Picture this: after putting in work at school or your job, you head home. Rather than flip the TV or console on while you sit somewhere, you put on wearable gadgets. This same gadget transports you into a virtual world(s).
In this virtual world, life as you know it is replicated in digital form. You have a house here, filled with NFT collectibles and digital art. Friends come to visit. While hanging out, you both want to bet on a simulated, virtual sport. Rather than go to a separate site, say at vegasbetting.com, you do it seamlessly inside the house together and watch the action unfold in front of you.
This imaged world is “the Metaverse” — and it may not be imagined for long. The brightest minds in gaming and crypto are trying to realize this vision, one that would revolutionize life as we know it. To pull it off, however, will take a lot of separate pieces falling into place. Here are the most pressing challenges facing Metaverse developers:
“The hardest technology challenge of our time may be fitting a supercomputer into the frame of normal-looking glasses. But it’s the key to bringing our physical and digital worlds together.”
Mark Zuckerberg posted this very message on his Facebook account. Make no mistake about it, the same sentiment exists among the Metaverse community.
Technological hardware will need either leaps in innovation, or to be created from scratch to support this virtual world. That includes wearable gadgets, such as Zuckerberg’s wearable glasses, but also ancillary products — think haptic gloves or better-working phones. Similarly, the hardware that actually creates these AR worlds (cameras, tracking sensors, etc.) will need to be even more advanced.
Ultimately, what’s going to make the Metaverse feel “real” will be partaking in activities on it. What’s the use of a virtual world if you can’t actually do anything on it besides walk around and chat with friends? Very little.
No, the Metaverse will need full-fledged services for users to interact with. Let’s re-use the gambling example from before. A company will need to build the actual service that takes bets and then runs virtual sports simulations to decide outcomes.
That’s one easy-to-remember service. But what about others — attending a course? Playing a virtual sport? Attending a live concert? Possible available services, such as in the real world, are endless.
We toyed with putting this under “virtual services” but it’s so important that we decided to give it its own subsection. Money will have to be sent across the Metaverse (and likely back into the “real world) in a secure and efficient way. If not, trust will be eroded and kill the concept before it even starts.
Of all the problems potentially plaguing the creation of the Metaverse, we’re most confident this one will get figured out. Cryptocurrencies — and DeFi applications being built around them — should be natural solutions. Question is, will there be one end-all, be-all currency or multiple? We’ll have to see.
Today’s Internet isn’t nearly strong enough to support a virtual world occupied by hundreds of millions upon millions of people (possibly billions if it all pans out) at the same time. Serious progress must be made by networks when it comes to bandwidth, latency, and reliability.
Progress here is being made by satellite Internet and 5G data. But even then, no one’s quite sure that’s nearly enough to transmit the endless amounts of information that’ll be logged by the Metaverse.
Last but certainly not least, to support the Metaverse, regular people — not just the super nerds that frequent crypto communities — need to believe in it. Humans are naturally resistant to change and the Metaverse isn’t just a change, it’s a complete shock to the system.
And if the hardware, network, and services that run the Metaverse aren’t up to snuff, then consumer buy-in will be even harder to attain. That’s why every supporting piece must fall perfectly into place to make the Metaverse no longer just a concept found in science fiction books and instead a living, breathing, and fully-functioning thing.
Founder Dinis Guarda
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