends, and attend your parents’ house.” Many people see Metawares technology as an alternative to the future of the Internet, and people like Zuckerberg are working hard to make that future happen quickly.
Meaning of Metaverse and naming history
It is interesting to note that like many other technologies today that were imagined by various authors in their novels in the past, Metavars has similar conditions. Neal Stephenson was the author who first coined the term “Metaverse” in the 1992 novel Snow Crash. The main character of this novel is a person named Hiro Protagonist who, along with other people, can enter the world of Metavars by wearing special glasses. In Stephenson’s meta-world, each person is in the form of an avatar in a three-dimensional, virtual world that can interact with other people. Of course, Snow Crash was not the first novel to address the concept of metavars. Many years before the publication of Snow Crash, William Gibson, in his famous novel Neuromancer, referred to an imaginary world called Cyberspace, in which in many ways the signs of a metatarsal world can be seen.
The term “metavers” was first coined in a novel called Snow Crash
Metavars in the cinema industry
It was in 1999 that the film Matrix made a lot of noise in the world. A film that narrates a future in which the normal life of humans has been destroyed by war with machines, and now these machines have introduced humans into a virtual and imaginary world by creating a virtual world called the Matrix. In fact, the matrix world is very similar to the meta-universe we are talking about today; The idealistic world that humans enter through technology and in the form of a complete avatar (in the matrix of avatars is actually the ideal version of the physical body of every human being) can go about their daily lives. Another work that most of us have probably heard of in recent years is Ready Player One. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline was published in 2011 and attracted a lot of attention. This novel introduces a world that is in the midst of an energy crisis and global warming in 2045, and has caused social problems and economic recession to spread sharply. In the meantime, people have taken refuge in a virtual world called OASIS to get rid of the scary world around them with the help of a virtual reality headset, in which they can experience different lives in the form of different avatars. In 2018, a film adaptation directed by Steven Spielberg was made of this novel, and two years later, the second volume of this book was published under the name of Ready Player Two. Finally, we come to the latest film based on the world of Metavars, “Free Guy”, produced in 2021. Inspired by the GTA series, the film narrates the life of a happy character named Guy, who after a while realizes that the world she is in is not real and is just a multiplayer online video game. A world where, along with NPCs like Guy, users are present with their avatars and have special abilities compared to NPCs simply because they wear special glasses.
Conceptual definition of Metavars
Facebook (or Meta) has been talking about Metavars and its future in various circles for some time. “Metavars is a new phase of the virtual communication experience that uses technologies such as augmented reality and virtual reality,” they announced at a news conference on October 17th. The idea is to bring online interactions closer to personal interactive experiences by creating a deeper sense of virtual presence. In fact, the interest in Metavars can grow with the presence of investors and companies that want to be part of this future. Zuckerberg said in an interview with The Verge before the unveiling of his new company name: “Metawares is going to be the main focus of Facebook and this technology is going to be something that will develop and grow after the mobile internet. “Well, I think as much as our company is counting on it, the next chapter is going to be Facebook.”
A game designer named Raph Koster has separated the categories related to Metaverse with titles such as Multiverses, Online Worlds and Metaverses. According to Custer, Online Worlds are digital spaces that range from detailed 3D environments to text-centric spaces that focus on a specific theme. In her view, multiverses are different worlds that are interconnected in a network and do not have a common theme or rules, for which, perhaps, the OASIS world of the novel Ready Player One can be exemplified. Finally, we have Metavars, which is actually a multiverse that is more integrated with the real world around us. At the moment, tech companies talking about Metawares are usually focused on digital platforms that include:
- A set of features that overlap with old web services or real-world activities.
- Simultaneous 3D computer graphics and personalized avatars
- A set of personal social interactions that are less competitive and more goal-oriented than stereotypes.
- Support for users who create their own items and virtual environments.
- Connect with real-world economic systems so that people can benefit from virtual goods.
- Designs that are suitable for augmented reality and virtual reality headsets, even if they can cover other hardware.
One of the most important features of Metavars is the presence of users in it, which is supposed to happen by avatars. “It’s important that you can insert your avatars and digital items into different software and experiences,” Zuckerberg said in an interview with Metawares Avatars. Let’s give an example to make this clearer. Roblox is an internal platform similar to Metaworz, where you can transfer avatars and items between applications. Your Roblox avatar and accessories (provided via the in-game digital currency, Robux) will remain with you, no matter what gaming experience you choose while using Roblox. This is one of Roblox’s major achievements in the last decade. You are no longer going to enter the worlds of other players with famous characters like Mr. Chief or Lara Craft or prefabricated avatars like Fortnite. In fact, you use your Roblox avatar to express your moods in any type of game you experience while using Roblox.
Roblox is very similar to Metavars, but still not the Metavars that Zuckerberg described: “You want to make sure that when you buy or build something, your item can be used on many platforms and services, and not just a specific world or platform.” Your Roblox avatars and items can only be used in this service. A real metamorphosis is one that takes your personalized Roblox avatar and inserts it into Facebook (or Meta), Minecraft or Fortnite, or into a Netflix online cinematic event. No company or CEO can do this alone, and to achieve such integration in the world of Metavars must be done in collaboration with large technology companies.
However, using the same avatar in different worlds does not seem so easy. Imagine that you want to buy a hat for your avatar. The design of this hat may look as beautiful on a legume platform as Roblox, but in a pixel world like Minecraft it makes no sense at all. Or do you really want to bring Bruce Wayne avatar from Batman: Arkham series into a Batman logo game? Currently, a platform like VRChat allows users to enter their 3D models as avatars into the service world, which requires the user’s own software skills. In fact, it’s very similar to Stephenson’s meta-creator. Even the creators can create a way to change the user’s avatar in any model that suits the atmosphere of the Metavars world, and synchronize with it, a similar method that we can see among the characters of Super Smash Bros.
In addition to different places, you can travel to different time periods through Metavars
Leaving aside the Metavars avatars, we come to the possibilities that this world can provide us. In addition to creating different worlds and putting them in front of users, developers can move them around at the same time. Marne Levine, Head of Meta Business, says: “In Metavars you will be able to not only teleport to any place, but also travel in time. Suppose you go to ancient Rome. “Imagine standing in the streets, hearing the sounds, visiting the markets, and feeling the feeling of life 2,000 years ago.” Assassin’s Creed Origins and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey both offer close-up experiences from 2000 years ago in their various categories. Both games allow players to roam freely in the vastly designed world of Egypt and Greece, which includes standing in shops, observing famous mansions and structures, and even learning historical lessons from them. Now imagine that by wearing an augmented reality or virtual reality headset, you can feel the world of these games closely and be able to interact closely with the characters and their environment.
Undoubtedly, Metaverse can have a special place in the technology industry in the future to the extent that it has been defined so far. Proponents of meta-theory see the concept as the next step in the development of the Internet today. A company like Facebook is currently investing heavily in VR and AR technologies and developing hardware such as Oculus VR, AR glasses and technology bracelets. Of course, other big tech companies like Microsoft, Apple, Google and Amazon will not sit idle in this direction and will take a big step in creating this vision in order not to lag behind the competitors.
Defining the concepts of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR)
So far, it has been mentioned in various sections of the article that the future of Metavars is tied to augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies. Technologies that have been around for several years in the world of technology and entertainment and are expected to be more tangible to users as technology advances. Augmented reality is a technology that incorporates visual, audio, and other stimuli that enhance the user experience through the real world. AR can be easily provided to the user through a mobile phone and people can fully control their presence in the real world. For example, you have Pokemon GO, which combines virtual Pokémon that you can interact with by combining a mobile camera with a real-world environment. Microsoft is one of the companies that has opened a special account on this technology in the last few years. In 2016, they released the first version of the HoloLens augmented reality headset (according to Microsoft augmented reality). A headset that actually followed in Kinect’s footsteps, and this time users could use the software and gaming environments in the real world around them. In 2019, they introduced the second generation of this headset called HoloLens 2 with more powerful hardware, and finally, with the introduction of Microsoft Mesh service, they showed how much they have invested in this technology in the future.
On the other hand, we have Virtual Reality technology, which is considered a complete virtual experience and improves imaginary realities. VR technology always requires a headset, and it is the users in its world that are controlled by another system. In addition to Oculus VR, which is exclusively dedicated to PC hardware and games on this platform, we have the PlayStation VR virtual reality headset that provides users with the best possible VR gaming experience. Wearing these headsets, users enter a virtual world and can experience the world around them in a different way by being the main character of the game. Of course, years after the launch of these headsets, this technology still has a long way to go before we reach adulthood, and we have to wait and see what role they are going to play in shaping and developing the Metavars world.
The three main aspects of the meta-world
There are three main aspects to the concept of meta-transformers, each of which is a key feature of this technology: Presence: In fact, you should feel real and present in Metavars in cyberspace and among other components. Numerous studies show that this sense improves the quality of virtual interactions. It is clear that this feeling of visualization and presence is transmitted to the user through the screens of the headsets that are placed on the head.
Interoperability: This aspect of Metawares means that you can easily travel in the virtual spaces of different systems of different virtual worlds. That is, Metavars must be an integrated world in which you can be present in different parts of it with the same avatar and be a single person in all of them. For example, the ReadyPlayerMe service allows users to create a single avatar to be present in different virtual spaces and use their features. For example, you can use Animaze to enter Zoom sessions.
Standardization: Every system, service, and platform needs to apply standardization to each of its components. In fact, this aspect of Metavars causes the Interoperability section of various Metavars platforms and services to start working. It is interesting to know that international organizations such as the Open Metaverse Interoperability Group have been created to create bridges between the virtual worlds by designing different protocols.
Possible uses of Metavars
If we were to make a list of possible uses for Metawares, we might need a long list. The Metavars dream’s seems to have no limits and it is only the way its various parts are implemented that makes the project take longer to achieve. In fact, an ideal meta-switch allows its users to perform any activity they want, meet any need, and apply to everything you can imagine.
In Metavars you have the same avatar through which you can appear in different virtual worlds. In fact, your avatar is your identity in this world.
In business, Metavars can be used for virtual office platforms, where people can be present virtually in a three-dimensional, office-like space. Currently, Facebook’s Horizon service workshops and Microsoft Mesh service are the best examples of Metavars commercial use. With these tools, people can do their work without physical presence at work and virtually from any location.
If we evaluate the Metavars from an educational point of view, it can be used for large sections of any place and any historical point. In 2021, Nvidia developed an infrastructure project called Omniverse that allowed developers around the world to collaborate simultaneously and produce Metawares content software. In fact, in Metarus, users can easily interact with each other, help other people with different tasks, and take advantage of various video and educational content.
Undoubtedly, in addition to work and educational discussions, one of the most important aspects of Metavars includes its social media and entertainment sections. The part where users sit next to each other, interact with each other and engage in different experiences. Imagine entering the world of metavars wearing a headset and gathering with your friends around the world and experiencing a hobby, a sport or a common sense up close. Now and in recent years, various creators have tried to create various VR effects by using virtual reality headsets to bring players into the virtual world created by them, among which there have been various successful and entertaining examples. But Metaverse goes even further. You will have an identical avatar with which you will be in a vast, integrated and ever-living world. In fact, Metavars will always be present and it is you who visit it from time to time. Imagine there is a place that simulates the life of ancient Greece, or even a place that, like Cyberpunk 2077, takes you into a world years later where you can interact with other players, do missions. Make money on it and personalize your digital and virtual world with it.
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Metavars vs Internet
As we said at the beginning of this article, many people in the tech industry cite Metavars as an alternative to today’s Internet. Is this statement true? So if that’s the case, what about today’s internet and the sites we visit? Mark Zuckerberg says in an interview that Metawares will be an upgraded version of today’s Internet where people experience a different world that they do not necessarily have to do in two-dimensional applications and regular web pages. Epic Games co-founder Sweeney’s team has a similar view, arguing that Metavars is like the world of an online game where people can join their friends and experience multiplayer games like Fortnite. Watch movies and do other things through a service like Netflix. Well, obviously, if you were in a place where you could experience these things, it would be something like the Internet today.
Many techies see the Metavars as a replacement for the Internet today, but is that entirely true?
Undoubtedly, one of the superior features of Metavars is the sense of presence that it induces in the user. In this technology, instead of watching from behind a page, you feel like you are physically interacting with different people and places. The feeling of being around a virtual desk with colleagues like Spatial or Horizon services is far more enjoyable than the experience you get with zoom software.
It may be possible to compare Metavars with mobile internet, which in recent years has replaced traditional websites with great services, but still has not completely obsolete platform options. Of course, traditional and asynchronous text-based Internet always has its own advantages. Because VR headsets, powerful computers, game consoles that cover the vast details of the virtual world are naturally expensive. On the other hand, people who do not have high internet speeds may see avatars in the meta-world that are moving strangely in the world at the same time. Or people who are visually impaired or blind use the ability to read web pages to read text, while in a world based on images, These people may face serious problems. Of course, companies that specialize in accessibility can come up with solutions, but there is still a long way to go.
Similar games to Metaworld World
Many of the phenomena we hear about Metaverse are not new, and have been present to us in various forms before. Nearly two decades ago, users digitally appeared on Second Life, selling various items, interacting with other people, and launching educational schools and careers in different worlds. There were other three-dimensional social spaces, such as CyberTown, that were older than Second Life. Even before that, in the 1970s, text-driven virtual worlds had emerged that were considered meta-transformers.
Perhaps the main reason why Metavars has re-emerged over the years is the advancement of 3D graphics, the proliferation of high-speed Internet and technology, which has grown significantly since the release of Second Life in 2003. Many video games today are presented as service-oriented works and try to encourage their audiences to stay on their servers by publishing various updates and sometimes by simulating a real life. Other works, such as League of Legends or Overwatch, have made many different changes to their gameplay and game since their release, and their creators have tried to provide a more dynamic experience to the audience compared to other video games. Fortnite, on the other hand, is perhaps the best example of how the creators are trying to add to their audience day by day by creating something more than just a Battle Royale game. Fortnite is a long way from the experience of the first day, and now players can watch movies, go to concerts with different singers, experience a simultaneous online event, and interact with each other. Of course, this may not be as much as Zuckerberg’s definition of Metavars, but on a simpler level, many games can be described as Metavars, in which players share experiences with other users in the form of their avatars. From Microsoft Minecraft to The Sandbox blockchain, each offers its own world of players where users can shop, live, train and do different things. Now imagine that all these worlds are connected to a single service and players are present in all of them with the same avatar. An integrated service that lets players enter their world using their virtual or augmented reality headsets and experience a different and new life.
What is the role of cryptocurrencies and NFTs in Metavars?
One of the most important issues in the world of Metavars is the exchange of items and the currency in it. Today, the issue of cryptocurrency, and in particular blockchain, has undoubtedly found a special place among technology artisans. At present, various digital currencies are known as the Metavars infrastructure, which after the news of changing the name of Meta with news hype, their prices also saw a great increase. Digital services that each try to provide different services to their audience in the context of blockchain.
Duplicate tokens are actually the digital ownership of a product or item.
An example is Bloktopia, which is supposed to be a 21-story virtual tower in the Metaverse world where companies can purchase booths on different floors and serve users in a virtual world. A service that may be in its infancy right now, but without a doubt, with the passage of time and the advancement and spread of technology, can become one of the stations of presence of people in the world of Metavars. Let’s get back to digital currencies. Currencies that will undoubtedly play a very important role in the world of Metavars. You live in a virtual world where you have to buy and sell virtual goods. The use of decentralized digital currencies allows you to buy and sell your favorite items in an encrypted context in a digital and virtual space, without having to worry about problems with currencies.
Along with digital currencies, the term that has come to the fore these days is non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Unprecedented tokens, or NFTs, are one of the newest blockchain technology phenomena that is rapidly expanding in the digital encryption world. NFTs are actually a way of registering and owning a digital product. Undoubtedly, the production and transfer of digital goods in the world of Metavars is of great importance, and therefore NFTs can be considered as one of the foundations of the world of Metavars. For example, if you purchase a virtual T-shirt on the Metavars A platform, NFT can be a permanent receipt for your product and allow you to use the same T-shirt on various other Metavars platforms. Many NFTs now have two-dimensional art avatars that users can use as their profile picture. But there are also companies like Polygonal Mind that allow users to purchase 3D avatars via NFT through the CryptoAvatars service and use them in different parts of the virtual world.
It is interesting to know that the number of games in the blockchain platform is increasing every day. Axie Infinity, for example, is an NFT-based online game in which players can raise creatures called axies. These creatures actually exist digitally in the game with unparalleled tokens, and players must use in-game digital money (AXS and SLP) to obtain them. In fact, buying these creatures, breeding them and selling them at a higher price is one of the ways for players to earn money from this game and similar games, which is rapidly increasing in number today.
Metavars needs powerful and peripheral hardware
As mentioned earlier, you now need powerful and usually expensive hardware to experience the Metaverse, which may not be accessible to every user. Of course, people like Zuckerberg believe that once the Metavars become a reality, these devices will no longer be the main focus of developers and users. And then the focus will be on hardware (headsets) that will allow any user to easily navigate and navigate the world of Metavars.
It goes without saying that during the Connect conference, Facebook announced that it was working on a new virtual reality headset codenamed Project Cambria. The headset is supposed to be more powerful and more expensive than the company’s Oculus Quest 2, which currently retails for $ 299. The Cambria will include capabilities not currently available on VR headsets on the market. There are new sensors in this headset that allow your virtual avatar to make eye contact and even display your facial expressions. So that people who are in contact with your avatar can understand your feelings well. Facebook claims that this headset will have a very high image quality and will put objects in the physical world in front of users with full depth and perspective.
There is still a long way to go before the advent of metavirus and its epidemic
At the moment, from the point of view of a company like Meta, Metavars can be recognized as the successor to the mobile Internet, which has been in power for almost a decade. According to Zuckerberg, the development and transformation of this technology into reality takes about 5 to 10 years, most of which is related to the preparation of various infrastructure systems that can make this service available to the public. Equipment and hardware that make all users (not just a certain class) can feel the presence of the border between the real and virtual world by entering Metavars. So with that said, we still have a long way to go to see this service become a reality. At present, the fifth generation of mobile networks is not yet mature enough and many countries and many people are still deprived of high speed internet experience. In addition to the above, the high price of the hardware required for the Metavars experience (the most important of which is an acceptable headset), is one of the main obstacles to the spread of this service among users around the world. With the proliferation of blockchain technology and decentralized services, we are still in the early stages of launching the third generation of the Internet, known as Web 3.0, and Zuckerberg’s prediction does not seem to be far-fetched.
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- January 19, 2022