The term “metaverse” is all the rage, but “Ready Player One’s” futuristic fantasy vision of stepping into an adventurous new world doesn’t do justice to reality. Despite Facebook’s name change to Meta and Microsoft’s acquisition of video game maker Activision Blizzard to “carve out a niche in the Metaverse,” there is still no consensus on what the Metaverse is or how to enter metaverse. Currently, some Metaverse events require a virtual reality headset, and many do not. Let’s get to the bottom of this.
First of all, what is the Metaverse?
Since the Metaverse hasn’t been created yet, nobody knows what it is. There has been a lot of discussion about what it might be, and companies are trying to develop products that fit their ideas.
In the 1990s, it was like the term “cyberspace.” No one knew exactly what form the Internet would take in the future, but most people understood it was the future. A lot of crazy ideas were tried, and many of them – like cyberspace shopping – were ahead of their time.
The metaverse is at the stage of shopping in cyberspace. Some crazy ideas currently being tested, such as digital storefronts and event centers, may become commonplace in a few years. Or maybe not. No one predicted Facebook, Instagram, and other social networking services, so chances are the best meta-events will be brand new.
Virtual reality and augmented reality
Most visions of the Metaverse assume that it will be built with virtual reality (VR) goggles. However, many envisioned features require something completely different: augmented reality (AR) glasses.
Virtual reality goggles are a screen that you put on your head. You can’t see outside, which is great for gaming and other fully immersive experiences, but it is difficult to enter and exit the Metaverse arbitrarily.
Augmented reality glasses, on the other hand, will not be as immersive. Instead, they will overlay certain virtual elements on top of their actual field of view. Do you remember those scenes in movies where the protagonists walk past a billboard, and it becomes an individual advertisement that only they can see, or when they get a glimpse of how they will wear the sweater in the store? These are examples of augmented reality.
However, at the moment, augmented reality glasses are not yet widespread. Microsoft’s HoloLens has some industrial applications, but people aren’t wearing them outside. When Apple launches its much-hyped augmented reality glasses, that may change in a year or two.
Worrying about the future is okay, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Instead, let’s look at how you can explore the early Metaverse now.
Do I need a VR headset to enter the Metaverse?
No! The vast majority of today’s metaverses can be used from any computer, even a smartphone or game console. Simply use a keyboard, mouse, touch screen, or joystick to navigate and explore the virtual world. Your screen shows a limited field of view, but you still participate in the Metaverse.
Meta’s Horizon Worlds is the largest Metaverse that requires a VR headset. You’ll need the Oculus Quest 2 to access it, but Meta plans to bring it to smartphones later this year.
Most other metaverse games (and metaverses) do not require virtual reality glasses:
- “Decentraland” is accessible from any browser
- “Roblox” has mobile apps and is accessible via the Internet.
- The platform “XANA” is available on almost all platforms.
- Minecraft is also available almost everywhere.
You may notice that many of these platforms are gaming platforms. Almost all of the most interesting Metaverse experiences, such as live shows, are currently taking place on these platforms.
How to access the Metaverse now?
Since there is not just one Metaverse but different metaverses, there is more than one way to access a metaverse.
The Metaverse’s “Decentraland” is where you can speculate on specific real estate in the Metaverse. You need a cryptocurrency wallet to create a “passport.” To play “Fortnite,” on the other hand, you just need a free account and an app on the device you want to use. If you find a metaverse you want to join, you can do it in a few minutes through your browser.
But regardless of the metaverse you choose, you need a fast and stable Internet connection. A fiber optic connection is the best solution, as it offers enough bandwidth to handle any weird and wonderful form of Metaverse, whether you need VR goggles, AR glasses, a computer, or a hologram projector to participate.
These are exciting times for technology. At the height of its glory and popularity, one technology can be swept away by the arrival of another.
This also applies to virtual and augmented reality. Virtual reality is growing every day, but when augmented reality becomes available, it will take over the market, and we will be able to live in a metaverse without virtual reality.