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What will the metaverse be like in five years?
- The growth of the metaverse is often compared to the dot-com boom, with large global corporations navigating this space
- The metaverse is promising to bring with it a whole new economy, with play-to-earn gaming already gaining traction
- The launch of Sandbox, expected this year, is expected to accelerate adoption, but it may still take a long time for the metaverse to become mainstream
- The metaverse brings with it potentially endless possibilities for education, entertainment, personal interaction, investment, and so much more
We’ve all seen the change happening. Not long ago, there wasn’t even such a thing as a smartphone. Today, younger generations grow up with devices in their hands. In this digitally native world, the metaverse is suitably positioned to play an important role in the coming years.
“You see them at a restaurant with their family, and the parents give an iPad to the child to give them something to do at the table,” says MADworld’s Head of Marketing Jordan R. Heathfield. “The metaverse is going to be the most important environment for human relationships in a sense. It’s going to be a way for us to connect with people all over the world from different backgrounds, cultures, ages, and interests.”
READ: What is the Metaverse of Mark Zuckerberg and what does it mean for digital assets?
Jordan compares the current stage in the development of the metaverse to the digital revolution that was taking place during the dot-com boom of 1997 and 1998, with a growing number of large global corporations getting into this space.
“The most forward-thinking businesses and organizations were looking at ways to get online,” he says. “They were building websites. [The metaverse] might go through some growing pains, but in five years’ time, there will be a metaverse for every interest. Also, there will be an element of interoperability where you can jump from one to the other and experience shared interests with friends, such as wine, art, or whatever it may be.”
The evolution of the metaverse
Omar Corona, Founder of MetaLabs, notes that the metaverse started off as a play-to-earn model. He sees play-to-earn as an incentive for people to join the metaverse, especially for people from the gaming universe. “Instead of being free to play, gaming will be play-to-earn. That will change the whole gaming landscape,” he says.
Like Jordan, Omar sees this as the dot-com boom, all over again. “We are going to head into a world where everything has its own metaverse. Everybody is going to enter this world. Shopping online is going to change. Amazon is going to be an Amazon Metaverse... The education system is going to change. We are going to be able to get inside the history books and see [past events] in person.”
According to Omar, a whole new economy is emerging before our eyes. “It is going to be a beautiful way to change ideas, experiences, assets. It is going to take over the real world.”
Meanwhile Håkon Harberg, Co-Founder at WiV Technology, believes the economic aspects of the metaverse will be very disruptive. However, he expects the process to play out over a longer period of time, estimating that some of the truly innovative aspects will start to appear in ten years’ time.
“We haven’t even launched the Sandbox yet,” he notes, referring to a blockchain-based virtual world where people can socialize, play games, and even attend concerts.
“We are expecting it to launch [this] year, and once that happens it will speed up,” said Håkon. “In the meantime, there are a lot of smaller environments around different verticals that are going to give people the [metaverse] experience. An interesting future lies ahead for us.”
Quoc Bao Ngo, Founder of MyRealityDAO, also anticipates a period of education over the next five to ten years. “We can educate people on all kinds of subjects in the metaverse,” he says.
You might be sitting around wondering: Why should I be excited about the metaverse? Perhaps you’re not terribly enthused about living your life virtually. Yet regardless of how you feel about the metaverse, it brings endless possibilities for education, entertainment, personal interaction, investment, and so much more.
“You can change your reality into anything you want,” says Omar. “You could be with whoever you want.” He points out how big multinationals like Meta and Microsoft are already having virtual meetings in the metaverse.
“It’s [also] going to be huge in terms of education,” says Omar. “In class, instead of being on a Zoom call, you could be in a virtual space, where it's more immersive. And it'll be a better learning experience for the kids especially.”
He highlights Oculus, Meta’s virtual reality goggles, as a good example of how immersed one can get in the metaverse. “It’s a way for you to be in a virtual reality,” says Omar. “It could bring a lot of people together. We'll be able to be in a virtual space with people from all over the world. It makes experiences inside the internet much more interesting and enjoyable.” In particular, he envisages the metaverse improving work-from-home and digital schooling conditions.
A bridge between the physical and digital
Recent figures suggest that Gen Z spends around five hours a day on their mobile devices, and that screen time will likely only rise in the coming years. Håkon sees the metaverse as a bridge between the physical and digital world, creating so-called “phygital" experiences.
“The most important thing you can actually do to get bigger audiences is to show them that you can mirror the real world somehow and then gamify it in the metaverse,” he says. “You can make your own rules in this environment.”
With so many use cases, it is easy to see how the metaverse could become a key part of our daily lives in five years’ time, in the same way smartphones did over the last decade. Whatever the future brings, we are at the very beginning of this exciting journey, and we will be sure to see many exciting innovations in the metaverse in the years to come.
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