Ernst & Young: The Metaverse of Digital Trends

preface:

2021, the big stride meteor in the Metaverse, can be said to have opened the first year. In 2022, it will continue to attract the attention of all sectors of society. How to understand the Metaverse? What are the important factors driving its development? What key technologies are involved? How is the value reflected in the business world? What other policies and regulations need attention?

In January 2022, a leading technology company in the field of cloud computing announced that it would acquire a game developer for $68.7 billion. One of the reasons for the acquisition is that the transaction will provide the foundation for the “Metaverse”. A social giant even changed its name to its social networking company and made every effort to enter the Metaverse. Tech giants have devoted themselves to developing their own related Metaverse technologies and devices. The listing of Roblox in March 2021 will make the concept of the Metaverse detonate the market, and the market value of nearly 40 billion US dollars has opened up the imagination of the Metaverse.

Metaverse Background

In his book “Objective Knowledge” published in 1972, Karl Popper systematically proposed the division theory of “three worlds”, taking the physical world, the psychological world, and the artificial world as the subjects that exist side by side. The world is unified and coherent. Among them, the artificial world is the artificially created knowledge and ideological achievements. It is a subjective product, but it exists objectively and will have its own life. The connotation and extension of the concept of Metaverse belong to the category of artificial world. The Metaverse and the physical world not only have a symbiosis of virtual reality and IoT data integration, but also need to use the human psychological world as a bridge to interact with each other.

The term Metaverse, which describes the fully realized digital world, can be traced back to Neil Stephenson and his dystopian cyberpunk novel Avalanche. Published in 1992, the novel describes a virtual reality data space called “The matrix.” The Metaverse in Avalanche is a 3D virtual reality space accessed through a personal terminal and virtual reality goggles, and has a lot in common with the Oculus Quest and other VR devices.

From the user’s point of view, this 3D space is an urban environment created along a 100-meter wide street. As anywhere in reality, the street will be affected by its development. Developers can build their own side streets on top of the main street. They can build buildings, parks, signs, and things that don’t exist in reality, such as special communities that ignore the rules of three-dimensional space-time, or free combat zones where gamers can go and fight each other.

The Metaverse merges two ideas that have been around for years: virtual reality and digital second life. For decades, technologists have dreamed of advancing and realizing the virtual life of humanity, and hoped it would play an equally important role as physical reality, where people interact with friends and colleagues in virtual spaces, consume in digital virtual worlds, and contribute to our digitization. Identity to buy clothing and items, get education, employment, start a business, and start a new life. In what Zuckerberg calls the Metaverse, virtual reality acts as a computing platform where people can live a second life online. In virtual reality, you wear a headset and are immersed in a three-dimensional environment. You can carry motion-sensing controllers to interact with virtual objects and use microphones to communicate with others.

Judging from the current development of the Metaverse, a Metaverse already exists in digital games to some extent, but it is not mature enough. For example, the social elements of the Metaverse are mostly reflected in video games. In Second Life, users can customize lifelike avatars, meet other players, create virtual items, own virtual possessions, and exchange goods and services. Virtual experiences like Second Life can be described as Metaverse archetypes. The main gap is that these digital spaces exist in isolation, each being a digital island whose inhabitants and virtual assets never leave it.

The Metaverse that needs to be created in the future is not just a more immersive virtual experience, but the next version of the internet. Tech giants and many other companies are racing to define this next-generation internet. The Metaverse represents the fourth wave of computing after mainframe computing, personal computing, and mobile computing. If it is to be an embodied internet, it must have certain properties that differentiate it from isolated virtual reality experiences like Second Life.

Based on the understanding of the relevant characteristics of the Metaverse, the Metaverse digital world can be summarized as a large-scale, interoperable real-time rendering 3D virtual world network, which can have the continuous experience of personal identification, business data continuity and unlimited user synchronization . The Metaverse is a new fusion of the physical and digital worlds, embodying the next phase of physical-digital interaction. This new system of places will change the cultural and behavioral expectations of users, and business success in the Metaverse will depend on how it understands its users and how they exist in this new world.

The current development of the Metaverse

The gaming industry is leading the early iteration and development of the Metaverse. A Metaverse ecology in the game industry is taking shape: Metaverse creators will create assets; performers will create real-time content; connectors will connect the physical and digital worlds; participants will learn, explore, and improve; builders will contribute Design and organize experiences; communities engage through digital operations of the Metaverse. Combining gaming, authoring and social networking tools, Roblox Studio is a game where players can create their own content. Axie Infinity is one of them, it allows people to participate in the development of the game. Through this model, the platform has seen an 85% increase in the number of users in 2021. In the new Metaverse ecology, creatively organically combine study, life and work into interesting activities, forming a working model for the participants in the Metaverse ecology.

In addition to the game field, the Metaverse is also developing rapidly in other fields. For example, NFT non-fungible tokens are used to mint valuable digital items such as videos, music, event tickets and generative art. NFTs authenticate a person’s ownership of the digital item, which means that the certificate of ownership cannot be duplicated. NFTs actually become an asset with the potential to increase in value and incorporate human needs into digital products, an unprecedented initiative that creates scarcity.

Collectors are making a splash by auctioning off art via NFTs. In August 2021, 12-year-old Benyamin Ahmed from London made £290,000 selling NFTs for a series of pixelated artworks he created depicting whales. Argentinian designer Andrés Reisinger recently sold a piece of digital furniture for a virtual 3D space through an online auction for 10 NFTs each, at the most expensive price of $70,000.

Earlier this year, an all-digital Gucci bag sold for more than its real counterpart. Another example is the multiplayer experience of non-gaming activities in the Metaverse, where platforms allow people to watch movies or shows together when they are apart, or bring people together around the experience by creating a group activity application programming interface (API).

From the perspective of technological development, since the concept stock Roblox of the Metaverse was listed in the United States on March 11, 2021, the Metaverse quickly entered the vision of major technology giants, and continued to add the Code Metaverse track, focusing on VR/AR hardware facilities, 3D Multi-domain expansion capability map related to the Metaverse, such as game engines and content production platforms.

Trends in the development of the Metaverse

On November 17, 2021, “People’s Daily” published a comment “Everything can be “Metaverse”? “. The article mentions whether the Metaverse is a mirror image or a touchable future, whether it is a capital hype or a new track, whether it is old wine in a new bottle or a new technological breakthrough. Before making a conclusion, you might as well “let the bullets fly for a while”. It takes time to promote the gradual maturity of new concepts and their industries. Leading to an exciting technological future requires a down-to-earth and solid foundation for development. Whether it’s virtual reality, augmented reality or mixed reality, the central word is “reality”.

Judging from the early historical experience of the Internet, many synergistic visions for the early development of Internet technology fields, driven by interests, quickly fell to the ground. A single Metaverse vision jointly supported by different companies may face the same dilemma. There are currently no standards for the Metaverse, and many companies are actively promoting the development of public standards for the future Metaverse. At present, global technology giants, game companies and even some smaller companies are developing projects, hoping to seize the first-mover advantage in order to lay the foundation for the formulation of Metaverse standards, which will face many technical, industry synergy and governance challenges.

For example, the interoperability of different platforms, Marc Petit, vice president and general manager of Unreal Engine at EPIC Games, said in a recent interview that the Metaverse will require “shared virtual worlds that include persistence.”This means that for an ideal customer experience, users should be able to move from one universe to another with their digital items. NFT shoes that users purchase from other platforms in the future will be available across different Metaverse platforms, as well as in other virtual worlds such as Fortnite and Minecraft.

A social giant plans to invest billions of dollars in the Metaverse project, in which interoperability between platforms is a key research and development goal. A single, multi-platform Metaverse allows users to have an avatar on one platform and automatically be able to use that avatar on another platform in real time.

Another example is the sharing of devices. Virtual reality headsets need to be shared on multiple platforms to achieve compatibility with a wide multiplayer world or cloud-based graphics across different company platforms. This requires firstly having public technical standards and service standards as the basis, and secondly, it requires cooperating with multi-company platforms in industry governance to commit to using the Metaverse and allowing other companies to enter.

One of the possible ways the synergy of the Metaverse could unfold is to start with a series of competing platforms, each claiming to be the Metaverse. This is similar to the competition and operation environment of the early communication industry. There are many operators and technology providers, and operations are also scattered.

With the gradual advancement and development of the Metaverse, various technologies and service standards will emerge, and eventually big players will use compatible technologies and evolve into models that can be interoperable across different platforms. The question is how long will it take for the world to move from various primordial Metaverses to a single large Metaverse?

Zuckerberg believes this will happen by the end of the decade, but it could also be much earlier than that because the basic technical elements are already in place. The most critical cloud infrastructure for the future development of the Internet allows a large number of people to gather in a virtual environment for real-time interaction and life, such as more than 12.3 million players watching the virtual reality starring Travis Scott in Fortnite concert 1 .

As the Metaverse immersive experience unfolds on a larger scale and field, the technologies supporting the Metaverse may need to be further developed to support the vision of the Metaverse industry experts, but as far as the current capabilities are concerned, it can already meet the current requirements of the Metaverse. Technical requirements.

concluding remarks

The Metaverse has come to the fore, showing the prospect that it can transcend its gaming roots. It is advancing and developing the evolution of the digital artificial world and creating the digital culture of the Metaverse, providing a new place for people and businesses to interact, create, consume and do business. We have noticed the recent shocks in the technology sector of the US stock market, which to a certain extent reflects the market’s more cautious thinking about Metaverse technology and ecology. Although the development of the Metaverse faces various challenges, such as infrastructure to be further constructed, common standards for interoperability to be established, costs to be reduced, and security to be enhanced, it is also a subversive technological opportunity, and its rapid development trend makes us feel that the Metaverse The universe is on the verge of the next frontier and presents its own almost limitless possibilities for creating new value.

References:

1. The news link of the concert on the official twitter account: https://twitter.com/fortnitegame/status/1253524351376330752

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