Over the past couple of years, huge tech companies and conglomerates around the world have started discussing what’s called the metaverse. Facebook and Microsoft have both made strides in developing it and turning the once theoretical idea into reality.
It may be a few years before the Metaverse becomes mainstream, but it’s already on its way and now is the time to start paying attention. But before anyone can take advantage of the Metaverse, there are some burning questions that need to be answered.
What is the metaverse? How can we use it? How would the metaverse affect Costa Rica?
The Metaverse looks a lot like something out of science fiction, and there’s a reason for that. The name comes from a book written by Neal Stephenson titled Snow accident, where realistic avatars roamed virtual reality environments. The proposed metaverse is this idea that comes to life.
It would be an online virtual world, which would incorporate AR (augmented reality), VR (virtual reality), 3D holographic avatars, as well as other means of communication. Essentially, it would be an alternate world in which people coexist.
Matthew Ball, Managing Partner of Epyllion Industries, described the concept of the metaverse as “the dawn of the next Internet”. While the Metaverse is a few years away, aspects of it already exist. Permanent online worlds are functioning, VR headsets are becoming more common, and super-fast broadband speeds are more prevalent around the world.
The easiest way to predict how the Metaverse will be used is to look at how we use similar systems today. Mega-multiplayer online games, such as Fortnite, connect people around the world, and are hugely popular. With the rise of VR games, it’s just a small step towards gaming in the metaverse.
Other games, like construction games like Minecraft and Roblox allow gamers to make their own mark on the gaming world. Roblox and similar games even allow people to create their own games within the system. Imagine something like this, but in a metaverse.
Another potential use can be seen with Second life, an online world that is less a game than a social experience. Since 2003, people can use avatars online at Second life to socialize and explore a different world via the Internet. Geographical restrictions are non-existent online.
However, the Metaverse presents an even more immersive online world in which people can socialize. The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in restrictions in Costa Rica and around the world, making it more difficult for businesses to operate and for people to meet. An immersive online environment presents a perfect solution to this problem.
Of course, the metaverse doesn’t just have the potential to be a playground. In addition to playing and socializing, it can be used for more meaningful endeavors.
For example, it presents a whole new avenue for education. Since it allows you to connect with people from all over the world, the Metaverse gives you plenty of opportunities to learn new things. You can learn new languages by meeting someone on the other side of the world. Groups can meet accredited educators in the same way people would meet in schools or universities. You can already take courses online, but the Metaverse can enhance that experience. You may feel like you are sitting in a classroom. Or you can travel to ancient Rome or to a lab or whatever the lesson requires.
But here’s the thing. Gambling, socializing, and teaching aren’t the main reasons big companies are rushing to get a piece of the metaverse pie. The metaverse has the potential to make a lot of money, connecting brands and businesses with customers. You can walk down a virtual street and browse virtual stores, then buy whatever you want.
In addition to physical goods, the metaverse also offers another opportunity for digital goods. Cryptocurrency and NFTs are becoming more common every day, and who knows what the future holds for the digital industry. So, we’ve taken a look at how people can use the Metaverse and maybe why they care, but what about you? And Costa Rica?
The metaverse is, in its simplest form, a virtual world connected to the physical world, but without many of its limitations. For example, let’s look at businesses.
Remember, the metaverse is potentially “the next Internet”. Think about the recent boom in e-commerce and online marketing, especially through social media. In Costa Rica, land is not really cheap. Many businesses need land in Costa Rica to operate, like the famous coffee production, but if a business can carve out a virtual space for itself, it won’t be bound by geographic limitations.
Rather than having to rent or buy a property to run your business and sell your product, you’ll be able to spend more time in a virtual space that is potentially much cheaper. Many people are already familiar with working remotely, but an interactive and immersive VR experience essentially gives you the best of both worlds.
In addition, customers all over the world can more easily find Costa Rican businesses, which could boost the economy. Social media and online marketing are huge, but the metaverse could make it even easier for Costa Rican brands to gain exposure to the world. In addition to finding customers, the metaverse offers an opportunity to get to know them better.
Besides the direct boost presented by how Costa Rican businesses can grow, what about the social side of things? Costa Rica’s reputation has grown in recent years, as a place of natural beauty and as a nation making strides in the fight against climate change.
If Costa Rica took advantage of the metaverse, it could only further develop this good reputation. If people can see in a virtual world how beautiful Costa Rica is, it will only make them want to actually visit it. Who knows where this can lead?