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The Companies Making Big Strides in the Metaverse

by Lily White
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Metaverse is a buzzword right now, with the name mentioned daily across tech, business, and finance-related websites and publications. The name or term metaverse entered the mainstream public domain in late October 2021 when Mark Zuckerberg announced social media giant Facebook’s parent company was rebranding to Meta Platforms. Zuckerberg is focusing on creating its metaverse for its 2.9 billion active customers. But what is the metaverse, and which companies are making strides in this field?

What Is The Metaverse?

You can trace the term metaverse to 1992 when Neal Stephenson published his 21st-century dystopian novel, Snow Crash. Stephenson depicted a virtual world where residents bought and sold virtual goods and real estate using virtual-reality headsets and where users become 3D avatars in a world where they are free to act as they please.

The metaverse that major tech companies are in the process of creating mostly follows a similar path. They want the metaverse to be a vibrant, engaging, and immersive virtual world where users enter using augmented or virtual reality technology and live a different life from the so-called real world. Users will have the ability to purchase land, create products that are sold for in-game currency that has real-world value, and run businesses they would not ordinarily be able to do away from the metaverse.

The potential and possibilities of building worlds in the metaverse are endless. Nvidia, one of the companies you will learn more about shortly, believes construction companies could save billions of dollars by simulating things such as power grids and factories before they are physically built in the real world.

Does Anything Like the Metaverse Exist Now?

Does Anything Like The Metaverse Exist Now E1651322907553

Many people argue the metaverse is already here and has been for several years. The rise in popularity of NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, the buying and selling of the digital rights to images and virtual products is an example of the metaverse in action. As is the world of cryptocurrency, where digital currency, such as bitcoin and Ethereum, have real-world value. However, these are just products traded and not a world that users immerse themselves in.

Second Life is the perfect example of what most people envisage the metaverse as being. The game launched in late-June 2003, almost 19 years ago, and still boasts almost 1 million active users to this day.

Think along the lines of a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORP) but without the questlines, stories, and combat. Users enter the Second Life world and use avatars to represent themselves. They enjoy virtual day-to-day activities such as socializing with other players and creating content and services that are traded with one another using the in-game virtual currency. The Linden currency has real-world value because users can exchange Linden Dollars for US Dollars via the LindeX currency exchange.

While Second Life is the original metaverse, some companies are taking the concept to the next level, powering their platform via blockchain and introducing a new cryptocurrency to the market.

Decentraland had its initial release in February 2020 and is an example of the new wave of metaverse products. Much like Second Life, Decentraland users enter a 3D virtual world via their computer and go about their daily business. Users can purchase virtual plots of land in the world as NFTs and use them to build and create saleable businesses, products, and services. Decentraland uses the MANA cryptocurrency for financial transactions, with MANA currently trading on cryptocurrency exchanges for around $2.60.

There were 90,601 parcels of land in Decentraland’s Genesis City at the game’s launch. Those parcels changed hands for approximately $20 at launch, but their value rose sharply to almost $10,000 in April 2021 thanks, in part, to a surge in NFTs popularity. Likewise, MANA tokens were available for $0.02 when Decentraland launched but have traded as high as $5.79 on the back of Facebook’s rebranding to Meta.

The Sandbox, where the world-famous rapper Snoop Dogg owns a virtual estate, is another major player in the metaverse right now. Its SAND token currently has a real-world value in the region of $3.40.

Which Companies Are Embracing the Metaverse?

The metaverse has the potential to open trading to new markets and billions of customers globally. Therefore, it should be unsurprising to learn that several technology giants have their irons in the fire and are looking to become early adopters of metaverse products and platforms.

Roblox

The Roblox video game is already essentially an example of the metaverse. It launched in September 2006 and was initially seen as a rival to Minecraft, courtesy of it having similar blocky characters that could shape the world they are in. However, the brains behind the scenes at Roblox had other ideas, ideas of grandeur.

Roblox’s platform hosts user-created games across a plethora of genres that are all coded in the Lua programming language. Content creators, of which there are more than 10 million, earned a combined $329 million last year alone. They created custom skins for other players’ avatars, vehicles, buildings, items, and games, essentially turning large parts of the Roblox universe into a place to trade NFTs.

One only has to look at the direct listing of Roblox in March 2021, which saw the company valued at an incredible $38.26 billion. Roblox has already partnered with major brands, including the National Football League (NFL) and Nike, which will sell items to fans.

Microsoft

Do tech companies get any bigger than Microsoft? Probably not. It is difficult to imagine a world where Microsoft does not have its finger in the metaverse pie. You could argue the company is already part of a metaverse because users of Microsoft Teams users, the real-time online meeting software, can display static images and avatars on their screens.

The acquisition of Activision Blizzard for a staggering $68.7 billion in January 2022 caught the attention of the tech and gaming communities. Activision Blizzard boasts 400 million active users, many of whom already participate in microtransactions in the company’s various games. World of Warcraft is a shining example of an already existing product that could be tweaked and morphed into a metaverse. Some 4.88 million players play World of Warcraft alone. Imagine converting just 5% of those to a metaverse version at launch; you would have 244,000 customers right off the bat.

Meta Platforms

Meta Platforms, formerly Facebook, is arguably the most exciting prospect regarding the metaverse. Some 2.9 billion monthly active users make Facebook the most popular social media platform in the world. Every day, hundreds of millions of Facebook users head online to update their statuses, play games and interact with their friends, family, and followers.

Currently, this is mainly done via the written word. Still, Mark Zuckerberg envisages a metaverse where users don virtual reality headsets, enter an immersive virtual world, and hang out with each other as if they were physical with one another. Users can enjoy fitness workouts together, and chill out at a virtual bar; the possibilities and scenarios are endless.

Facebook already has the global reach to become a major force in the metaverse. It also has a Chief Executive Officer who has pledged an eye-watering $10 billion of resources to developing an industry-leading metaverse. Exciting times are ahead.

 

By David Waleed

David WaleedBio: David Waleed owns a gardening shop in Texas. He is an avid gardener and loves sharing his love of plants and flowers. In his spare time, he is a freelance writer on health and wellness.

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