It is not necessary to be an analyst or an IT specialist to notice the speed the Internet is changing with and the change in the ways of interacting within it.
Over the past few years, we have highlighted several important changes that indicate that the digital world will no longer be what it used to be. First the post-covid burst of remote communication in all areas, then the NFT explosion, and, of course, the regular news about web3 and the metaverse. It seems like just a bit more and we’ll catch ourselves in the opinion that a new reality has arrived.
We will try to share the information that everyone who wants to stay afloat or jump on the metaverse wave with a new idea should know in this article.
The metaverse: meaning, application, perspective and construction
The term “metaverse” does not have a stable definition yet. It is accepted that it is decentralized cyberspace with a network of ecosystems that allow users to act and interact with a full sense of immersion.
At the same time, the metaverse is not identical to the game model of cyberspace, but rather becomes a reproduction of real life in the virtual world – with the transfer of all its processes. So, this place will become an equivalent of a digital reality, where people can do all their online activities (work, play, shop, communicate, etc.), and the new experience will provide them with a sense of presence. The user will no longer be an observer but will become part of the process, as his 3D avatar will permanently act within the system.
Characteristics of the metaverse
Famous venture capitalist Matthew Ball, who has written a lot about the metaverse, describes the following hallmarks of a realized metaverse:
- Persistence. The metaverse will not reload, stop, or end. Like real life, it will last indefinitely.
- Synchronicity. The metaverse will provide a living experience consistently for everyone in real time.
- Dimensionlessness. There is no limit to the number of users in a single location or time period.
- Functioning creative economy. Every individual and entity will be able to create, own, invest, sell, and be rewarded for a wide range of activities that produce “value” and are recognized by others.
- Empiricism. It will provide experiences that include digital and real world, private and public networks, open and closed platforms.
- Compatibility. On the metaverse network, absolutely all of your data and any assets will be compatible and cross-platform.
- Diversity of content. A wide range of users will form content and experiences in the metaverse. This will include independent individuals, informal organizations or commercial enterprises.
Therefore, it will be a new way of virtual interaction, which can safely be called revolutionary.
Fields of activity and prospects for the metaverse
Although the metaverse concept is still in its formative stages, its potential is enormous. The following examples of activities in the metaverse are already known:
- The evolution of blockchain use. The expansion of the use of blockchain technology is perhaps the most interesting prospect. It is a blockchain that allows users to protect their digital assets in virtual reality. Users can create and sell digital assets in the form of NFTs, as well as benefit from the domestic economy using cryptocurrency. Without blockchain technology, the idea of a complete virtual ecosystem cannot be realized. Among the most famous examples of blockchain and crypto-projects in the metaverse, let’s highlight:
- The Sandbox – an Ethereum-based metaverse with its own SAND token.
- Decentraland – a 3D metaverse where users can buy and equip virtual plots of land, organize events and create digital content. The main digital asset in the game is virtual real estate (LAND). Also, it has its own cryptocurrency token ERC-20 (MANA).
- Enjin – a metaverse that runs on a blockchain and allows you to develop software to create NFTs based on Ethereum.
- Marketing. The metaverse is a field for exclusive marketing opportunities. For example, Anzu used ads to track real-time views in gaming environments on mobile and console platforms. And Roblox has begun placing ads for Paramount+ and WarnerMedia brands.
- The entertainment field. The younger generation of users has been particularly interested in this area. They will probably be the ones driving the growth of the metaverse. Ariana Grande’s 2021 concert series in the Fortnite game universe and similar events hint at what the metaverse will look like. You’ll also find information on successful shows in the metaverse from Justin Bieber, Marshmello and Travis Scott celebrities.
- Business process improvement. Organizations across industries are already using augmented reality (AR) to improve operations. In particular, the United Arab Emirates has opened a police department in the metaverse.
In addition, we are talking about the potential of the metaverse in the areas of improving education processes, business communications, tourism, customer experience changes, the new economy, virtual real estate, and entirely new markets.
Here is how analysts and cutting-edge IT entrepreneurs evaluate the potential of the metaverse:
- Gartner thinks that “by 2026, 25% of people will spend at least one hour a day in the metaverse for work, shopping, education, social media and/or entertainment”.
- Mark Zuckerberg has already lost more than 10 billion since announcing the development of Meta but says it’s all part of the plan to build a metaverse over the next decade.
- According to a report published by Allied Market Research, the global market for the metaverse was estimated at $41.9 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach $1,237.0 billion by 2030, growing 40.4% from 2021 to 2030.
We can conclude that the metaverse will make every sphere that plans to survive to evolve.
Developing a metaverse
The development of the metaverse requires a large-scale mix of technology, protocols, innovation, and discovery. Roblox and Epic Games, advanced companies in terms of attracting to the metaverse, usually state that the metaverse cannot be monopolized and that the main drivers of the metaverse will be the user, not the companies. At the same time, Mark Zuckerberg from Meta believes that in the future the question of “whether to develop a metaverse or not” will be senseless. However, it is clear that the giant companies expect to have an equal impact in the metaverse as they have today.
It is clear that as different companies and entrepreneurs are technologically and materially capable, there will still be a number of limitations and privileges of opportunities. All in all, the development of a metaverse is a long, high-tech process that requires a lot of time, data, and material and human resources.
Next, let’s talk about the most discussed option of reducing the cost of building a metaverse.
Cloud service business models and the prospects of Metaverse as a Service
Cloud services are platforms and applications that function on cloud providers’ servers. They are all made on the principle of “remote” computing. There are different ways to implement this principle. It all depends on the purpose of the resource, the needs of the user, and the functionality. The three most common models for using cloud technology are the following:
- Software as a Service (SaaS);
- Platform as a Service (PaaS);
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).
SaaS is the most popular model as of now. SaaS services offer software that does not require downloading and installation on personal computers. To take advantage of the necessary features, all you have to do is open an online resource. The monetization model is pay-per-subscription.
This format has already become indispensable for users because it has given a number of significant advantages that have simplified the lives of companies and private users. In particular:
- Accessibility via the Internet regardless of time or location;
- Reduced costs for system administrators, hardware and software upgrades, all of which are the responsibility of the provider;
- Regular small payments, instead of large, one-time purchases;
- Fast scalability due to the use of virtual resources;
- Various levels of user access and permissions;
- Comprehensive maintenance and technical support.
Perhaps you’ve already figured out where we’re going and how this topic relates to metaverse development.
MaaS as a perspective of total access to the metaverse
So, our initial elements are:
- The metaverse is an inevitable topic that everyone is investing in, discussing, and which is predicted to revolutionize digital reality.
- Interested entrepreneurs, startuppers, investors and others who plan to scale and grow in the digital realm.
- The problem – is the huge cost and complexity of development from scratch.
The solution seems obvious. A service has been created that would decrease the development cost and increase the number of users who can enter the metaverse with their creative ideas.
The following format is proposed: a company provider develops a variety of software, tools and solutions necessary for the quick development of the metaverse infrastructure.
These components can be easily configured and implemented in various combinations to create metaverse ecosystems. MaaS components are custom-built to meet a variety of requirements that may arise in the development of metaverse ecosystems.
In this way, for a certain amount of money (obviously less than the cost of developing a separate metaverse from scratch), the client side receives a customized ecosystem for activities in the metaverse with the ability to adapt it to their goals and audience. By the way, there are already a number of providers implementing MaaS. These include Lovelace World, Propel MaaS, and Touchcast.
Metaverse as a Servise solutions
The Metaverse as a Service model can open up a new field of opportunity for almost every area we can mention. For example:
- Gaming. Metaverse games based on blockchain and NFT will launch the popularity of the P2E (Play to earn) model.
- eCommerce virtual shopping. Even the online shopping format we have now is of a great success. Imagine that you have the opportunity to try on things, have a consultation and walk around a virtual store on top of that. Some well-known brands have already managed to give a similar experience to their customers. In particular, Zara, partnering with South Korean clothing brand Ader Error, has launched the first virtual versions of clothing and makeup for their avatars.
- Education and events. At the beginning of the article, we mentioned the post-covid transition to remote communication. Educational, work and training processes were forced to be moved online. In fact, conducting them in the metaverse will bring this experience of online communication closer to the real one. The effect of presence, a new level of visuals, the ability to perform practical tasks (for example, medical training), gamified interaction of avatars outside of work, working meetings and even parties and festivals – all this and many other scenarios will be possible in the metaverse.
If this business model becomes as popular as SaaS, there will be a point of no return and the era of the metaverse will come sooner than expected.
Smarter With Gartner, What Is a Metaverse?, January 28, 2022
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