Welcome to the dynamic realm of the metaverse, where digital landscapes merge with reality, creating boundless opportunities and immersive experiences. As we stand at the crossroads of technological innovation in 2023, it’s essential to grasp the pulse of the metaverse’s evolution. This blog embarks on a journey through the top five trends reshaping the metaverse landscape this year. From blockchain’s transformative role in decentralised virtual economies to the convergence of AI and augmented reality, we’ll navigate the frontiers of social interaction, entertainment, education, and beyond. Join us in uncovering the metaverse trends that are not only shaping our digital future but also altering the very essence of human interaction.
It was impossible to go anywhere in 2022 without coming across the word “metaverse.” Everyone was eager to tell us about their vision for digital worlds where we may work, play, and interact on a single persistent platform when Facebook rebranded at the end of 2021.
However, anyone who has been paying attention will know that these perspectives frequently diverge substantially. Companies like Microsoft and Nvidia are constructing metaverse environments for digital project collaboration, in contrast to Meta’s focus on producing virtual reality settings. Decentralised autonomous organisations (DAOs) aim to bring digital democracy to the virtual worlds we inhabit, while proponents of a blockchain-based decentralised internet are experimenting with non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to enable ownership of digital assets.
With the metaverse concept expected to contribute $5 trillion to the value of the global economy by 2030, the stakes could not be higher, and 2023 could prove to be a watershed year in determining its future course.
- Metaverse as a new marketing channel
Advertising and marketing will be the rocket fuel that drives Web 3.0, the metaverse, into the mainstream, much as search engines and social media did for Web 1.0 and Web 2.0. Although the idea has not yet fully solidified, companies from HSBC and JP Morgan to Nike and Gucci have already claimed their territory and begun constructing their metaverse presence. It’s easy to see why this might be appealing, as consumers are always on the lookout for fresh and exciting ways to interact with the companies they’re interested in doing business with. The metaverse is an additional line of communication because of its emphasis on customer satisfaction and personal relationships. Importantly, unlike social and search, which are largely dominated by companies like Google and Meta, this is a field where anything may happen. Over the next year, companies will make significant investments in securing prominent online real estate, either by creating their own platforms or by moving into existing virtual venues like Meta Horizons, Fortnite, VR Chat, and Decentraland. Although the ultimate victorious tactic has yet to be determined, one thing is certain: participation is vital.
- The Corporate Metaverse
The metaverse has great marketing potential, but it also holds the promise of facilitating distant, efficient, and intelligent commercial operations through the provision of platforms, tools, and even complete virtual worlds.
Eventually, the concept of the “digital twin” will merge with the metaverse; digital twins are virtual replicas of real-world products, processes, or operations that may be used to test and prototype new ideas in the secure environment of the digital realm. From wind farms to Formula 1 cars, designers are constructing digital twins of real-world items to stress-test their performance in any imaginable scenario before investing time and money into actual prototypes.
Metaverse technology will also be used in the business realm for purposes such as employee onboarding and training. Accenture, a consulting firm, has established a virtual workplace for its employees and new hires called The Nth Floor, which is a metaverse setting with recreations of real offices.
There will be a rise in the adoption of metaverse collaborative working environments like BMW’s augmented reality laboratories for the creation and prototyping of new products as teams explore new ways to work remotely while maintaining engagement with colleagues and the creative process.
- Web3 and decentralisation
Decentralisation is central to one conception of the future of the metaverse. Proponents of Web3 argue that distributed ledgers and blockchain technology will usher in a new internet that is independent of the control of global corporations. This would mean that corporations could no longer censor content that they disagree with or even shut down an individual’s access to the internet entirely. This future is based on DAO-organised decentralised metaverse platforms like The Sandbox and Decentraland. Eventually, the emergence of virtual democracies and user-owned communities will result from people purchasing ownership rights and having a say in the organisation constructing the virtual domain.
NFTs are another facet of the metaverse’s decentralised nature. These tokens can be used to represent one-of-a-kind digital products or commodities on the blockchain, similar to how non-unique tokens like Bitcoin exist on the network. Digital items that may be worn, traded, and shown in the metaverse have been created by companies like Nike, Adidas, and Forever 21 using this technology. Clarks, another shoe company, recently launched a competition on the Roblox platform where players could win exclusive in-game items.
Companies like Meta and Microsoft aspire to establish private digital universes where they will have ultimate control, which is at odds with the vision of the metaverse as a decentralised, community-owned utopia. This collision of digital cultures is bound to progress in fascinating ways in 2023.
- Virtual and augmented reality
The metaverse is predicated on the idea of immersive, experience-based technology; in whatever form it takes, it will be more interesting than the online spaces we’re used to (like Facebook or the Internet). As a result, many proposed methods of interacting with it center on the use of immersive technology, such as VR, AR, and MR/XR.
Meta has centered its vision of the “next level” of the internet on virtual reality, and new iterations of its immensely successful Quest VR headsets, as well as new VR/AR/MR headsets from businesses like Apple, Google, and Microsoft, will be released in 2023. Although not everyone thinks we’ll have to strap screens to our noggins to enter the metaverse, this is one of the most talked-about methods for creating immersive experiences, and it’s only expected to go further in 2023. Even more accurate and intense consumer metaverse experiences will be made possible by the development of full-body haptic suits, which are now utilised by companies like NASA and SpaceX for replicating severe settings. There are even a few companies working on prototypes to add scent to our digital environments.
- More advanced avatar technology
Avatars, digital personas we can use in the metaverse, are central to many proposed uses for this space. The avatar is the identity we present to the world when we engage and interact with other users, much like the characters we play in video games or the personas we express on social media. Avatars can look just like us, like cartoon characters, or like something completely fantastic that could never exist in the real world.
While Meta’s early cartoonish avatars were widely mocked, the company has since created near-photorealistic technologies that will make us look nearly identical to how we do in real life. While some technologies, like those seen in Ready Player One and Zepeto, limit users to a single virtual world or setting, others allow them to construct avatars that may be used in a variety of settings. In 2023, I foresee more sophisticated applications of technologies like motion capture, resulting in avatars that not only look and sound more like us but also mimic our own motions and body language. Even more progress could be made in the area of autonomous avatars, which are not directly controlled by us but are empowered by AI to represent us in the digital world while we attend to other, unrelated duties.