Will the Metaverse be AR or VR? The Role of AR/VR in Metaverse

Photo by Maxim Hopman on Unsplash

The metaverse is at the top of the list of bold new tech ideas from the past year. The concept quickly gained fans and opponents due to the fact that it asked more questions than it answered. If you haven’t already chosen a side, it’s time to learn more about the metaverse: is it sophisticated virtual reality or something entirely new? Is it possible to imagine it without VR/AR? What advantages do you stand to get from this? Let’s take it one step at a time.

What is the Metaverse?

Since the term “Metaverse” became popular on the Internet, there has been much discussion about what it really means and how it differs from what we currently know.

The metaverse is a virtual realm where people can connect with one another using various technologies. A combination of physical hardware and software is used to accomplish this. The concept’s vision differs from company to company, but what they all have in common is a network of real-time rendered 3D worlds that a big number of people may plunge into at the same time. The Metaverse is envisioned as a virtual world in which you can work, learn, communicate, rest, and attend virtual concerts, among other things.

Much of the Metaverse is linked to the digital economy, where users can purchase and sell things in the same way they do in the physical world, and this influences brand interest in the Metaverse. Because modern individuals spend so much of their time online, promoting things on virtual platforms such as the Metaverse can be a wonderful method for businesses to raise income.

However, the concept of the metaverse is not new, and there have been numerous attempts to make it a reality. In 1992, Neal Stephenson coined the word “Metaverse” in his novel “Snow Crash.” In 2007, the Second Life project was launched, allowing users to immerse themselves in a three-dimensional virtual environment. Aspects of the metaverse are also used in games like World of Warcraft, Fortnite, and Minecraft to boost customer involvement. So why is it that this concept is resonating so strongly now, with Facebook’s announcement of the formation of the metaverse?

There are various causes for this. People are more understanding of the metaverse thanks to the widespread adoption of AR/VR technologies, the advent of 5G, and the shift to remote labor amid the Covid-19 epidemic. All of this, combined with the fact that a behemoth like Facebook began to create the metaverse, drew significant interest from investors and ordinary Internet users around the world, propelling the metaverse to the top of the year’s trending topics.

Since 2014, Facebook has invested more than $1 billion in various virtual reality firms, indicating that it is serious about establishing the metaverse and that it will be more than one of Facebook’s existing tools. Other key companies in the market, including as Snap, Nvidia, Unity, and Roblox, have begun to construct their own infrastructure to support the launch of such applications.

Is AR/VR Necessary in the Metaverse?

Metaverse with AR

Artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR) are all strongly tied to the concept of the metaverse (VR). Virtual items can be embedded in the actual environment using augmented reality technology. VR is immersing yourself in a 3D virtual environment using 3D computer modeling, one of the most fascinating styles of graphic design. While wearing a virtual reality headset or other devices isn’t required in the metaverse, experts believe that virtual reality technology will become an important part of the new ecosystem.

The Facebook metaverse, for example, is likely to be accessible via virtual reality headsets, smart glasses with augmented reality, and limited desktop and mobile applications.

The company has already disclosed that it is working on a premium virtual and augmented reality headgear codenamed “Project Cambria.” The device will support mixed reality, according to Meta, and will incorporate new sensors that will allow the virtual avatar to maintain eye contact and mimic human facial emotions. With improved technology, avatars will be able to use body language to better portray human emotions, giving the impression of real dialogue in virtual space.

The combined AR/VR industry is estimated to reach up to $300 billion by 2024, according to Statista, and $100 billion by 2030, according to Morgan Stanley.

What is the Difference Between Virtual Reality and the Metaverse?

One of the most challenging aspects of grasping the metaverse is figuring out how it varies from today’s virtual reality. In a nutshell, virtual reality is a part of the metaverse, but the metaverse as a whole is far larger. It incorporates elements of social networking, virtual reality, augmented reality, online gaming, and cryptocurrencies, among other digital sectors. Virtual reality can enable true telepresence, which differs from the video conferencing we’re used to.

The metaverse aims to transform how we consume material by transforming it from a 2D to a fully immersive, dynamic 3D environment. The metaverse, as a shared virtual area, is predicted to alter how people interact with one another by integrating the virtual and actual worlds.

It can, for example, dramatically improve communication with a virtual team, which is particularly important in a remote work setting. Ordinary video chats can also be transformed into experiences that provide the impression of a real presence in a virtual meeting room thanks to the metaverse.

Even if there are many unanswered problems, we can think of the metaverse as a large-scale, multipurpose entity that is not limited to the VR/AR experience but is fully shown when these technologies are used. The metaverse has been compared to the next generation of the Internet, giving a richer user experience, with virtual reality serving as a gateway.

AR/VR Technologies in the Metaverse: Use Cases

Most people identify the metaverse with gaming, but the metaverse’s founders’ overall goal is to transform how people interact with the Internet, thus there could be many more applications. So far, the gaming industry has been the first to reap the benefits of virtual ecosystems’ introduction. Realm of Warcraft producer Activision Blizzard, for example, has made more than $8 billion in actual money from this virtual world.

Other firms and brands are attempting to follow the trend and find ways to use it for their own goals, in addition to gaming. For example, Decentraland, a decentralized business that uses blockchain technology to market real estate in the form of non-fungible tokens (NFT), recently sold a digital plot of land for 2.5 million dollars to a Canadian investment firm. This room will be used for virtual reality fashion shows and the expansion of e-commerce services with fashion labels. This is an example of how online virtual platforms may help firms discover new marketing opportunities.

We’ve already suggested virtual office space, which may take on a new look as the metaverse evolves. Unlike Zoom and Skype, which we are familiar to, this technology reinforces the sense of the entire team being present in one location. Even though the sites above have features like image masking, which allows you to modify the background of a meeting, the metaverse goes even farther. It provides 3D rendered avatars to represent you in virtual meetings based solely on your movements and facial expressions.

Similar use cases are already available on the market. Virtuworx is a virtual reality and mixed reality business that provides tailored solutions for offices, virtual meetings, and other events.

Advertising, tourism, education, entertainment, retail, design, engineering, and many more industries will benefit from the metaverse. Any activity that takes place in the physical world has the potential to spread into the metaverse.

The Metaverse in the Future

The metaverse as a concept appears to be intriguing, but it’s difficult to predict what the future holds for it at this time. Probably, the advancement of 5G and the increased interest in VR/AR technology would create ideal conditions for something like this to be developed. However, the metaverse’s designers will confront numerous hurdles.

One of them is the interoperability of digital things, which is crucial in the metaverse’s construction. When acquiring a digital item in the metaverse, you must ensure that you own the rights to it and that you may use it across the entire virtual ecosystem, not just in a single game or on a single platform. This also necessitates the creation of a standard currency that will allow the metaverse economy to grow.

Another necessity of the metaverse is real-time data synchronization, which can be extremely difficult and expensive at scale. The metaverse will have to handle high levels of traffic and broadcast quality data while satisfying the individual security demands of each user, posing a new challenge for organizations that provide data synchronization services.

Furthermore, inadequate Internet connectivity in many areas and the expensive cost of hardware that allows you to fully exploit the metaverse’s potential raise the barrier to entry.

Despite these obstacles, firms like Microsoft, Google, Zoom, and others are willing to invest in the development of metaverse technologies in the same way that Facebook is. Microsoft, for example, has promised that mixed reality, which includes holograms and virtual avatars, will be available in Microsoft Teams in 2022.

Because the metaverse is highly reliant on virtual and augmented reality, the future of AR/VR enterprises appears to be bright. Businesses that plan to develop AR apps or incorporate virtual reality elements have a good chance of meeting market demand. The global VR market is estimated to reach $184.66 billion by 2026, according to Mordor Intelligence.

Bringing Everything Together

According to predictions made by computer enthusiasts, the metaverse will usher in a new phase in the evolution of the Internet, dissolving barriers and allowing us to fully immerse ourselves in the digital world. Because virtual reality and augmented reality play such an important part in the creation of metaverses, the market is expected to rise rapidly in the future years. If the metaverse is a virtual space, then virtual reality is a means of accessing it.

VR’s capabilities, on the other hand, are often limited by current hardware, which is both expensive and inconvenient for long-term use. AR, on the other hand, has become a go-to technology for the large-scale growth of the metaverse because to current smartphones, which have made it available to billions of people.

We still have a lot of doubts about how the metaverse will work, how big the benefits it will give, and how accessible it will be to regular people. However, if properly implemented, the metaverse can surely increase online engagement for individuals all over the world.

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