Demystifying the Metaverse

From its beginning in gaming universes like Fortnite to its gaining momentum on the New York Stock Exchange, the term ‘metaverse’ has transformed from evolutionary obscurity into a modern-day buzzword. But what is the metaverse exactly and how can we best take advantage of the many opportunities it has to offer?

Imagine interacting with virtual environments as if they were real. You could enjoy a face-to-face catch-up with a friend who lives far away as you explored a virtual Louvre Museum in Paris during the afternoon, before enjoying an immersive concert by your favourite K-Pop group performing live in Seoul - all from the comfort of your own home.

Coined by the Washington Post, Forbes and many more as the next generation of the internet, the metaverse promises a whole new reality where we are no longer limited by the physical space we exist in.

What is the metaverse?

The metaverse is a network of 3D virtual spaces which users can explore and interact with. It may seek to replicate real locations from our own world, or create new and exciting virtual spaces, such as the universes we see in games like Fortnite, Minecraft and Roblox. These worlds that were originally created for gamers are soon set to be the building blocks of our new, and increasingly virtual, reality. In the past few years, Fortnite has become less of a game and more a platform that will host our future experiences.

According to Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, the metaverse is “an evolution of how users interact with brands, intellectual properties and each other on the internet.”

The metaverse can even be added as another layer on top of our existing space. For example, using wearable tech like AR glasses and wristbands, you can add Augmented Reality (AR) elements to what you see and do in the physical space.

So what does the metaverse look like and how can we make use of the opportunities it brings?



What can end-users gain from the metaverse?

However it manifests, one thing is certain: the metaverse will offer users infinite possibilities to connect. From improved virtual social opportunities with friends to unique opportunities with brands, artists and the world of gaming, we are only now beginning to explore the ways that the metaverse will change our lives.

Creating your own digital twin in the metaverse

In the metaverse, individuals can be anyone or anything they want. Virtual identity will become increasingly important as avatars allow us to build a digital self.

The scope of the metaverse means that these avatars can take many different forms - users might choose to be cartoon characters, animals or hybrids. But many will look to represent themselves - particularly for professional purposes - as accurately as possible. This is where Unreal Engine’s MetaHuman Creator will come in handy. These hyper-realistic avatars will offer users a way to connect their real-world selves to the heart of the virtual network’s offerings. Their hyper-realistic nature means that MetaHumans can also be used as actors and extras in films that make use of virtual production technology.

Learn more about MetaHumans by watching our webinar on-demand



Accessing other-worldly live concerts and experiences in the metaverse

The immersive nature of a virtual world means that users will be able to access enhanced experiences too. Freed by the opportunities virtual reality presents, live shows will operate on an entirely different scope - audiences will be able to get a front-row seat to watch their favorite act perform in a virtual setting that might be a distant planet during one song, and the bottom of the ocean for the next. You no longer have to wait until your favourite band visits your city, provided you have an internet connection, the metaverse can be accessed anywhere.

Using technology like LED, graphics engines, disguise workflows and camera tracking, you can even broadcast a live experience in an xR studio into the metaverse itself.

Excellent examples of this type of experience are concerts from DJ Marshmello, J.Balvin and Kaskade that were all held in Epic Games’ Fortnite. For Kaskade’s concert within Fortnite and Rocket League’s crossover party Llama-Rama, the disguise extended reality workflow-enabled All Of It Now (AOIN) and Far Right Productions to transform Kaskade’s performance into an immersive virtual arena for fans watching from the comfort of their own homes. Moving these types of events to the metaverse opens up attendance to a global audience. DJ Marshmello’s concert, for example, got 10 million concurrent viewers - a number that would be difficult to achieve at a live, in-person event.

Learn more about the Kaskade concert in our case study



How can brands benefit from the metaverse?

Brands are no longer limited to the real world to connect with their customers. Much like brands deliver experiences on the internet and on social media today, they can use the metaverse to deliver experiences that are more engaging and more personalised than ever before.

Audiences are already flocking to early Metaverse-like platforms such as Fortnite, Roblox and Decentraland. If the metaverse is set to be the new internet, just like in the early 2000s, brands that do not invest in this platform will soon get left behind.

We’re already seeing virtual fashion shows from Balenciaga, virtual test drives from Hyundai and virtual tours through the Gucci Garden (where users can purchase real and digital fashion).

The metaverse offers brands the opportunity to not only promote themselves but also to sell digital-only products. In 2018 and 2019, Fortnite made more than $9 billion in revenue through selling virtual products within the game. Players were largely spending money to dress up in virtual outfits.

Watch our “CMOs Guide to the Metaverse” webinar to learn more



What’s next for the metaverse?

Facebook’s recent rebranding to Meta has only served to highlight the potential that big tech companies see in the metaverse, which has already been valued at around $800 billion by Bloomberg. As the technology required to both create and explore the metaverse continues to develop and become more affordable for end-users, brands will discover endless opportunities to connect with consumers and be a part of the next life stage of the internet. With developments in the field moving so fast, brands able to stay one step ahead of the metaverse curve will have an advantage in making the most of it.

disguise’s xR workflow delivers virtual productions for Film and TV and Extended Reality (xR) environments & productions for broadcasters and brands by combining real-time 3D game engines, LED volumes and spatial tracking. Because real-time 3D engines, like Unreal Engine are the building blocks of the Metaverse we are now able to extend all of the experiences we have been enabling directly into the Metaverse

Learn more about disguise’s extended reality solution

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