In today's digital world, technologies are evolving rapidly and the boundaries between the real and virtual worlds are becoming increasingly blurred. One of the most exciting trends currently on everyone's lips is the metaverse. But what is a metaverse anyway?
What is the Metaverse?
The Metaverse is a term that comes from science fiction literature and describes a virtual universe that encompasses a variety of digital worlds, environments, and experiences. It is an online multiplayer ecosystem that blurs the boundaries between different games, applications and platforms, allowing users to interact, collaborate, play or transact in real time.
There is not just one metaverse, but many fragmented metaverses that offer different content and functionality. One could well say that "metaverse" is a technology that enables a virtual multiverse consisting of many small metaverses.
The metaverse offers countless possibilities and has the potential to fundamentally change the way we work, play and communicate with each other. It opens up new business models and enables companies to present their products and services in an immersive and interactive environment. At the same time, it offers users the opportunity to collectively gain new experiences in a borderless universe.
In practice, however, the term metaverse is interpreted very broadly and applied to a wide variety of technical solutions that, by definition, are not actually metaverse at all. This often leads to confusion. Two central criteria define whether a metaverse is involved:
1) Space and time
Like the real universe, the metaverse has the dimensions of space and time. It is three-dimensional and is synchronized in real time, so that direct interactions between the participants are possible.
2) Real-time interactions: Multiplayer
In einem Metaverse können sich simultan mehrere Nutzer gleichzeitig aufhalten, sich grafisch sehen und in Echtzeit miteinander interagieren. Eine Einzelnutzer/Singleplayer-Lösung wie z.B. ein klassischer 3D- oder 360°-Rundgang für einen Anwender kann kein Metaverse sein.
Additional criteria for the metaverse are not mandatory, but are likely to develop their relevance further in the future.
The metaverse does not necessarily have to represent the world as we know it, but can be infinitely large and include imaginary places that can be developed into a metaverse solution. There are no limits to the imagination. The same applies to the content features.
The metaverse lives from its decentralized structure with users as so-called prosumers. The users generate interaction possibilities and thus dynamic content through their actions. To make this content accessible, a metaverse needs powerful servers for hosting. There are different strategies for user access with individual advantages and disadvantages. For example, users can be granted access using their own hardware (e.g., smartphone, PC, or VR glasses). Alternatively, the application can also be made available via streaming so that the user only has to log in via a browser, which makes access extremely low-threshold.
The metaverse is the blue ocean of our time - a virtually untapped market with unlimited possibilities in terms of content. At this point, the following fact should be emphatically pointed out: We now live in a time when video games such as Fortnite, developed by Epic Games, alone generate billions in annual sales. The market turnover for games, mostly interactive 3D games, is now larger than the turnover of the Hollywood film industry and the music industry combined. Not only is the real economic impact enormous. Some of the virtual economic systems are also so complex that large game studios also employ economists, among others, to balance the complex economic relationships in the applications themselves. The professional focus within our real economy education system tends to focus more and more on the digital and thus also on the virtual world.
Why is there not yet the Metaverse?
So the market for high-quality interactive multiplayer content is undeniable. So why aren't metaverses sprouting up like mushrooms? Or why doesn't the metaverse exist yet? The answer is multi-layered:
Currently, the digital real economy can still be dichotomously separated into programming in the "game" and "non-game" areas - although these categories are of course scaled very unequally.
The Metaverse, however, is a hybrid: from a technical perspective, it is a multiplayer game approach - albeit with some very specific focuses that clearly fall more into the B2B realm.
The metaverse is thus on the borderline of the usual market professionalization - proven players in this new field simply do not yet exist. Studios with the professional know-how of both worlds are therefore particularly suitable for implementation: Programming of interactive applications, ideally games, and B2B programming. Not all players on the market understand this balancing act, but as Aristotle already knew: "The whole is more than the sum of its parts.
By using the Unreal Engine 5, however, the realization of a moderately scaled metaverse approach becomes possible. It is used for games as well as for product configurators and architectural visualizations. Studio 2038 has extensive experience in using Unreal Engine 5 for a wide range of scenarios.
Nevertheless, the development of a metaverse is technically demanding and time-consuming.
Within the next few years, however, one or two high-quality approaches can be expected that have the potential to tap into this blue ocean.
As hardly anywhere else, the content of the respective metaverse solution depends on the product-market fit. If the metaverse does not create added value, it has no chance on the market. Another factor is the critical mass of multiuser solutions: Critical mass describes the number of users needed to initiate a self-reinforcement process in which the attractiveness and growth of the solution is maintained. If the critical mass is undercut for too long or not reached at all, this usually means the end of the application. However, once this threshold is reached, it becomes more likely that new users will join and existing users will remain engaged. This is then the basis for the growth of the metaverse.
Helping to shape the metaverse
You don't create a universe alone. Are you looking for dedicated consulting or a technical partner to develop your concept or integrate your content into an existing metaverse? We would be happy to discuss the possibilities with you. We are looking forward to your request!