The digital parallel universe has been the idea of the moment not least since Facebook announced its new strategic orientation towards the "metaverse" a few weeks ago alongside a simultaneous change of name to Meta Platforms. The next big thing currently being brought to life in the technology strongholds around the globe is all about virtual reality. In it, participants interact with each other as three-dimensional avatars and lead both a social and an economic life. The ultimate goal in this vision of the future is for the classic internet to be combined with elements of the real world.
Although Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has jumped ahead of this new curve, the metaverse is no one-man show: small and large tech firms alike have long been trying to secure a leading position for themselves in the race. They offer 3D worlds, Virtual (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR), gaming and of course digital transactions as well, since even in a virtual world money has to be earned. Zuckerberg is looking to invest billions in these segments over the next few years. Other prominent tech groups, too, are gradually revealing their ambitions in the market. Alphabet, for instance, has just launched "Google Labs", which encompasses its existing VR and AR projects, among others. Chip specialist Nvidia, Epic Games, creator of the "Fortnite" video game, and software giant Microsoft are likewise putting themselves in position for the putative next platform. Indeed, just recently Microsoft boss Satya Nadella announced: "The metaverse is here." He already sees programs such as "Minecraft" and "Flight Simulator" as metaverse games which could in future also exist in 3D form.
As was similarly the case when the internet began its commercial phase in the 1990s, the metaverse companies must agree on common standards because that is the only way that the virtual outfit bought for your own avatar from company A, for instance, can also be used without issue in other games or encounters. Experts can imagine the solution for this unlimited transport of digital information being found in decentral blockchain technology. Another challenge lies in the hardware. For one thing, continuous operation of the virtual parallel world demands huge amounts of computing power. For another, a comprehensive, high-speed internet is also essential. The security of the network must be guaranteed as well.
The metaverse is still in its infancy, but the latest analysis from Emergen Research indicates that high sales figures are already being achieved in this sector. In 2020 they are thought to have totalled USDbn 47.69. According to the experts, however, the global market will multiply in the coming years. The forecast suggests a value of just under USDbn 829 by 2028, equivalent to an average compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 43.3%. Emergen sees as drivers the increasing focus on the convergence of digital and physical worlds via the internet and the coronavirus crisis, which has enormously accelerated the trend towards a hybrid working world. The education industry is also set to crank up the growth in sales on the metaverse market.
Source: Emergen Research
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