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We hear it mentioned more and more often, although it is not yet entirely clear what it is, mainly because it does not yet exist in fact. The Metaverse appears to be on the verge of representing the next technological revolution, with obvious impacts on blockchain technology.
The most prominent is undoubtedly Mark Zuckerberg, who is investing rivers of dollars in the new hyper-connected virtual reality. The Facebook founder believes so much in this project that he rebrands his company into Meta Platforms.
The construction of the Metaverse is not just a technological enterprise: it will also be a massive commercial operation. This revolution promises high-profit margins for all companies that want to bet on it.
This article analyzes the different moves made by the world’s leading tech companies. Understanding who will prevail in the market is complex, but several essential pieces of information are already available.
Facebook – Meta Platforms
After the rebranding, the former Facebook is giving the first glimpses of what could be the Metaverse. With this term, the company identifies a series of virtual reality projects towards which Mark Zuckerberg directs many of his efforts.
One of these is the expansion of Horizon Worlds, Meta’s virtual reality (VR) platform. Horizon Worlds is no longer limited to the beta version only by invitation for a few weeks. In addition, users can access Oculus Quest 2 through the free app from the US and Canada.
Initially announced in 2019, Horizon Worlds is Meta’s first attempt to release something that resembles Zuckerberg’s vision of the Metaverse. The platform requires a Facebook account and allows users to go out and interact with up to 20 people at a time in a virtual space.
Microsoft wants to build a Metaverse within Teams, the communication software intended primarily for companies. The company is working on the project and will release updates by the first half of 2022.
Microsoft aims to combine its mixed reality technologies (such as HoloLens smart glasses) into video chats for meetings. By doing so, also taking advantage of the company’s Mesh technology, it will be possible to participate in the call with an animated and personalized avatar.
In the eyes of industry experts, Mesh already seemed like the natural evolution of Teams when it launched. Now, by combining the functions of the two platforms, Microsoft will seek to make remote corporate meetings more interactive. This commercial move can go in the right direction with the recent intelligent working trend.
On Teams, it will be possible to create new 3D avatars, the first step towards building an interactive virtual environment. The avatars will represent the user even when people will not feel comfortable turning on the webcam.
Through Artificial Intelligence (AI), Microsoft will be able to analyze user voices and better animate the avatar’s movements. From here, further possibilities open up, such as raising your hand during the meeting or making facial expressions.
The Teams/Mesh ecosystem will also allow many companies to create their Metaverses. For example, a company could create a virtual environment with avatars for its employees.
Google – Alphabet
After Facebook and Microsoft, Google certainly could not be missing from the list of companies interested in the Metaverse. Accordingly, the American giant has announced a new team that will deal with innovative projects.
Among the many futuristic projects of the Mountain View company, the market is aware of some essential rumors. Rumors claim, for example, that the research & development area is working on artificial intelligence systems based on neural network algorithms for computer vision.
These projects can lead to a series of exciting technologies to develop in the virtual reality industry. Google is, therefore, yet another company investing resources to transform the world we know into a digital 3D experience.
The interest in the Metaverse certainly could not leave Apple indifferent. Market rumors say that the company has been working for years on virtual reality. For example, now and then, we read about Apple’s projects, such as augmented-reality glasses.
These tools will need to connect to the internet and download applications. However, it is unclear whether the new devices will have a separate life from the iPhone or Mac computers or if the integration will be compulsory.
Some rumors claimed that the next big hit would be the Apple Glass AR, probably presented by 2022. However, there is no official information on this innovative technology for now. It will therefore be necessary to keep the market monitored.
The conquest of the Metaverse is, at this moment, in an only silent phase. However, the tech world giants are studying better solutions to enter the market, and 2022 will undoubtedly see important news in this industry.
Just as none of the four companies mentioned has managed to conquer Web 2.0 completely, the same is likely to happen for Web 3.0 as well. Each company will propose its solution and, probably, winning ideas will be copied from the entire market.
The real challenge will not be the first to launch the right idea to explore the Metaverse. Instead, companies will have to focus on confirming, year after year, their presence in the digital world.