The metaverse may be very early in its development, but that’s not stopping some of the biggest names in tech (and beyond) from getting involved.
From social media giants to high-end fashion retailers, everyone wants an early piece of the potentially massive digital word. Here, we’ll take a quick look at some of the companies that are building and contributing to the metaverse.
When Facebook changed its name and announced a new unprecedented (and expensive) focus on a virtual universe, it brought the metaverse concept front and center. However, their efforts didn’t actually start there; Meta (then Facebook) bought Oculus VR, Inc. seven years before the name change.
Through it, they released the Horizon Workroom app in 2021 that allows employees and businesses to collaborate in real time via virtual reality. Many consider this to be Meta’s first step into developing the metaverse.
Microsoft has also invested big money in the Metaverse. The tech giant just spent nearly $70 billion to acquire Activision Blizzard – and CEO Satya Nadella openly admits that it was to help build the metaverse. But that’s not the only expensive investment they made.
It has also invested heavily into both its Hololens technology and acquisition of AltspaceVR. Microsoft has admitted that it hopes to build its metaverse presence for both gamers and businesses. Given its powerful cloud servers, they just might be able to give Meta a run for its money.
Some consider NFTs to be the keys to accessing the metaverse, even if they don’t necessarily exist in a single virtual world. Some do, some do, and some can even be ported to different platforms (which will likely expand in the future). Here’s where OpenSea comes in.
OpenSea doesn’t have a virtual world of its own. However, it’s still heavily involved in the metaverse by serving as a platform for the sale of NFTs. Think of it as ebay for the metaverse: creators can list their NFTs for auction, and buyers come in a bid. With NFT inching towards the billions, OpenSea is perfectly positioned to gain both profit and influence from the metaverse.
Many would argue that Second Life was the first attempt at a true metaverse. Users and businesses could create an account, buy some virtual land, and build whatever they want. In other words, it worked more like the Internet, where users and businesses can build websites and technologies accessible to anyone with an internet connection.
It just happened to be a 3D version. It also features a marketplace where users can purchase virtual goods (which would be defined as NFTs by today’s standards) for Linden Dollars (the in-game currency that can be traded for real money).
While this may sound more like The Oasis in Ready Player One (often used as an analogy for the metaverse), it never quite pulled ahead of the one million user mark. Nearly twenty years later, its user base still falls well below that of popular social networking websites.
However, its founder and creator recently came back to see if he can help revitalize the platform for the metaverse.
Roblox has also been around for some time, but it seems to be realizing its full potential with the growing metaverse interest. And the timing couldn’t be better, as pandemic lockdowns sent its user base (and cash flow) soaring.
Roblox isn’t a virtual world in itself. Instead, it acts as a platform for its users to create games and experiences. This user-generated content is then listed on the Roblox marketplace.
Roblox made headlines when Gucci used it to sell a virtual hand bag for over $4100. It also experienced phenomenal growth during the pandemic.
Future Tech Labs
British firm Future Tech Labs created and maintains Multiverse for the Oculus Quest 2. This app features two concepts that very closely resemble a true metaverse: Infiniverse, and the concept of “metaverses.”
Infiniverse is a virtual city that’s designed to grow as its users grow. It’s filled with city streets, skyscrapers, art, and giant monsters roaming around.
Most skyscrapers also feature storefronts. You can enter a storefront to gain access to Multiverse’s version of “metaverses.”
Unlike a true metaverse, a “metaverse” in the context of Multiverse is just a virtual space designed and customized by users. These spaces can be an art gallery, a maze, or a digital storefront (among other things).
Future Tech Labs continues to expand the content and capabilities of the Multiverse platform as its userbase grows. They have also hinted that it might one day be available on PCs.
Epic Games is set to become a huge player in the metaverse. They already own one of the most popular virtual worlds in existence (FortNite).
They also own Unreal Engine, a popular game design tool that’s increasingly being used for VR applications. Given the importance of VR in the metaverse, Unreal Engine is set to fill a whole new market share.
But it doesn’t stop there. The company is also releasing Epic Space as a virtual social platform. They envision it as a place where users can socialize not only with each other, but also with brands.
Imagine being able to sit across from a virtual representative and feel as if you’re interacting in person with that company’s support agent. This might become a reality through Epic Space, although it’s currently too early to tell.
A new tech startup is throwing its hat into the metaverse ring with a virtual world specializing in entertainment. MetaRuffy promises to be a place where users can enjoy concerts, sporting events, social gatherings, and even go on dates.
It’s also offering investor opportunities with an NFT marketplace, crypto staking, and virtual land sales.
Additionally, developers are planning a virtual mall where users can purchase items for their virtual avatars and socialize with friends. All ticket and item sales will be made using the platform’s cryptocurrency, Meta Ruffy (basically the same name but with a space).
It’s expected to be fully launched by June 2022. However, users can still explore the developmental world and purchase land, NFTs, and the Meta Ruffy currency.
Tech companies aren’t the only ones getting involved with the metaverse. As we mentioned earlier, Roblox saw its user base grow exponentially during the pandemic.
Nike saw an opportunity to use Roblox’s growth as a platform to promote their brand, and they weren’t wrong.
Nikeland is a place where users can adorn their avatars with the latest apparel in athleticwear and enjoy competitions with others. While these competitions are influenced by real-life sporting events, they often bend the laws of physics (sometimes a lot) to enhance the digital experience.
Decentralized apps (dApps) are becoming the driving force behind metaverse transactions. Polygon is a company that helps developers scale their dApps as their audience sizes change.
They have also developed a framework for developing blockchain networks. A variety of other services are also offered.
Their platform is geared towards blockchain and Ethereum developers, so a deep dive into their services requires technical knowledge of how these technologies work. But if you are a blockchain developer or wish to become one, they have a robust platform worth considering.