The metaverse is finally here and apparently, here to stay.
What started as a fringe concept for video games and alternative reality enthusiasts seems to have now become a worldwide reality. From headlines of companies such as Facebook rebranding to META to news about tech and creative sectors giants pouring billions of dollars in R&D to create virtual worlds that will save us from the dull reality of our everyday lives.
Are you ready, Player One?
In this article we will explore the intricacies of the Metaverse, how they relate to the second NFTs boom and the part intellectual Property (IP) plays in this new reality.
As defined by Wikipedia, the metaverse is a hypothesised iteration of the internet, supporting online 3D virtual environments through conventional personal computing, as well as virtual and augmented reality headset.
In other words, the Metaverse is defined as a child friendly version of the Matrix, where all humans will be able to connect and interact without the overzealous robot overlords. A virtual world where everything will be possible.
The term Metaverse was initially coined by sci-fi American author Neal Stephenson in his 1992 book “Snow Crash”. A novel that covers history, linguistics, anthropology, archeology, religion , computer science, politics, cryptography, memetics and philosophy. Or what I like to call, a book about the human psyche.
Despite the latest headlines of Facebook rebranding to META which includes a buying spree of related trademark assets, the implications of the Metaverse are well beyond the grasp of any single entity and here is why.
The Business Verticals
In order to develop a successful Metaverse, different business niches and technologies have to be combined.
Virtual World and Virtual Reality. This domain that often falls under the umbrella of video games production and many well known video games companies already operate their own successful metaverse.
Tools Builders. while the 2D internet was created on code that build pages, the 3D metaverse is built on engines that creates interactive worlds. The biggest engine companies, Unity and Unreal Engine are already multi billion dollar companies.
Hardware Builders, in order to experience the metaverse and array of hardware is needed (mobile, Pcs, consoles, VR headsets) and this market is led by big names such as Microsoft, Sony and Nvidia.
To Centralise or Decentralise
Like any new technology or trend, the rise of the Metaverse, although ushered by a hype in the decentalised world of NFTs and blockchain technology, is poised to be overshadowed by corporations. Two opposing philosophies that will lead to majorly different outcomes, whose impact could either make or break the world in a few decades.
Top Metaverse companies
While centralised projects are powered by their respective companies' software and cloud infrastructure; decentralised metaverses are built around their respective communities, NFTs and native blockchain protocols. A philosophy of privacy and monopoly versus a philosophy of transparency and communities.
At the forefront of these new virtual reality are video games companies and those that create the necessary hardware. An honourable mention should be made about Tencent, the chinese conglomerate and biggest video game company in the world by revenue. Tencent it’s also a majority shareholder in all other major video game studios such as Epic games and Unreal Engine.
Tencent is expected to have the greatest influence and to benefit the most from the global adoption of centralised metaverses. On the other hand, the growth of decentralised metaverses is expected to equally benefit their creators and communities.
NFTs, the key to a shared Metaverse
Blockchain technology NFTs are the key to a more inclusive metaverse that will enable players, creators and other stakeholders to actively participate and benefit from the expected growth.
A new reality of shared creativity
The metaverse is powered by creativity; the creativity of millions of graphics designers,engineers, artists and players from all corners of the planet. And this sense of community and shared wealth is what will make it unique.
As with anything build on creativity, we can’t dismiss the role of intellectual property (IP) and intellectual property rights.
The Metaverse is all about IP. It’s about the expression of individual creativity in order to create unique content, entertainment and ultimately engagement. A seamless environment where creators can monetise their work and rights while creating experiences beyond the boundaries of space.
The video game Fortnite hosted a virtual concert featuring Travis Scott that successfully attracted 12 millions attendees, with some reviewers calling it “ stunning” and “spectacular”.
At the same time, decentalised platforms are enabling their community members to become virtual landlords, by buying lands as NFTs and monetise them, through renting to other creatives that in turn, earn from organising virtual events. From concerts to art and fashion exhibitions, the metaverse will provide borderless revenue streams to savvy creatives.
How can you benefit from the development of the Metaverse?
Support your favourite projects
Play to earn
Create to earn
For those looking to create projects within the metaverse, make sure to register your copyrights, trademarks and other intellectual property rights beforehand. Facebook is facing a trademark infringement lawsuit against Meta PCs, a Arizona (US) based PCs retailer that happened to file for the name back in August.
Regardless of how you feel about this industry, it’s here to stay and will surely become an importnat part of our lives, if not, the lives of the next generation.