Metaverse: A 21st Century Wonderland

metaverse and virtual reality

Let’s take a trip down the metaverse rabbit hole  

“Look! Up in the Sky. It’s a Bird… It’s a Plane … It’s Superman!”   

Look! Into Your VR Headset. It’s a Virtual World… It’s a Digital Paradise… It’s the Metaverse!   

We all know that Superman is not real (unfortunately). But the metaverse definitely is.  

You are probably wondering – what is this metaverse?   

As a word or concept, the metaverse is not new. It was first coined in 1992 by Neal Stephenson in his dystopian sci-fi novel Snow Crash. Here, the metaverse referred to a computer-generated virtual world. Fast forward thirty years, the metaverse has moved beyond the confines of a literary novel and has become a reality.   

The metaverse is a 3D virtual world that people enter by strapping on VR headsets or AR glasses. Here one can do anything they do in the real world – shop, eat, hang out with friends and so on. But even these everyday activities become a unique experience in the metaverse.  

So, get ready to venture down the metaverse rabbit hole into a whole new world – full of the wonderous, fascinating and the brilliantly bizarre.    

What are you waiting for?  

Let’s take the plunge.  

Human Relations 3.0 in the Metaverse Virtual Reality 

Metaverse is going to push the boundaries of human connections. So, hold on to your horses because how we interact with one another will change. Forever.   

For instance, in the era of new-age dating, you will never be limited. Here, you can impress your date by taking them anywhere. Not just for a coffee in your neighbourhood café but lunch in Rome, dinner in Paris or even Margheritas in outer space.   

But don’t forget to read the fine print. It can come with a big side dish of catfish(ing).  

In the professional domain, it’s virtual offices and meetings, where you’ll ‘feel’ like you are at work from the comfort of your home. Because, of course, every employee wants that.   

On another note, it might help address some of the social isolation that remote working has brought to our world.  

Out of the World Concerts   

“Can’t you hear it coming your way, it’s here to stay…  

You can’t stop the music; nobody can stop the music.”  

Indeed, not even a deadly pandemic could kill the music. Social distancing shut down live concerts. But music found a way to survive. All thanks to the metaverse.   

In these virtual concerts, artists didn’t just replicate real-life shows. They outdid them.  

Imagine:  

Your favourite artist, skyscraper-sized, belting out song after song while you swim underwater, float through outer space and experience an asteroid crash.   

No, this isn’t my fantasy. It’s a real, well, virtual Travis Scott concert that took place in Fortnite, a popular video game.   

And the famous artist is just one of many others (like Marshmello, Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande) who have managed to craft mind-blowing, surreal experiences for fans through a simulated reality.   

If artists continue delivering such spectacular performances, virtual concerts are here to stay.  

Virtual Couture   

Ralph Lauren. Gucci. Nike. Dolce &Gabbana.  

What do these brands have in common?  

Yes, these are big brands. But that’s not it. These are brands that have entered the 3D marketplace with a bang! And it’s because people are ready to drop a lot of money to dress their digital avatars in top-of-the-line apparel, while my broke self can’t even think about buying the real version (sob!) 

Wait.   

It gets better. Some people are even willing to spend more on digital clothes and accessories than real-life ones.  

For instance, inside Roblox, a gaming platform, a virtual Gucci purse sold for $4115, approximately $800 more than the cost of the real bag.  

Something about virtual fashion that I am eagerly looking forward to is the convenience of trying clothes on in the digital space before buying them in the real world.   

Goodbye, long queues for the changing room! Now I can buy myself the perfect jeans without moving a muscle. Ah, my dreams have come true.  

Unreal Estate and ‘Stranger Things’   

Fun Fact: Last year, someone paid nearly half a million to be Snoop Dog’s neighbour in The Sandbox. That’s not some lovely beach property off the west coast but a virtual scape in the metaverse.  

The next real estate or rather ‘unreal’ estate boom seems to be 3D land. People are spending millions of dollars to own virtual land, from big brands to celebrity fans.  

Sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction.  

Speaking about ‘stranger things’ – MacDonald plans to open shop in Meta-land! However, will people pay for food they cannot eat? At least you won’t get fat eating virtual junk food. Oh, maybe that’s the angle. Experience the pleasure of eating without the pain of gaining.   

Before you go off on a merry romp through the metaverse wonderland, it is vital to point out some things to be careful about. There have already been cases of sexual assault, bullying and racism reported in the metaverse. And current laws and systems are falling short on addressing these sensitive issues.  

Despite this, there is no denying that the metaverse, an exciting and sometimes confounding space has the power to change our world.   

How powerful is it?  

It can make Superman real. Maybe like Nikeland and Gucci Garden, there will be a Marvel-land full of our favorite Superheroes. Where one can talk to Superman, perhaps even get him to sign your digital t-shirt. Maybe it will go one step further. And we might even get to become Superman and experience what it’s like to fly, have superpowers and wear red trunks in public. The last one’s definitely on my bucket list.  

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