Technology is developing at a rapid rate. It can often be difficult to keep up, even as someone in a technological field. A lot of emerging technologies are becoming more and more abstract, so it can be difficult to understand what they are, not to mention what value they provide. Today, let’s discuss the metaverse, what it is, and potential applications we could expect to see in the future.
The metaverse can broadly be described as the culmination of interconnected virtual and augmented reality worlds that facilitate interaction among people and persist before, during, and after individuals use them.
Now, you may think this sounds familiar. Often video games, social platforms, or virtual meetings are touted around as being a metaverse and per the previous description, many of them are at least close. However, while they may meet the description, they aren’t individually what would be considered an idealized metaverse. These “metaverses” often lack connection between each other while also struggling to create seamless integration between real world events and economies with those of the digital world.
Two major reasons for the lack of an idealized metaverse are the current state of technology and lack of incentive for corporations, the main drivers of metaverse technology, to cooperate. Currently, VR and AR technology can be clunky, slow, and if worn for a long time, disorienting or even physically painful. None of this lends itself to long term immersion in virtual worlds.
As for corporations, profit incentives encourage companies to keep people in their “metaverse” as long as possible. Allowing consumers to easily jump from one to another means they are more likely to go elsewhere and just like with social media, it harms the platform if people leave so frequently. These two factors combine to cause current metaverse technologies to feel limited and for many, disappointing. However, as this is all very new technology, we can still remain hopeful that it will eventually develop into something similar to an idealized metaverse.
So the metaverse may not be here just yet, but even if it’s close, what’s the big deal? How will it impact us and why should we care?
More and more of the world is being digitized everyday. The metaverse could serve as a true digital world where we conduct business meetings, socialize, buy goods and services, and even just perform mundane daily tasks. It could truly serve as a separate world that we take part in just like we do in the physical world.
Now, I will reiterate this is far off. As I mentioned previously, technological limitations make it difficult to create an experience that would be able to hold people’s attention and provide the structure for such activities to occur. However, each day, new innovation is occurring, technology is improving, and little by little, the metaverse is becoming more and more of a real possibility.
The metaverse may not be here right now, but many people have invested a lot into getting us there. Facebook, Apple, Microsoft and many others are working to make the metaverse a reality, no pun intended. As for how you should handle it, I would start with learning more about extended reality. Extended reality will play a key role in the development of the metaverse and how we interact within it.
If you would like to experience extended reality for yourself, you’re in luck! thrivXR is an extended reality fitness club that combines XR with class-based HIIT workouts to make fitness fun, engaging, and impactful. If you are interested in trying some of thrivXR’s extended reality equipment, make sure you schedule an exclusive membership tour to be one of the first people to experience thrivXR!
By Jacob Smith