Have you ever imagined a world where you can directly interact with the digital versions of humans, walk around in a mall and do shopping for your own virtual body, see the superfast running horses and flying dragons just around you, witness the dazzling light show of fireworks and even touch them, and experience a world which you can design as you like?
It may sound like fiction to you but it is the true reality.
(Image source: Expo Dubai Xplorer)
Last year in December 2021, The World Expo collaborated with Magnopus to provide a rich digital experience for millions of on-site and remote visitors globally.
Dubai Xplorer started a new method of accessibility and virtual interactivity with The Expo Dubai Xplorer that provides multilayer experience features and real-time connectivity between on-site and remote users with magical AR glasses.
This is Metaverse. A new virtual world where people can do all those things that they do in real life. The metaverse is the modern concept that uses virtual and augmented reality technology for making virtual space or world where users can live like real life.
On October 28 2021 when Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would now be known as ‘Meta’ and build the metaverse where people can play and connect in 3D, it created a sensation on the Internet and cleared out the metaverse is coming soon in the industry. People will need a VR headset or portable pair of AR glasses to experience this revolutionary virtual reality.
But what does metaverse mean to mobile app development?
Because everything in the metaverse is operated by apps. Whether it is for shopping, conferencing, or gaming, or any other virtual activity, apps are required to make these experiences fully functional.
And this is called Metaverse apps that harness the power of exciting features of smartphones, wearables, IoT, AR & VR to provide an immersive digital experience to users.
If you are a startup or next-gen entrepreneur who is looking for futuristic business ideas, metaverse app development could give you chance to establish your own digital venture and win in a world that has the lowest competition and the highest success potential.
In this article, I will discuss the metaverse and share insights into why you should be ready to develop apps for metaverse. Here you will learn why you should start working on investing in metaverse app development if you want to take a competitive advantage.
So gear up, and let’s dive into a new virtual world.
What is Metaverse?
Metaverse is a virtual-reality space or environment where users can interact with other graphic elements and users. It is a kind of network of 3D virtual worlds focused on social connection.
This is a revolutionary technology concept that uses virtual and augmented reality technology for making virtual spaces where users can live like real life. The metaverse is the emerging virtual place where people can spend time, meet friends or earn some money. You can buy clothes for your avatar and experience the unique digital art.
The term Metaverse was first coined in 1992 in Neal Stephenson's fiction novel "snow crash", where the author proposed the avatars who can meet and talk in a virtual environment.
Metaverse is currently in its inception phase but growing with great innovation and development. Facebook recently changed its name to Meta and openly declared the vision of building metaverse.
Microsoft is developing the full stack metaverse development toolkit, SDK, and cloud solutions for rising metaverse developers. Famous online game like Roblox, Minecraft, and Fornite are already utilizing AR/VR technology in game app development to provide immersive gaming experience to users.
Features of Metaverse
Metaverse is the combination of virtual and augmented reality technology with a goal to provide an immersive digital experience like real-life objects. It is a complex composition of different graphic and technology elements so its features are also unique.
- Mirrorworld: Metaverse is like a mirror world or a digitally rendered version of the physical world including real people, places, and things. Mirrorworld is one of the top features of metaverse which is often found in sci-fi movies such as Netflix’s Stranger Things, The Matrix film series. The metaverse design reflects the mirror image of the physical world and this is what makes it an entirely different technology concept.
- Skeuomorphic Design: Metaverse has Skeuomorphic design. It means virtual objects are made closely to resemble real-world objects. It often appears tethered to the design of material reality but it doesn't have to be exactly similar and that is what you can see in metaverse graphic design.
- Digital Twin: NASA was the first one which used digital twin technology to run simulations of space capsules in 2010. Metaverse uses this digital twin technology to create a virtual or digital version of a real-life object or thing.
- Avatar: This is the hottest feature of metaverse. An avatar is basically the virtual persona of a human person. This is the digital rendering of a person's appearance.
- A New Kind of Social Connection: The concept of metaverse is based on providing a new concept of social connection where people can appear in their avatars and do lots of things with other avatars (who are also people or other users). You can hang out and interact with them virtually. Here, your avatar can also walk over and sit next to other's avatar to begin a discussion.
- VR Headset: As metaverse is an interactive virtual environment, users need a VR headset to fully immerse into it and see the objects more closely.
- Change As You Like: Metaverse is a dynamic graphic environment that allows its users to make any changes in the objects or whatever they want. You can add new virtual buildings, space, arts, or other innovative creations and these changes remain in the same place till the next time you visit. Metaverse allows user-generated content, your personal digital creations, and stories in the same way social media does today.
- Feel like Real Life: The purpose of metaverse is to provide a high-standard virtual experience to users that actually represent the real objects in the physical world. For instance, you can fly in a virtual airplane in the metaverse which works exactly like an actual airplane in the real world.
When People Can See Metaverse Fully Functional?
Metaverse doesn't exist yet. It is in the cradle. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta (Formely popular as Facebook), says Metaverse could take 5-10 years to come into functional or proper working condition. But it has started evolving fast.
We can see some aspects of metaverse in gaming and other technological solutions. Expo Dubai Xplorer is the recent example of metaverse which provides real-time connectivity between on-site and remote users across the material and digital world.
Latest Examples of Metaverse
1. Meta: The famous tech giant Facebook surprised the world with its significant investment in virtual reality. It changed its name to Meta with a vision to create a metaverse where digital avatars can connect through travel, work, or entertainment using VR headsets.
Facebook already started working on the metaverse concept that is why it acquired Oculus for $2.3 billion in 2014. Facebook's Horizon Workrooms is a sort of VR version of Zoom with avatars (without legs).
Meta CEO Mark said last month after revealing the company's rebranding, "The next platform and medium will be even more immersive and embodied internet where you’re in the experience, not just looking at it, and we call this the metaverse,".
Here, the digital transfers will be done in crypto currencies where artwork creators can exchange the money by leasing the digital objects. This is enabled through the NFT tool in metaverse.
2. Second Life: This is an online virtual world introduced in 2003. Second Life is the earliest example of metaverse which is an open-world social network with avatars.
3. Roblox: Founded in 2004, Roblox is an online gaming platform where users can build homes, work, and playout scenarios. Roblox has collaborated with skateboarding shoe company Vans to make Vans World- a virtual skateboarding park where players can dress up in fresh Vans gear. This is a kind of typical metaverse where users can try and buy clothing and accessories for their own avatars.
4. Minecraft: Minecraft, owned by Microsoft, is basically the digital equivalent of Legos. It is an online virtual gaming portal where players can make their own digital characters and play in multiple ways. This game became huge popular during the Covid-19 pandemic especially among kids who wanted to experience some funny virtual activities.
5. Microsoft Mesh: Mircosoft created a buzz on the Internet when it introduced Mesh. Microsoft Mesh is a mixed reality and team collaboration platform which uses Holoportation, virtual avatars, augmented reality that enables presence and shared experiences from anywhere on any device.
(Image source: Microsoft Mesh)
Microsoft Mesh focuses on providing immersive interaction of real-life collaboration in the virtual environment. Here, users can share ideas with other team members around the globe, and interact with digital objects.
6. Epic Games Metaverse: Epic Games is another emerging metaverse platform. Its creators are from the popular game Fortnite. Epic Games’ CEO Tim Sweeney says that our metaverse would be an expansive and digitized communal space where people can interact with brands and other people.
It would be a kind of online playground where users could join friends to play a multiplayer game like Epic’s “Fortnite”, watch a movie via Netflix, and bring their friends to test drive a new car which would be crafted exactly as same as the real-life car.
7. Zepeto:Zepeto is the metaverse owned by Zara. It is a kind of mobile metaverse of 3D digital avatars with over 2 million daily active users. Zepeto is one of the fastest-growing metaverses in the past few years in the industry.
Here, users can make their virtual avatar and interact virtually with millions of users around the world. The Zepetometaverse is like a social network that uses NFTs and other features for social interaction.
8. HoloLens 2: This is Microsoft's another technology venture. HoloLens 2 is the second edition of Microsoft's revolutionary head-mounted mixed reality device. It is the combination of mixed reality and smart glasses which is designed to improve users' accuracy and efficiency.
By using this device, users can create a holographic diorama, make video call and share holographic vision, plan a project virtually, and explore the digital version of real-life scenarios.
What Does Metaverse Mean To Mobile App Development?
Meteverse is the digital universe that cannot be owned by anyone like the Internet. It is a new virtual world that will need applications to enable various activities and functions. Facebook's Horizon Workrooms, which is a VR-enabled meeting application.
This app allows users to meet online in the form of digital avatars and speak to each other and share documents in the same virtual room. This is called Metaverse app that gives entry users into the metaverse and features to operate the avatars and other digital content or objects.
Metaverse applications combine the features of smartphones, wearables, IoT, AR/VR headsets, smart glasses, and blockchain technology to enable or access the features of metaverse.
Just like in mobile app development users can do so many things within an app, similarly, in a metaverse application, users can do the same things but in a virtual form.
For example, retail apps can invite consumers to explore their virtual store and shop for exclusive collections and even try clothing on avatars which would reflect their actual weight and measurements. Real estate agents can provide virtual tours,car sellers can offer virtual test drive through VR applications.
Many companies want to develop virtual reality applications to solve the industry's current requirements. Be it business operations, healthcare, finance, construction, manufacturing, engineering, event management, web development, or other industry, companies are using the powerful features of AR and VR apps to improve their sales and business efficiency.
Metaverse is growing. It uses multiple technologies in one place and to make it fully functional and requires a dedicated application that can give users access to use and play in the metaverse.
This is the field of metaverse app development that will need AI & ML specialists, AR/VR app developers, programmers, mobile app developers, and computer-vision engineers to develop apps for metaverse in the upcoming years. It is same as mobile app development and web development where developers and programmers are needed to build an Android or iOS app, or a website.
For metaverse, mobile app development companies have to hire dedicated metaverse app developers, AI specialists, and AR/VR developers to provide metaverse solutions to industries.
And the best thing is that many global companies and organizations have already developed SDK for metaverse app development. Pokémon Go developer, Niantic recently released its “Lightship Augmented Reality Developer Kit” to support the development of "real-world metaverse" applications and to allow developers around the world to conceptualize their visions for augmented reality.
This augmented reality development kit includes the tools and technology which integrates the core three augmented reality features: real-time mapping, multiplayer experience, and semantic segmentation.
So what does it mean to mobile app developers?
It is clear. Whether it is Android application development or iOS development, app developers will have to learn metaverse app development and provide solutions to businesses with metaverse apps.
Microsoft's Metaverse Stack is another metaverse app development resource that enables developers to build a rich digital model of anything physical or logical.
The best thing about Microsoft's Metaverse Stack is that it is highly focused on real-world conceptualization. There are no fantasy avatars. Developers can create completely real-life like characters and build a virtual solution completely like real world.
Nvidia recently announced the expansion of its Omniverse platform (an open-source technology) that allows software engineers to collaborate on developing a physical product.
Nvidia considers Omniverse as the 3Dequivalent of a web browser where users can portal in and out of Omniverse with workstations or laptops. They can also mix with AR and anyone can see the scene on Omniverse by streaming RTX to their device. To develop apps for Omniverse, developers can use the resources at Omniverse Developer Resource Center.
Nvidia and Microsoft's metaverse stacks are private development toolkits. There are also open metaverses which are open to developers for non-commercial use. Just like Angular.JS, React.JS, and Vue.JS are open source platforms for web development, open source metaverse platforms allow developers to create metaverse apps for different metaverse brands.
What does it mean for developers?
It means developers will have to learn these open metaverses and use the resources to provide solutions for private metaverses like Microsoft, Meta (Facebook), or other upcoming virtual platforms in the future.
Conclusion: Metaverse is Coming, Prepare Yourself Now
Metaverse is the digital universe. It is an entirely revolutionary technology concept that will fully transform the future. Today, people meet on 2D platforms either on websites or mobile applications.
But in metaverse, users will interact with other people in 3D virtual experience and play with all the fascinating objects. Industries will build metaverse applications to allow their customers explore products and make a purchase.
Healthcare sector will use metaverse apps in medical education, patient treatment, and disease diagnosis. Manufacturing industry will use metaverse apps to improve their product design and production efficiency.
To make all these functioning, companies will need the best metaverse app development solutions that resolve the industry's requirements while providing a fully immerse digital experience to users.
If you are a startup or entrepreneur, you should prepare yourself now and start working on the metaverse app ideas that can solve industry's future problems.
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