What is Metaverse?
Metaverse —— The "Ultimate Form" of the Internet
The concept of the Metaverse has its roots in science fiction or the "ultimate form" of the Internet. The term Metaverse comes from author Neal Stephenson's science fiction novel “Snow Crash”, which describes a world in which people interact with software in three dimensions as virtual images.
Conceptually, the term Metaverse is composed of Meta and Verse, with “Meta” representing “transcendence” and “verse” representing “universe”, which together usually denote the concept of "transcendent universe": an artificial space that runs parallel to the real world. Looking back at the development of the Internet, from PC LAN (local area network) to mobile Internet, the immersion of Internet usage has gradually increased and the distance between virtual and reality has gradually decreased. In this trend, the Metaverse, where immersion and participation are at their peak, is the "ultimate form" of the Internet.
Technically, based on the traditional Internet, the metaverse places higher demands on immersion, engagement, and permanence, and will therefore be supported by many independent tools, platforms, infrastructure, protocols, etc. Technology support for the metaverse: VR (Virtual Reality), Edge computing, Blockchain, etc.
- In order to achieve immersion, the metaverse requires the use of VR technology. At this stage, most metaverse platforms do not yet use VR; however, with the advancement of professional VR equipment and lower prices, it is only a matter of time before the metaverse is tied to VR.
- In order to achieve persistence, the metaverse needs to leverage edge computing technologies to ensure a similar, fluid experience for all users.
- To support the identity and economic system, the metaverse needs to leverage blockchain technology in order to build credibility.
There is no better interpretation of the metaverse than Steven Spielberg's Ready Player One. In this film, the real world of 2045 is a chaotic purgatory on the brink of collapse, and people pin their hopes on the Oasis, a virtual world in a free mega-movie with global reach. People simply put on a VR device and enter a thriving virtual world that is a stark contrast to the real world, and experience life differently.
Source: Screenshot of Ready Player One
Overall, the metaverse is a future-oriented concept, the essence of which is that as technology advances and virtual worlds flourish, it is expected that in the future, a virtual world that is more integrated or parallel to the real world will be able to provide humans with more experiences.
Metaverse Industry Chain Structure
- Application layer: not only games are included within the metaverse, but also should support economic and entertainment activities covering almost all of the real world, including social, office, shopping, etc.
- Tool layer: the open creation nature of the metaverse requires easy-to-use and powerful content building tools as support, such as the generation and import of infrastructure such as streets and buildings.
- The standards layer: the development of uniform standards for digital identity, asset properties, and economic rules is a proper part of the metaverse as an interoperable space.
- Foundational layer: technologies such as 5G and VR provide the necessary foundation for the immersive construction and immediacy of the metaverse, and technologies such as blockchain and decentralized storage provide technical guarantees for the perpetual operation of the metaverse and the private ownership of assets.
Features of Metaverse
- Stable economic system: The metaverse has an economic system similar to the real world, the virtual rights of the users are protected, the content within the metaverse is interoperable, and the virtual assets created by the users can circulate free of the platform restrictions.
- Strong virtual identity: the virtual identity in the metaverse has characteristics such as consistency and a strong sense of immersion, and users carry out virtual activities in the metaverse with a virtual identity. Generally, rely on customized virtual image, image skin, image unique features to let users produce a unique sense of immersion.
- Socially engaging: the metaverse can provide a rich online social scene.
- Open and free creation: the metaverse is all-encompassing and cannot be separated from the creative creations of a large number of users. Such a huge content project requires open user creation as the lead.
- Immersive experience: games, as the best interactive, most informative and immersive way to display content, will serve as the main content and content carrier of the metaverse. At the same time, the metaverse is one of the best application scenarios for VR devices and others. With VR technology, metaverse can bring sensory immersion experience to users.
Games: Forerunners of the Metaverse
Compared with traditional games, Metaverse provides a highly immersive, diversified and high freedom pan-entertainment experience with strong emphasis on interaction and social attributes. With a fully functioning economic system and breaking the limitations of physical space, Metaverse has more possibilities of scenario application compared to the real world and can be used as an extension of real life.
Based on the optimization and extension of games, Metaverse can provide users with a rich pan-entertainment experience. The importance of games to the Metaverse is mainly reflected in
- The fact that the construction of virtual worlds mainly relies on game technology, and the product form of games is very similar to the metaverse, which provides a way to present it.
- The game's high realism, low latency, and huge information processing technology are necessary to realize the metaverse as an ultra-large scale real-time interactive digital scene.
- Having the game as the underlying structure of the metaverse provides a more immersive, real-time, and multifaceted embodiment for the user.
Axie Infinity; Decentraland; and The Sandbox are typical examples.
Founded in 2017, Axie Infinity is a Pokémon-inspired digital pet world built on the Ethereum blockchain. Anyone can earn token rewards by participating in the game and contributing to the game world.
Axie Infinity's current product features include:
- Battling: Pets within the platform (i.e., Axie) can evolve by battling each other to upgrade.
- Breeding: Axie can have the next generation of pets by using AXS and SLP tokens.
- Land: Axie's home and campaign base. Lands can be upgraded using a range of in-game resources.
- Marketplace: a built-in Axie trading marketplace.
Founded in September 2017, Decentraland is a virtual reality platform built on Ethereum, distributed, and co-owned by users, and the first fully decentralized, user-owned virtual world. On this platform, users can browse and create content, and interact with other people and entities.
Decentraland builds a decentralized virtual space through three layers in its technical architecture, from the bottom up: consensus layer, content layer and interaction layer.
- Consensus layer: The information of LAND including ownership and flow records are all recorded on the consensus layer, i.e., the smart contract of the blockchain.
- Content Layer: The entire information about the land is stored in the content layer and is stored in a distributed manner. The specific file content includes the 3D location of the land, audio, scripts, texture structure, etc.
- Interaction layer: The important purpose of the interaction layer is to enable user touser communication and location coordination, including voice chat, location, sending messages, etc.
The Sandbox is a subsidiary of Animoca, a leading gaming company, and is a game project that allows players to build their own virtual worlds and earn revenue with their token SAND. Most of these partners have invested in land or have their own characters in The Sandbox.
The game is dedicated to building a deeply immersive virtual world in which players collaboratively create virtual worlds and games without the need for central authoritative management, disrupting existing game makers such as Minecraft, Roblox, etc. The Sandbox aims to provide creators with true ownership of their work in the form of NFT, with SAND tokens as a reward for their participation.
The metaverse will be a parallel reality that lives and breathes, exists in real time and never stops, and maybe will eventually build a world with a fully functioning economy that crosses the physical and digital. Our current digital assets, virtual content, IP and digital currencies can all pass within the metaverse, and this world will also have the ability to be fully self-driven and iterative.
Technology is developing rapidly, just as the Internet has connected 63% of humanity in just half a century, with the iteration of 5G, AR, VR, MR and other technologies and terminal devices, the metaverse may change in construction far beyond people's expectations, and the new Internet form of multi-interface, full-sensory immersive human-computer interaction, will hopefully become a reality.
- This article was organized and edited by Mexo, please indicate the source for reprint.