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There’s no denying the fact that the global tech landscape has evolved immensely over the past few years. The cryptocurrency sector in particular — especially the concept underlying the burgeoning ‘metaverse’ ecosystem — has gained a lot of traction. This is evidenced by the fact that between 2020 and 2021 alone, the total capitalization of the digital asset industry grew from $1 trillion to $3 trillion, albeit briefly.
Before proceeding any further, it would be best to describe what I think the metaverse is. Simply put, it is a 3D version of the Internet aiming at mimicking real life in a digital space by cranking up the immersion factor to a whole new level — Virtual Reality (VR) representing the ultimate experience. The tech has gained so much traction in recent years that conservative estimates suggest that the global metaverse market reach a cumulative valuation of around $1.6 trillion by 2030, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 50.74% between 2022 to 2030.
That being said, it is worth pointing out that the world of VR currently lacks several elements of the metaverse that experts believe are key to the growth of this nascent market. For example, most VR-centric games today come without a blockchain framework; feature a poorly designed economic setup; lack tangible incentives; or have shoddy gameplay mechanics. As a result, they have small, limited user bases, a problem that has been compounded by problems of poor graphics, lack of upgradability, and low scalability.
The VR industry needs a makeover
While there’s no denying the revolutionary potential that VR tech as a whole possesses, adoption has been somewhat lackluster. This is because a vast majority of content that is currently available across the VR ecosystem is limited in its scope of operation. VR content has failed to evolve tangibly over the years. To this point, many gamers are constantly looking for VR adaptations of their favorite titles, which hasn’t materialized due to numerous graphic and hardware constraints.
However, many projects are now helping solve this conundrum by merging the best aspects of revolutionary games and movies with unique game mechanics, algorithmic solutions, and ideas embedded within a realistic VR framework. In short, these projects are designed to devise an unprecedented, new virtual world that is on a level equivalent to that of world-class gaming titles — all while mixing in key aspects of blockchain and crypto tech such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs), native cryptocurrencies, and a decentralized asset market.
Lastly, by virtue of being built on the blockchain, assets available within these projects can be created directly by their users as well as registered on the blockchain as NFTs. Simply put, players are afforded the ability to build, create and securely trade in-game assets — whether it be items, characters, or tokens —with the touch of a button.
Existing problems are being met head-on
A major downside of today’s VR titles is that they are quite confined as far as their free world expansiveness goes. Again, this is a direct reflection of the technology’s software and hardware confinements. Many of today’s emerging projects allow users to operate within an environment where anyone can create absolutely anything. The end goal is now to create an ecosystem similar to some of the most prominent blockchain gaming titles, where every aspect of the metaverse is completely decentralized and owned directly by its users.
Not only that, upcoming projects making use of blockchain and VR come replete with future-ready ‘algorithmic data’ systems that allow for the creation of in-game events usable even when their developers and creators are not online. Essentially, these games harness the full power of VR and infuse them with various key aspects of the metaverse, thus allowing for the creation of a parallel universe where users are free to do as they please.
The future will be completely decentralized
As people all over the world continue to gravitate towards decentralized technologies, it stands to reason that the burgeoning metaverse will only continue to grow. In fact, as the use of VR and the metaverse expands into untapped horizons such as education, health care, manufacturing, job training, communications, and retail, researchers believe that the metaverse could contribute $3 trillion (€2.8 trillion) to the global GDP over the next ten years.
Analysts also believe that when used in conjunction with VR-enabled devices and smartphones, the metaverse could reach unprecedented realms. These technologies stand to contribute $440 billion and $1.04 trillion of capital, respectively, to the economies of Europe and Asia by 2033.
Thus, it will be interesting to see how the future of this rapidly evolving space continues to play out.
Adam Bém is the cofounder of Victoria VR, a blockchain expert and VR propagator with over five years of experience in project management, strategic planning and blockchain technology.