In November 2021, Facebook changed its name to Meta.
Recently, we have been hearing more and more of the word “Metaverse”.
This time, I will explain such a “metaverse” in an easy-to-understand manner based on actual cases.
We will also introduce examples of why it is attracting attention, what kind of technology it will be applied to in the future, and what kind of future awaits.
What is metaverse
Metaverse refers to the technology to access virtual space on the network via avatars, or the virtual space itself.
This word, which combines Meta (beyond) + Universe (universe), was originally a fictitious word that was born in science fiction novels.
However, recently, various research and development are being carried out, and it is becoming a reality in our familiar places.
What is an avatar
An avatar is a virtual character that can move freely in the virtual world and communicate with other people on your behalf.
Features of the Metaverse
The features of the metaverse are as follows.
- Virtual space can be accessed and communicated from various locations around the world.
- You can manipulate your own avatar, which is different from your real body, and get a realistic experience as if you were your own alter ego.
- no physical restrictions
In a virtual space, you can imagine your avatar moving around, interacting with people, playing, shopping, and working.
There are also various applications, such as enabling remote medical care, enabling people with physical limitations to move freely in virtual space, and enabling activities without physical limitations. is expected.
Why is the Metaverse attracting attention?
The reason why “Metaverse” is attracting attention is because
- As the coronavirus epidemic limits movement, interest in contactless communication technologies has increased around the world.
- With the spread of online games and VR images, communication in a space different from reality is becoming commonplace.
etc. can be mentioned.
In fact, in the official Facebook seminar on Instagram, it was introduced that the market size related to “VR” and “AR” related to Metaverse is expected to grow rapidly, and the company’s name change You can get a sense of its size.
Technologies related to metaverse
In recent years, we have achieved rapid development in IT technology and video technology.
In particular, progress has been made in technology for creating more realistic three-dimensional images called 3DCG (three-dimensional computer graphics).
3DCG gave birth to technologies such as “VR” and “AR” that are important for the realization of the “Metaverse”.
Among them, this time, we will introduce three representative technologies.
VR (Virtual Reality)
VR (Virtual Reality) is a technology that creates a virtual space with 360-degree digital images.
By looking through a goggle-type device, you can experience what it feels like to be right there.
Recently, VR technology has been utilized in game arcades, etc., and it has become possible to enjoy a realistic sense of presence in high-altitude experiences and shooting games.
AR (Augmented Reality)
(Augmented Reality) is a technology that superimposes and projects 3D images onto the real world. It is characterized by projecting virtual objects that should not exist there.
This technology is also applied to Pokemon GO and camera effect apps, so I think there are surprisingly many people who are familiar with it.
MR (Mixed Reality): Mixed Reality
MR (Mixed Reality) is a technology that more precisely grasps and reproduces the space and objects in the real world.
For example, the positional relationship between avatars and furniture can be realistically reproduced in virtual space, and the appearance changes depending on the line of sight.
You can also reproduce the operation of a whiteboard or a personal computer.
As the name “mixed reality” suggests, it makes you imagine a world in which virtual space and reality are more complicatedly mixed.
An example of a world where the metaverse has spread
I’ve introduced some technologies related to the Metaverse, but what kind of world awaits us when the Metaverse spreads?
Here are some examples of how the metaverse will change the world.
Introduced by Meta (formerly Facebook)
According to Meta,
- Live your daily life freely through your avatar, meet distant people, travel the world
- Subjective experience of sports such as table tennis, basketball, cycling, boxing and fencing
- Attending a virtual company from home, meetings, messages, real-size model room experience
- Intuitive experience and sale of physical or digital goods
- Promote a more intuitive understanding of historical buildings, the world, culture, nature, the universe, etc.
- Remodel your favorite virtual space, experience moving 3D art, and participate in live performances from home.
Various possibilities are introduced.
Examples of metaverse in games
“Games” can be mentioned as a combination that goes well with the Metaverse.
“Minecraft” and “Animal Forest” are famous examples of games that use the Metaverse.
In both games, you can communicate and create buildings in online virtual space by manipulating your own avatar.
The VR version of the game “Minecraft” has also been released, and you can enjoy a realistic experience as if you were on an adventure through a virtual world created from a subjective point of view.
Example of metaverse in business scene
“Horizon Workrooms” announced by Meta (formerly Facebook) is a service that allows you to hold meetings in virtual space.
Each avatar gathers in a virtual meeting and you can communicate smoothly as if you were there.
Furthermore, it is possible to set up a whiteboard and bring in a computer to take notes.
Of course, everything was made virtually, and it is also a cutting-edge example of MR (mixed reality) technology.
Legal challenges in the metaverse
The Metaverse has many exciting topics that make you feel as if you have come to the world of the future, but there are some issues that need to be addressed as it develops.
The most important of these is the legal issue.
As the Metaverse advances and approaches the real world, it becomes essential to create rules to maintain order in the same way as in reality.
What kind of laws will be necessary by actually establishing a society in virtual space?
Protection of personal information
In other words, the virtual space is the world on the Internet.
Even if people wear the mask of avatars, their actions and transmissions may lead to the leakage and misuse of personal information, so it is thought that legislation will be necessary.
The advantage of the Metaverse is that it can be accessed from anywhere by anyone, but this is also a disadvantage.
intellectual property rights
If it becomes possible to create creative activities in virtual space and construct unique spaces, it is possible that copyrights and ownership rights to avatars and buildings will become necessary.
Recently, it is becoming possible to prove the uniqueness of digital assets by applying blockchain technology called NFT (= non-fungible token).
Let’s look forward to further evolution through the synergistic effect of Metaverse and NFT.
In this article, we have introduced three important Metaverse technologies and examples of applications of Metaverse technologies.
As the world changes to the post-corona world, the way people interact with each other will likely become even more diverse.
Just as we usually share photos and events on Facebook and Instagram, the future of sharing the scenery and experiences we see through Metaverse technology may not be far away.