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The metaverse race accelerates

Several organisations have jumped on the metaverse bandwagon with alacrity, investing in technology and digital assets to gain from its potential, but developments are still highly experimental and hindered by complexities.

May 24, 2022 | Neeti Aggarwal

The metaverse refers to an immersive virtual world experience that is based on convergence of technologies like virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain. It is conceptualised as a parallel digital world or economy where one can visit, shop, buy, interact and perform several other things one does in real life.

Key enabling technologies include VR and AR for immersive experience. The underlying framework is based on web 3.0, decentralised finance and blockchain. AI with computer graphics interface, speech recognition and deep learning can enable improved personalised experience. Cloud technology is required for processing power and storage needs. AR and digital identification are now being developed through three-dimension (3D) environment enabling devices like headsets, glasses, watches and other wearables.

Once developed, the metaverse has the potential to create innumerable growth opportunities across gaming, immersive learning, entertainment, shopping, virtual workspaces, social media, advertising, data, and many more. Gaming offers some of the earliest metaverse experiences. However, it is challenging to envision the final shape of the metaverse given its early development stage.

The early movers

In 2021, Meta (rebranded from Facebook) announced plans to invest $10 billion in the metaverse. Since then, there have been a slew of investments by businesses in this space. Meta’s social VR application Horizon World reached 300,000 users. Meta’s Oculus Quest 2 leads in the AR/VR headset space and the company is also opening its first physical store for VR headsets and gadgets.

Microsoft plans to transform virtual workspaces with mixed reality and announced acquisition of video game developer Activisi...

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