Mark Zuckerberg is well and truly sold on the idea that the metaverse is going to emerge as the next major computing platform. Having rebranded his company to signify that belief last year, he followed last week with Meta Platform’s inaugural Meta Connect event, where it showed off some expensivenew hardware and the evolution of its VR services.

The new hardware in questionvis the Meta Quest Pro, which is a high-end VR headset that’s aimed at designers, professionals and other early adopters. You’d better be flush with cash if you’re thinking of getting one though, because its $1,500 price tag is well in excess of the $399 required to get your hands on the consumer-grade Meta Quest 2 headset.

As for Meta’s VR services, the biggest news was that the company is bringing its Horizon Worlds metaverse to non-VR platforms, including smartphones, tablets and computers. There’s also some new coding and modeling features that should enable people to build better spaces within it.

In addition, Meta announced the coming launch of its Meta Avatar Store later this year, together with the promise of partners across “sports, entertainment and more” being able to sell virtual clothing. So not only can you create your own cute and colourful metaverse avatar, but you’ll be able to dress him or her up in a style that befits your own personality.

The announcements at Meta Connect were all part of the company’s push to create confidence in its vision of the metaverse, which is described as “an embodied internet where you're in the experience, not just looking at it.”

Meta’s vision however is still something of a mystery, and one that’s said to be plagued with bugs and concerns over harassment, while Horizon Worlds remains barely used even by Meta’s own employees.

Meta’s vision of the metaverse is, then, still something of a work in progress. That said, it should be remembered that Meta isn’t the sole proprietor of the metaverse, as there are already plenty of alternative virtual worlds that have attracted the attention of a disparate range of audiences.

Rather than convincing us that Meta will be the powerhouse that drives forward mass adoption of the metaverse, Meta Connect perhaps best served as a reminder of what we have to look forward to as this wider vision of an “embodied internet” begins to emerge.

The Metaverse Will Be Fun

One takeaway from Meta Connect is that a big part of the metaverse will involve games, lots and lots of games. In fact, the event saw the launch of a multitude of new titles coming to the Meta Quest 2 VR headset, including Iron Man VR, Among Us VR, The Walking Dead Saint & Sinners: Chapter 2 and many more.

Games are a proven way to go because they’re already a big part of most other metaverses. Decentraland for example is one of the most explored metaverses currently in existence today, with its multi-million dollar virtual land sales, Snoop Dogg mansions and fashion shows.

It’s also home to one of the most popular metaverse destinations of all - Decentral Games, a social gaming metaverse that takes place in a virtual casino, where players can earn cryptocurrency playing games like poker, blackjack, roulette and slots.

Other games making waves in the metaverse include Illuvium, a virtual world where players hunt for deity-like creatures called “illuvials” within an alien landscape, capture them, and then adopt them to fight against other players and monsters. The illuvials are actually tradable NFTs, with the strongest and rarest being the most valuable, adding a competitive element to the game.

Apeiron meanwhile takes place in an immense online, multi-player gaming world where players effectively become gods of their own virtual worlds, with the power to perform all kinds of miracles, like creating floods, firestorms and more. The game involves guiding a race of ‘Doods’ from a pre-technology era on the path to becoming an advanced, modern civilization.

There are three aspects to the gameplay, including planet simulation, where players control individual planets and their unique biomes; World Exploration, which involves roaming the ‘godiverse” with a unique planet avatar and solving challenges along the way, and Galactic Progression, a more strategic challenge that involves building alliances with other players to take on powerful World Bosses.

The Metaverse Will Look Strange

Though many have imagined the metaverse as some kind of ultra-realistic simulation of the physical world that’s mapped to some kind of virtual expanse, the truth is that the metaverse is going to look a little less true-to-life than many of us had imagined.

At Meta Connect it was made pretty clear that while Meta Quest Pro Faces might be more expressive than ever, they still don’t look any more real. Lots of people were quick to poke fun at Zuckerberg’s original metaverse avatar when it was unveiled earlier this year, and the latest iteration hasn’t improved much. Cute, cartoon-style avatars is where it’s at.

There are a couple of reasons why. For one thing, some people might find that highly realistic avatars are a tad unnerving or unsettling. To attract more users, the metaverse needs to look fun and playful. There’s also the need to cater to lower-powered devices. A highly realistic metaverse would need the most powerful graphics processors and most people simply don’t have access to them. So, more simplified graphics will ensure the metaverse remains much more accessible.

That’s not to say the metaverse won't necessarily look good, for already we’re seeing lots of traction in the space among fashionistas. Along with Meta’s promise of being able to buy accessories through its Meta Avatar Store, there are other metaverses that encourage people to explore their creative talents.

In Fashion League, users can create their very own fashion label and design various accessories and articles of clothing that can be worn by their pixelated avatars. While it’s still a work in progress, the prospect of being able to design clothes, enter contests and take part in fashion shows is one that’s likely to hold lots of appeal, and could eventually drive us towards a more realistic, or at least more aesthetically pleasing virtual existence.

The Metaverse Will Be a Place Of Work

As much as it’s a place for people to play, the metaverse will also be somewhere people can meet in order to complete more serious tasks around work. Imagine, if you will, an engineer working on a new highway.

After overseeing the latest strip of tarmac laid down onto the road, he’ll step inside his mobile office, take off his overalls and don a VR headset to enter a virtual office where he’ll meet with local councilors and technicians to provide an update and discuss the next task that awaits.

The metaverse will be a place that fosters collaborative work, with participants using either VR or Augmented Reality depending on which one is most suitable for the job in hand.

It’s a vision of a world where Zoom is replaced with virtual meeting rooms, making online collaboration much more immersive than it is now. Entire PowerPoint presentations could be transformed to adorn a virtual conference room. Colleagues can then interact with it via their digital avatars.

At Meta Connect, the company presented how work may take place within the metaverse that cannot be done on a 2D screen, for instance by using VR tools to design a new kind of sneaker shoe in real-time. Such tasks are already possible within Meta’s Horizon Worlds, and that leaves us with no doubt that work will be completely reinvented within the metaverse.

The Metaverse Will Be Highly Accessible

One thing we learned from Meta Connect is that the world is a diverse place, where everyone has their own devices and preferences for accessing the internet. Not everyone will be able to afford Meta’s high-end Quest Pro VR headset, so one of its main goals is to ensure the metaverse is accessible through other kinds of devices, including a smartphone, TV, PC and tablet. To that end, Horizon Worlds is undergoing a major revamp that will make it accessible via a standard web browser.

This is in line with the existing metaverses we can visit today, with the likes of Decentraland, The Sandbox and others also able to be entered via an existing browser.

Elsewhere, there are existing projects that aim to make the metaverse more accessible in other ways too. One of the key technologies in the metaverse is NFTs, but many of the best utility tokens can be prohibitively expensive. For example, the BAYC Metaverse is an exclusive virtual world that can only be accessed by holders of a Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT, which have a current floor price of 77 ETH at the time of writing, or just over $100,000.

While the BAYC Metaverse is an exclusive club for the digital elite, just about anyone can enter Affyn’s Nexus World, which is a new kind of metaverse that’s mapped to the real world. Wherever you’re located physically, you can enter the equivalent destination within Nexus World’s virtual realm. Within this mobile-accessible world, you’ll be able to explore, play games and complete various activities according to what’s available at your current geolocation.

Nexus World borrows a key concept from Pokemon Go, overlaying the real-world with Buddie NFTs that can be hunted for free within shopping malls. Simply wander around the mall and discover them with your augmented reality lens to start discovering the benefits of this unique metaverse.

Affyn has previously held virtual land sales at extremely low prices too, making it possible for anyone to buy their own parcel of digital land at an inexpensive price.

Final Thoughts

The biggest takeaway from Meta Connect is that the metaverse, while far from fulfilling its vision, is something everyone can partake in now. It’s already up and running and it’s very accessible too, even if it still only exists in a virgin form. As the metaverse goes from strength to strength, we can expect to see a lot more interest in the established early use cases we’ve seen in gaming, socializing, creativity and collaborative work.

Mark Zuckerberg is well and truly sold on the idea that the metaverse is going to emerge as the next major computing platform. Having rebranded his company to signify that belief last year, he followed last week with Meta Platform’s inaugural Meta Connect event, where it showed off some expensivenew hardware and the evolution of its VR services.

The new hardware in questionvis the Meta Quest Pro, which is a high-end VR headset that’s aimed at designers, professionals and other early adopters. You’d better be flush with cash if you’re thinking of getting one though, because its $1,500 price tag is well in excess of the $399 required to get your hands on the consumer-grade Meta Quest 2 headset.

As for Meta’s VR services, the biggest news was that the company is bringing its Horizon Worlds metaverse to non-VR platforms, including smartphones, tablets and computers. There’s also some new coding and modeling features that should enable people to build better spaces within it.

In addition, Meta announced the coming launch of its Meta Avatar Store later this year, together with the promise of partners across “sports, entertainment and more” being able to sell virtual clothing. So not only can you create your own cute and colourful metaverse avatar, but you’ll be able to dress him or her up in a style that befits your own personality.

The announcements at Meta Connect were all part of the company’s push to create confidence in its vision of the metaverse, which is described as “an embodied internet where you're in the experience, not just looking at it.”

Meta’s vision however is still something of a mystery, and one that’s said to be plagued with bugs and concerns over harassment, while Horizon Worlds remains barely used even by Meta’s own employees.

Meta’s vision of the metaverse is, then, still something of a work in progress. That said, it should be remembered that Meta isn’t the sole proprietor of the metaverse, as there are already plenty of alternative virtual worlds that have attracted the attention of a disparate range of audiences.

Rather than convincing us that Meta will be the powerhouse that drives forward mass adoption of the metaverse, Meta Connect perhaps best served as a reminder of what we have to look forward to as this wider vision of an “embodied internet” begins to emerge.

The Metaverse Will Be Fun

One takeaway from Meta Connect is that a big part of the metaverse will involve games, lots and lots of games. In fact, the event saw the launch of a multitude of new titles coming to the Meta Quest 2 VR headset, including Iron Man VR, Among Us VR, The Walking Dead Saint & Sinners: Chapter 2 and many more.

Games are a proven way to go because they’re already a big part of most other metaverses. Decentraland for example is one of the most explored metaverses currently in existence today, with its multi-million dollar virtual land sales, Snoop Dogg mansions and fashion shows.

It’s also home to one of the most popular metaverse destinations of all - Decentral Games, a social gaming metaverse that takes place in a virtual casino, where players can earn cryptocurrency playing games like poker, blackjack, roulette and slots.

Other games making waves in the metaverse include Illuvium, a virtual world where players hunt for deity-like creatures called “illuvials” within an alien landscape, capture them, and then adopt them to fight against other players and monsters. The illuvials are actually tradable NFTs, with the strongest and rarest being the most valuable, adding a competitive element to the game.

Apeiron meanwhile takes place in an immense online, multi-player gaming world where players effectively become gods of their own virtual worlds, with the power to perform all kinds of miracles, like creating floods, firestorms and more. The game involves guiding a race of ‘Doods’ from a pre-technology era on the path to becoming an advanced, modern civilization.

There are three aspects to the gameplay, including planet simulation, where players control individual planets and their unique biomes; World Exploration, which involves roaming the ‘godiverse” with a unique planet avatar and solving challenges along the way, and Galactic Progression, a more strategic challenge that involves building alliances with other players to take on powerful World Bosses.

The Metaverse Will Look Strange

Though many have imagined the metaverse as some kind of ultra-realistic simulation of the physical world that’s mapped to some kind of virtual expanse, the truth is that the metaverse is going to look a little less true-to-life than many of us had imagined.

At Meta Connect it was made pretty clear that while Meta Quest Pro Faces might be more expressive than ever, they still don’t look any more real. Lots of people were quick to poke fun at Zuckerberg’s original metaverse avatar when it was unveiled earlier this year, and the latest iteration hasn’t improved much. Cute, cartoon-style avatars is where it’s at.

There are a couple of reasons why. For one thing, some people might find that highly realistic avatars are a tad unnerving or unsettling. To attract more users, the metaverse needs to look fun and playful. There’s also the need to cater to lower-powered devices. A highly realistic metaverse would need the most powerful graphics processors and most people simply don’t have access to them. So, more simplified graphics will ensure the metaverse remains much more accessible.

That’s not to say the metaverse won't necessarily look good, for already we’re seeing lots of traction in the space among fashionistas. Along with Meta’s promise of being able to buy accessories through its Meta Avatar Store, there are other metaverses that encourage people to explore their creative talents.

In Fashion League, users can create their very own fashion label and design various accessories and articles of clothing that can be worn by their pixelated avatars. While it’s still a work in progress, the prospect of being able to design clothes, enter contests and take part in fashion shows is one that’s likely to hold lots of appeal, and could eventually drive us towards a more realistic, or at least more aesthetically pleasing virtual existence.

The Metaverse Will Be a Place Of Work

As much as it’s a place for people to play, the metaverse will also be somewhere people can meet in order to complete more serious tasks around work. Imagine, if you will, an engineer working on a new highway.

After overseeing the latest strip of tarmac laid down onto the road, he’ll step inside his mobile office, take off his overalls and don a VR headset to enter a virtual office where he’ll meet with local councilors and technicians to provide an update and discuss the next task that awaits.

The metaverse will be a place that fosters collaborative work, with participants using either VR or Augmented Reality depending on which one is most suitable for the job in hand.

It’s a vision of a world where Zoom is replaced with virtual meeting rooms, making online collaboration much more immersive than it is now. Entire PowerPoint presentations could be transformed to adorn a virtual conference room. Colleagues can then interact with it via their digital avatars.

At Meta Connect, the company presented how work may take place within the metaverse that cannot be done on a 2D screen, for instance by using VR tools to design a new kind of sneaker shoe in real-time. Such tasks are already possible within Meta’s Horizon Worlds, and that leaves us with no doubt that work will be completely reinvented within the metaverse.

The Metaverse Will Be Highly Accessible

One thing we learned from Meta Connect is that the world is a diverse place, where everyone has their own devices and preferences for accessing the internet. Not everyone will be able to afford Meta’s high-end Quest Pro VR headset, so one of its main goals is to ensure the metaverse is accessible through other kinds of devices, including a smartphone, TV, PC and tablet. To that end, Horizon Worlds is undergoing a major revamp that will make it accessible via a standard web browser.

This is in line with the existing metaverses we can visit today, with the likes of Decentraland, The Sandbox and others also able to be entered via an existing browser.

Elsewhere, there are existing projects that aim to make the metaverse more accessible in other ways too. One of the key technologies in the metaverse is NFTs, but many of the best utility tokens can be prohibitively expensive. For example, the BAYC Metaverse is an exclusive virtual world that can only be accessed by holders of a Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT, which have a current floor price of 77 ETH at the time of writing, or just over $100,000.

While the BAYC Metaverse is an exclusive club for the digital elite, just about anyone can enter Affyn’s Nexus World, which is a new kind of metaverse that’s mapped to the real world. Wherever you’re located physically, you can enter the equivalent destination within Nexus World’s virtual realm. Within this mobile-accessible world, you’ll be able to explore, play games and complete various activities according to what’s available at your current geolocation.

Nexus World borrows a key concept from Pokemon Go, overlaying the real-world with Buddie NFTs that can be hunted for free within shopping malls. Simply wander around the mall and discover them with your augmented reality lens to start discovering the benefits of this unique metaverse.

Affyn has previously held virtual land sales at extremely low prices too, making it possible for anyone to buy their own parcel of digital land at an inexpensive price.

Final Thoughts

The biggest takeaway from Meta Connect is that the metaverse, while far from fulfilling its vision, is something everyone can partake in now. It’s already up and running and it’s very accessible too, even if it still only exists in a virgin form. As the metaverse goes from strength to strength, we can expect to see a lot more interest in the established early use cases we’ve seen in gaming, socializing, creativity and collaborative work.