The metaverse will be one continuous cyberspace.
It doesn’t exist yet. We are in the proto-metaverse stage where many cyberspaces exist and are starting to come together. However, there is still no central, integrated space that we can all visit and explore together.
Companies are creating 3D virtual showrooms, product demonstrations, meeting platforms and collaboration tools to boost their sales and marketing efforts. 3D games with internal economies are becoming more popular. And yet, all of these 3D spaces are still isolated from each other.
The key to the metaverse is interoperability and standards. It is theorised to emerge once multiple digital worlds/platforms connect together and form a single, cohesive experience.
In this post, we’ll explore the future of the metaverse. By understanding the future of the metaverse, you can put strategies in place today that will help your 3D experiences move closer to becoming a part of the metaverse of tomorrow.
What 3D experience are companies building now
Companies are bootstrapping 3D and VR experiences that will eventually be linked in a single, shared space. Whether we intend to or not, we are laying the groundwork for an entirely new way of interacting with each other and technology by doing so.
- Virtual showrooms
- 3D product demonstrations
- 3D meeting
- VR training simulations
- VR video games
Many of these are cashing in on metaverse hype. Xiaomi for example held a 3D product launch for its Redmi Note 11 phone for their German market. They called this a metaverse platform. The experience was eye grabbing with 3D avatars interacting on a snazzy looking rooftop. Was it a metaverse? No, there’s no assets, economy or interoperability.
How to bridge branded 3D experiences into the Metaverse
Looking beyond the hype, the metaverse is really all about infrastructure, protocols and standards.
You need to be thinking about how you can:
- create assets that can be used on other platforms
- open up your own platform so it can load external assets.
The easiest way to do this is with the blockchain.
You may have only heard about blockchains in the context of cryptocurrency. And crypto is vital for decentralised blockchains, but blockchains can do much more than store the account balances of a digital currency.
Blockchains can store identities assets and any type of data
- Blockchains are a public record that anyone can read or write into.
- Blockchains are not owned by one company. Assets aren’t stored on a server that relies on a company to maintain it.
- Blockchains let you load assets onto your platform without asking the user to give up custody. They don’t need to trust you.
- Blockchains make it very easy to trade assets without trust and create an metaverse economy, or extend another economy by honouring it on your platform.
- Blockchains are a beacon of immutable truth enabling trustless coordination
If you store your digital assets on the blockchain other platforms can honour them visually and allow users to trade them without your involvement.
The asset files that you store on a blockchain are the same PNGs, JPEGs and glTF. All the user needs is software that queries the blockchain for them and adds their avatar to your 3D world.
Does the Metaverse need to be in 3D?
There are two schools of thought.
Yes and no.
The nos say that the metaverse is merely a permissionless market-network, which interconnects all user-owned digital identities, reputations, wallets, communities, spaces, and objects across platforms.
The yes believe that a platform can only be called the metaverse once there’s immersion in a digital 3D environment and futuristic looking VR headsets. Meta, Facebook’s parent company, is firmly committed to the yes narrative and with their clout, 3D might as well be seen as a core pillar of the metaverse.
Our take on the metaverse falls somewhere in the middle.
The Metaverse’s internal economies will encourage 3D and VR expereince
The Sandbox and Decentraland are two 3D worlds with internal economies. They both have their own currencies and a marketplace for trading user-created assets.
They didn’t start with VR support, but the community begged the developers for years to add it; now they have it.
We speculate that immersion in 3D spaces is an emergent property when digital ownership is added to the internet. 3D can squeeze more value out of assets by making them feel real and unlocking another dimension of information.
In the Sandbox and Decentraland, virtual land which was closer to the fashionable downtown areas sold for more money. This pricing mechanism only makes sense if there are three dimensions.
Domain names on the internet are priced by their recognisability, but in a spatial metaverse there’s foot traffic to consider as well as web traffic. That’s why land that’s near Snoop Dogg, Adidas, or the Bored Ape Yacht Club is more expensive.
We doubt that the entire internet will be 3D. A 2D product listing page is much more efficient than walking the aisles of a virtual supermarket.
3D will likely be used for product demos, novel experiences, social interactions, and explorable spaces. Anywhere there’s benefits to understanding spatial dimension, interacting and immersing yourself in virtual space we’ll see more 3D and VR.
Immersion into Metaverse
Of course, immersion is another important factor to the metaverse. It’s VR simulation that first comes to mind. In today’s digital media context, immersion extends beyond one mode of consumption and across mediums. This is exemplified through the popularity of transmedia storytelling, such as the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the Pokemon franchise. Both offer entryways to their story universes through movies, shows, games, books, comics and other canon material. Metaverses are transmedia for cyber spaces and economic reality.
A cyberspace could be a browser website, mobile app, video game, chat room or a virtual reality environment. The specific medium is not as important as the continuity of your digital identity and continuity of ownership.
Let’s wrap this up
3D and VR will become more important as we move closer to a metaverse. To bridge the gap between corporate 3D experiences and the metaverse, we need to start thinking about how to create assets that can be used on other platforms and how to open up our own platforms so they can load external assets. The easiest way to do this is with the blockchain. Blockchains are a public record that anyone can read or write into, they are not owned by one company, and they let you load assets onto your platform without asking the user to give up custody. Blockchains make it very easy to trade assets without trust and create an metaverse economy, or extend another economy by honouring it on your platform. If you store your digital assets on the blockchain, other platforms can honour them visually and allow users to trade them without your involvement. To achieve immersion into the metaverse, we need to think about how to create a continuity of our digital identity and ownership across cyberspaces.