Truth be told, The Metaverse has been around for a while. Kids, tweens and teens (KT&T) have been hanging out and creating user-generated content (UGC) inside virtual worlds for well over 10 years. Older demographics have also been inhabiting digital environments such as Second Life and creating brand-new economies and social infrastructures.
Virtual reality headsets (HMDs) are not a new thing either, although they're getting better at an increasing rate with 5G transfer speeds, faster/better chips and improved graphics capabilities. The net effect of these advancements is a better sense of presence inside VR and a more compelling experience. Also, a growing number of companies are competing in the nascent augmented reality market, both from hardware and platform perspectives.
Virtual goods have always existed inside virtual worlds and are now morphing into non-fungible tokens (NFTs) therefore hailing the introduction of blockchain and cryptocurrency protocols and technologies into the market.
So what is happening right now and What is The Metaverse? Right now these different technologies are continuing to converge and billions of dollars are being pledged to this movement, allowing people to explore and interact in digital environments (VR) as well as layer digital information into the real world (AR). This digital representation or construct of people, places and information is The Metaverse.
But it's a bit techie for the uninitiated and there are a few moving parts. At Metaversed we've applied our expertise and deep knowledge of the market to visualise the major segments and players - Welcome to The Metaverse Map.
There are are four major hubs in the map. Within each major hub are sub-sections that show the major companies operating in the market verticals. This is obviously not an exhaustive list and we will be updating the map on a regular basis, expanding out both the categories and companies to give greater detail. Here are the major hubs...
Virtual Reality: 3D digital environments that put people into a 'new place' and away from the real world. These can be fantasy virtual worlds, themed experiences, re-creations of real world places (Mirror Worlds) or well as platforms that allow people to create their own content. Before virtual reality headsets came to market, virtual worlds were accessed by PC and then phones and tablets. VR is the next evolution of accessing virtual worlds. Within The Metaverse Map we have segmented the companies into Social/UGC virtual worlds for grown-ups, KT&T worlds and thirdly blockchain VWs which is the new kid on the block.
Augmented Reality: Whereas VR takes someone out of the real world and into a virtual experience, AR takes digital information and layers or adds it into the real world in real-time. This information could be contextually based on what someone is doing or where they are, or on-demand notifications. A number of companies are working to create global-scale AR platforms.
Hardware Devices: This is the equipment being developed to make The Metaverse a more intuitive and engaging experience. The three main hubs are HMDs for VR, glasses for AR and motion/haptic systems that allow people to navigate better, control their avatar and even 'feel' virtual objects.
Markets, Goods and Services: These are companies supporting the other ecosystems as either marketplaces to create, buy and sell virtual goods which can then be deployed into virtual worlds and Avatar Creation, the ability to customise the virtual version of you. There will be other segments emerging within this hub including spatial audio, more intuitive payment systems, security protocols, identify management, cross-world messenging and ways to move from one VW to another (interoperability).
So here we are, the first version of The Metaverse Map. This is the starting point in mapping one of the most exciting sectors of tech, entertainment, socialising and creativity, made even more enticing with the convergence of various complementary technologies. As stated, they'll be regular updates and revisions as more companies enter the market and the Metaversed website will be launched shortly.
If you're a Metaverse start-up then get in touch and we'll add you to the map and explain how we can help you get to market.
If you're an existing company or brand-owner wondering how to enter The Metaverse then we'd love to talk to you as well. We've been consulting and operating in this sector since 2006.
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