The metaverse definition – All you need to know about the metaverse

Metaverse meaning

Are we at the dawn of the metaverse? – Yes, I guess so. People are still not familiar with the term metaverse, and they have been scrounging for “Metaverse meaning” quite a lot, resulting in its incredibly high searching rate. For the metaverse’s popularity and its ambiguous definition, DarePlay , in today’s article, would love to follow the track and make a list of the metaverse definitions in its (still) early days.

What is the metaverse?

The definition of the metaverse can be found earliest in Neal Stephenson’s 1992 Sci-fi novel titled “Snow Crash”. In this novel, the metaverse is considered a virtual reality space, beyond the internet, where people use avatars to interact with one another. People explore the online virtual world and have a fleeting escape from reality.

The metaverse can be explained all over tabloid and the mainstream digital media world as the combination of two words “meta” and “universe”.

The meaning of the metaverse is closely linked to the two aforementioned words.

The word “meta” originates from the Greek language. It means higher or beyond, after and next after. Overall, meta is related to something enlarged, something extended.

“Universe”, according to Cambridge dictionary, is “everything that exists, especially all physical matter, including all the stars, planets, galaxies…etc”

Gathering the definition of “meta” and “universe”, we now can define the metaverse as an extended version of the universe, of everything around us at the moment.

I personally find the above definition somehow bewildering, and I would prefer to define the metaverse by considering “meta-” a word-forming term and “-verse” a root-forming word.

Taking the reference from an online etymology dictionary, “meta” is a word-forming element. It means beyond, higher, after, and next after. It can also mean changed, or altered.

“Verse” – a Proto-Indo-European root forming word – forms words such as “adverse, converge, controversy, converse…”. The term “verse” means “exact opposite”

Based on the definitions extracted above, I could propose a final definition of the metaverse as follows.

The metaverse is an exact opposite world to our real physical world. The metaverse exists beyond the world of materials that we are currently surrounded by. To me, the metaverse has the ability to alter the real world.

I believe people can jump into the metaverse to socialize, get engaged and get transcendent experience. Things that they can or cannot do in the real world, will be possible in the metaverse (like the like public sphere).

Since the word “metaverse” is creating a buzz in the market, people are searching for the definition of the metaverse quite a lot.

Embracing and defining the metaverse

Embracing and deffining the metaverse
Embracing and deffining the metaverse

There are some definitions of the metaverse coming from big brands such as Meta or Facebook, and MicroSoft.

While Meta platform considers the metaverse as a social platform where people go to socialize and network, Microsoft believes the metaverse will serve like a working space where people meet up for professional training and discussing business stuff. One common thing in both Meta’s and Microsoft’s metaverse definition is that the metaverse is the alternative reality world or online virtual world for continuous human interaction to be formed. It is pretty much like the definition of cyberspace, but at a more advanced level, necessitating more implications in the future.

Apple Inc. , another tech gaint, also announce to hop on the metaverse bandwagon, continuously build up the metaverse, compete against other big tech companies in this blossoming sector.

Even some countries are trying to grasp the concept of metaverse, quickly adopting and promoting it. Among these countries, South Korea could be most noticeable for doing so.

South Korea seems to have a vision of the metaverse and put it in real life (IRL) actions.

The government of South Korea has spared nearly $200 million to encourage tech startups working on metaverse-related projects. A large number of metaverse oriented projects have been funded by the government. This country is making a bid on the metaverse, being willing to splurge their money to boost the country’s tech sector toward the metaverse future.

Among startups funded by the South Korean government, Zepeto is one of the most notable names which aim to create the metaverse. Zepeto has formed a metaverse oriented project called ZepetoX.

Zepeto - one of biggest metaverse from Asia
Zepeto – one of biggest metaverse from Asia

Zepeto is expected to have what it takes to be successful with web3 metaverse social project – ZepetoX, a 3D avatar platform with a sophisticated metaverse. Zepeto X is made with Unity, standing out as an example of Unity’s metaverse.

Notably, ZEPETO hosted the Unite Seoul 2020 conference, for Unity Korea in the metaverse. This virtual event attracted a large number of participants, offering experiences such as contemplating the Unity exhibit space, purchasing Unite Seoul event items for their metaverse avatars to wear, taking pictures with other users connected on the same map, and joining exclusive sessions prepared by Unity.

Zepeto metaverse is also being adopted and embraced by celebrities such as Selena Gomez and BLACK PINK. In particular, they have already begun to build deeper connections with their fans by hosting fan meetings and events hosted on ZEPETO.

Following Korea, other countries such as China, US, India, Israel, Uk, Canada and France are also hawkish on shaping the future metaverse.

Technology companies, in China, have already started testing the water, developing metaverse type apps, trademarking metaverse-related phrases, and pouring their money in the VR/AR segment.

The mighty US could not stand outside the game. As the matter of fact, the idea of the metaverse started in the US and up till now, many American companies are developing parallel technologies to foster the initial concept of the metaverse. In March 2021, Roblox, a popular American game company, landed on the New York Stock Exchange, spreading out the metaverse concept to the mainstream. The Microsoft CEO even said loud and clear that all the tech giants would enter the Metaverse.

Israeli tech is aspiring to play a vital role in the Metaverse. It is said that the local Israeli metaverse landscape has already included almost 50 companies, actively developing in this potential sector.

The Metaverse technology

The metaverse is mainly defined as a technical product. Therefore, to really find out a precise explanation of the metaverse, it is essential to dissect the technical side, especially focusing on the metaverse infrastructure, hardware and software components.

Hardware

Metaverse layers
Metaverse layers

Human interference is the key aspect of the metaverse hardware layer. Human interference combines spatial computing and human interface. It often involves or requires hi-tech equipment such as Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Mixed Reality (MR) or Extended reality (XR) headsets for the best experience.

Have a look at the above chart “The seven layers of the metaverse” proposed by Jon Radoff, other hardware devices making up the metaverse include mobiles, computers, designing tools, geospatial mapping tools and many other physical materials used in designing the metaverse.

Besides proposing the layers system of the metaverse, Radoff also mentioned the need for tiny hardware to support the efficiency of multi-device operation in the human interference layer. These tiny hardware devices include semiconductors that are approaching 3nm processes and beyond; microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) that facilitate tiny sensors; and compact, long-lasting batteries.

It will take a long time to fully experience the metaverse world.

At the present time, we cannot use complex devices like on those layers but can only use hardware devices to install metaverse games such as pc, PlayStation, smartphone, headset, sensors Oculus devices.

Oculus is one of the most popular VR production companies, acquired by Facebook in 2014, the first product to launch on Oculus was Horizon World, a metaverse invested by Meta since investing $10 billion in the field. this.

Software

AR glasses technology
AR glasses technology

AR, VR, MR and XR technology

The XR or Extended Reality environment is at the core of the metaverse.

XR technology is the overlap of AR, VR, and MR. It brings the mixed experience of all above mentioned technologies.

Therefore, to define the metaverse, understanding AR and VR technology is the key.

XA-VA-AR
XR-VR-AR-MR

The difference between VR and AR technology

VR

AR

Technical Principle Deploy real life data, electronic signals

created by computer technology and

various output devices to generate a world that appears to exist,

that people can feel but doesn’t exist in the real world

Virtual image rendering by

computers based on the real

world—emphasizing interaction

with the real world

Terminal device Head-mounted display (HMD), positioning

devices, motion capture devices, interaction

devices, etc.

Use cameras or imaging

devices to interact with the

real world, e.g. AR glasses

Experience Closed-loop, immersive experience—users

interact in real-time with the virtual world

Augmented real experience —

users in a real-virtual

intertwined world

Hologram

Hologram technology
Hologram technology

Another technology that has much potential to realize metaverse vision is hologram.

Why Hologram?

“A major barrier to widespread adoption of VR technology, however, is the bulky form factor of existing VR displays and the discomfort associated with that”

[Perkins Coie 2019, 2021]

Hologram, as its founder and CEO – Ben Forgan, is doing their part, turning connectivity into software and necessitating incredibly thin displays for VR/AR glasses.

The bulky VR/AR glasses commonly seen nowadays will be made thinner, just like the normal glass you wear on the beach or your short-sighted eye glasses.

What’s hologram?

holograms are, according to physicists’ definition, explained as preserved waves of light which is reflected from an object. There are two sources of light used to make a hologram: the reference beam, and the illumination beam. The former serves as the reference, and the latter is reflected and has all the information about the object that this beam encountered from different angles. And this is what makes holography so unique – since the light covers the photographic plate completely, each and every element of the plate has complete information about the object.

Hologram making process
Hologram making process

The astounding features of hologram have excited neuroscientists, Karl Pribram and David Bohm. They have come up with a conclusion that different brain regions oscillate or vibrate at different frequencies, resulting in interference patterns – just like light does in the process of making a hologram described above.

Therefore, any region of the brain, taking apart, should contain all of the information stored in it “as a whole”. This is known as The Holonomic brain theory, or The Holographic Brain, a branch of neuroscience. The mentioned theory focuses on investigating the idea of forming human consciousness in relation of quantum effects and brain cells. This is opposed by traditional neuroscience and cognitive science, which concentrate on investigating the brain’s behavior by considering patterns of neurons and the surrounding chemistry, assuming any quantum effects of minor interference in human perception.

The DarePlay research team has a separate article on hologram and how to enter the metaverse. For a deeper dive into hologram technology, please check this out!

Holographic Glasses for Virtual Reality

Holographic glasses schmetic diagram
Holographic glasses schmetic diagram

System explanation:

Coherent and collimated light travels through a waveguide. The light is then coupled out of the waveguide with a converging angle. After the light is polarized at the linear polarizer (thickness 𝑡p), the light is then modulated at the SLM.

The SLM has pixel pitch, pixel number, width, and height as below.

The modulated light travels back towards the user with a diffraction angle and meets the waveguide again.

Then, The grating will couple some light back into the waveguide (due to reciprocity) based on the diffraction efficiency, which is designed to be low.

The remaining uncoupled light passes through a QWP with thickness 𝑡q, and is then refracted at the GP lens with thickness 𝑡L and focal
length 𝑓L.

The chief rays create a viewpoint at an eye relief of 𝑑e from the GP lens and offer a horizontal FOV 𝜃v

The eye box 𝑤𝑒 depends on the diffraction angle 𝜃s. 𝑑e, 𝜃v, and 𝑤e can be calculated as follows:

de =fL*(𝑤s−2𝑛wtw tan(𝜃c/2))/(𝑤s + 2fL tan(𝜃c/2)−2𝑛wtw tan(𝜃c/2))

𝜃v= 2 tan-1(𝑤s− 𝑛wtw tan(𝜃c/2))/2𝑑e

 High-diffraction orders (HDOs) in Holographic Glasses

𝑤e = 2 tan(𝜃s/2)(𝑛wtw𝑓L + 𝑑e 𝑓L − 𝑛w𝑑e𝑡w)/𝑓L

Refractive index: 𝑛w
Converging angle: 𝜃c
Pixel number 𝑁x × 𝑁y, width 𝑤s, and height ℎs.
Diffraction angle: 𝜃s
GP len thickness 𝑡L
Focal length 𝑓L
A viewpoint at an eye relief of 𝑑e from the GP lens and offer a horizontal FOV 𝜃v.

Top metaverse projects

For this part of the article, I would classify top metaverse projects into four different types, basing on their main roles in the metaverse constructing progress.

Pure metaverse projects

1.1. The Sandbox

Sandbox, the metaverse game that all of us know
Sandbox, the metaverse game that all of us know
Definition:

The Sandbox is the virtual world sandbox type of game where you can run around, explore and build your own stuff. It is often compared it as Minecraft or Roblox but on the blockchain

The Upside Of The Sandbox
  • The Sandbox has already had Alpha Season 1 and Alpha Season 2. Both seasons were massive successes. Hundreds of thousands of people have shown up and participated in these two seasons.
  • The Sandbox has also managed to attract many big brands like Gucci, Addias, Snoopy Dog… to join the metaverse.
The Downside Of The Sandbox
  • The Sandbox is still in its early access phase. There are still many limitations regarding what builders can build in this metaverse.

1.2. Decentraland

Decentraland one of the best metaverse games
Decentraland one of the best metaverse games

Definition:

Decentraland is an expensive virtual world where players can run around, explore and play various games.

The Upside Of Decentraland

  • Decentraland is a completely playable game which sets it different from most metaverse games & projects in the continuous development phase.
  • Another noticeable thing about Decentraland is that many top brands have joined Decentraland to offer their own experiences. The first ever metaverse fashion show can be taken as an example. This show has had participation from brands such as Forever 21, Dolce & Gabbana, and Tommy Hilfiger, attracting over 100 000 unique visitors and showcasing a great success of a metaverse event.
  • The Decentraland DAO holds around 50M dollars to fund initiatives that can grow the ecosystem.

The Downside Of Decentraland

  • Decentraland has a pretty small recurring user base. The number of Daily Active Users (DAU) has dramatically decreased over the recent months.
  • One of the co-founder of Decentraland has left the Decentraland project and built another metaverse game called “Big Time” to compete against Decentraland. This is not good news to the Decentraland project.

1.3. Otherside

Otherside
Otherside

Definition:

The Upside Of Otherside

  • The interest from the community is incredible. They run a simple test of the metaverse system and thousands of people have showed up to test it out
  • The Yuga Lab – the team behind the Otherside metaverse and the Bored Ape Collection are a force to be recognized. They are extremely talented. They have an impressive track record and the jaw-dropping move of acquiring Cryptopunk shows that they have what it takes to succeed in the space.

The Downside Of Otherside

  • The Otherside project is under development, so players cannot play anything yet.
  • When Otherside goes live, in order to play the game, players likely have to own one of the NFTs from either BAYC, MAYC, BAKC, or CryptoPunks to join the game. This could be a prohibitive cost to many players who can not afford it.

Metaverse Builder Platform Projects

These projects essentially help developers to build their own metaverse or blockchain games.

2.1. Enjin

Enjin metaverse platform
Enjin metaverse platform

Definition:

Enjin makes it easier for developers to use NFTs in their games or apps.

The Upside Of Enjin

  • Enjin developers are innovators since they are those who have created the powerful ERC-1155 token standard. This standard has really unleashed the true power of NFT. For instance, you can upgrade them even after they have been or you can send a bunch of them in a single transaction and save a ton on gas fees.
  • The ENJ coin also gives an advantage to the Enjin project. The token is designed to back all the NFTs minted to their platform. Number speaks for itself. There have been 1.2B assets minted which are backed by ENJ token.

The Downside Of Enjin

  • The value on Enjin in-game assets are closely linked to the value of ENJ token. So if the token value is volatile, so do the assets.
  • Enjin does not have any top tier game in their ecosystem

2.2. Flow

Flow blockchain
Flow blockchain

Definition:

Flow is the layer 1 blockchain platform.

The Upside Of Flow

  • Instagram has just announced that they would support Flow and this news is all triplets.
  • Flow chains are sophisticated. They are all scalable and eco-friendly.
  • Flow has fully licensed collections from the NBA, NFL and UFC. And these, along with other ones, have already done over 1$ dollars in All-Time NFT sales.

The Downside Of Flow

  • There are not a lot of playable games on their chain

2.3. Efinity

Efinity
Efinity

Definition:

Efinity is the blockchain system that the Enjin team has designed because they’re fed up with the Ethereum problem. They self build their own chain to be tailor made for NFT use cases. It is actually a Polka Dot parachain.

“Parachains are those heterogeneous blockchains that are connected to Polkadot. They are interoperable with the Polkadot Network and other Parachains. A Parachain runs parallel to the Polkadot relay chain, and that is how it has derived the name Parachain (parallel chain).”

– Extracted from Polkadot site –

The Upside Of Efinity

  • Polkadot architecture gives Infinity scalability & Security it needs to operate smoothly.
  • Infinity has the $100M Infinity Metaverse Fund which is used to do innovative things. Hopefully, we could see something great coming out from the Efinity project

The Downside Of Efinity

  • The Infinity does not really offer anything super unique in terms of value to the broader NFT world.

Metaverse Accelerators

In this category, we zoom in on the projects, which function like start-up accelerators in Silicon Valley, giving a small amount of money to early-stage startups to get them going. In this case, in the perspective of blockchain technology and the metaverse, we consider projects to accelerate blockchain gamers, giving them the premium access to win games more often.

3.1. Yield Guild Games

Yield Guild games get back 10 times investment from Merid Circle
Yield Guild games

Definition:

Yield Guild Games (YGG) is a gaming guild concentrated on blockchain play-to-earn games. Their strategy is to buy premium NFTs, lend those out to gamers to play P2E games, and then take the cut of what the gamers earn.

The Upside Of Yield Guild Games

  • Yield Guild Games has helped thousands of people from developing countries to join the evolution of Play-to-Earn and blockchain games.

The Downside Of Yield Guild Games

  • Yield Guild Games offer their YGG token holders a cut of the revenue generated. YGG holders then can smack up insecurity territory which may get Yield Guild Games in trouble with the regulator.

3.2. Merit Circle

Merit Circle
Merit Circle

Definition:

Merit Circle is also a gaming guild concentrated on blockchain play-to-earn games, exactly the same as Yield Guild Games. Though they do give out scholarships to its players, they also do so much more. Merit Circle does a lot to advance the Play-to-Earn space.

The Upside Of Merit Circle

  • Merit Circle does investment, game incubation, and they also create a marketplace for in-game assets trading.
  • Merit Circle grows robustly with around 4 thousand gamers under their scholarship. These gamers have collectively generated over $2M across 50 games so far.
  • Merit Circle also manages over $100M in digital assets

The Downside Of Merit Circle

  • Merit Cirlce is taking a massive cut from its scholars with a 30% cut from scholars’ earnings.

Metaverse Play-to-Earn Games

4.1. Axie Infinity

Axie Infinity a trailblazer
Axie Infinity a trailblazer

Definition:

Axie Infinity is a trailblazer of the Play-to-Earn blockchain games. Axie Infinity is basically a blockchain-based game in which players purchase NFTs of adorable monsters and then use them to combat against other monsters in battles.

The Upside Of Axie Infinity

  • Axie Infinity has been able to attract many non-blockchain gamers. Many of them have been able to earn quite a bit.
  • Axie Infinity developers plan to build the game into a more metaverse like Sandbox or Decentraland.

The Downside Of Axie Infinity

  • Axie Infinity as many other Play-to-Earn games have been criticized as a ponzi game. And their model has been switched from Play-to-Earn to Free-to-Play game.

4.2. My Neighbor Alice

My Neighbor Alice
My Neighbor Alice

Definition:

My Neighbor Alice is like an online game called Animal Crossing, but on the blockchain. For those who have not known the Animal Crossing game, Animal Crossing game is a social simulation video game series developed and published by Nintendo. This game has been a thing for 20 years till now.

Like Animal Crossing, players, in My Neighbor Alice, role play a character as a human, living in a village inhabited by various humanlike animals. Human and animals live in harmony, and they can do many things together like fishing, bug catching, and fossil hunting

The Upside Of My Neighbor Alice

  • My Neighbor Alice is a Free-to-Play NFT game, so it is super approachable. It is mainly designed for non-blockchain gamers.
  • Anyone could play without buying My Neighbor Alice lands. But if players want to buy land, My Neighbor Alice’s lands are not so expensive as compared to some other metaverse games.
  • My Neighbor Alice has already released their Alpha Season 1.

The Downside Of My Neighbor Alice

  • My Neighbor Alice is still under development.

4.3. God Unchained

God Unchained witnessed the recorded high Mythic card sale with $76,000
God Unchained

Definition:

God Unchain is a free-to-play online trading card blockchain game. The game is pretty much like a famous online video game called “Magic: The Gathering”

“Magic: The Gathering” is a tabletop and digital collectible card game created by Richard Garfield. Released in 1993 by Wizards of the Coast (now a subsidiary of Hasbro), Magic was the first trading card game and had approximately thirty-five million players as of December 2018, and over twenty billion Magic cards were produced in the period from 2008 to 2016, during which time it grew in popularity”

Wikipedia

The Upside Of God Unchain

  • One of the team members of God Unchained – Chris Clay used to be a game director from Magic: The Gathering.
  • God Unchained is accessible. Buying the card pack to start playing the game is not a costly investment as compared to many other metaverse games.
  • God Unchained has over 450000 registered players in their community.

The Downside Of God Unchained

  • God Unchain is technically still in the Beta phase.
  • People have reported a bunch of bugs which do not seem to be fixed.
  • God Unchained is a Free-to-Play game. However, after a while players have to buy stuff or they just can not compete with other players anymore.

How to build the metaverse pragmatically?

How to build metaverse
How to build metaverse

The prevailing obstacle which impedes the realization of the metaverse ironically is the current fragmented so called micro-metaverse themselve.

Despite the hype, there has not been a complete and united metaverse.

The metaverse in The Sandbox is working independently from the metaverse in Decentraland, in Roblox, and many other metaverse projects.

To pragmatically build the metaverse, it is necessary that the metaverse builders/architects and any stakeholders who are involved in building it, have to keep building, but build with the possibility for integration.

Only when we have a united metaverse, where people are free to move around, free to explore and experience to the full, does the metaverse really exist.

Of course certain things with technology, especially with the metaverse infrastructure, hardware devices and software system underpinning the metaverse have to be upgraded.

For instance, the bulky AR, VR, MR or XR headsets have to be made more user-friendly.

Also, for each transaction to proceed, it requires lots of computing to solve a complicated formula. The energy consumption of the metaverse definitely needs to be well thought out in constructing the metaverse.

Can we build the metaverse without using the blockchain technology?

mesh metaverse introduced by Microsoft doesn''t use blockchain
Mesh metaverse introduced by Microsoft doesn”t use blockchain

Personally, I do think we can build the metaverse without the need of blockchain technology.

Actually, Roblox, Second Life, Animal Crossing and many other video games have proved the independent existence of the metaverse which has no touch with blockchain technology.

However, since the blockchain technology is believed to be the technology of the future, it will definitely be an integral part in forming the world beyond the internet – the web3 world where blockchain technology is at its core.

The metaverse or the web 3 world is an extension of the internet which will not exist in the url-based world wide web or soon-to-seem primitive social media apps, rather it will exist in a decentralized, interoperable and permission-less world.

In conclusion

To fully grasp the metaverse concept, it is essential to understand terms such as blockchain, web3 and NFTs.

I truly believe the metaverse can only exist in the web3 world. The whole article is focusing on defining the metaverse. I have taken you from different aspects to consider the metaverse. Hopefully, till the end of this article, you have a more comprehensive idea of the metaverse and better understanding about its concept.

Of course, there are challenges in constructing the metaverse that may somehow intimidate developers. However, it is a rewarding experience and they are all striving their best realizing the open metaverse.

The Dareplay.io research team continues to dive into this topic. More articles will be released overtime, follow us to get yourself in tuned.

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