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Metaverse Gains Momentum: Back in the Spotlight

The term “metaverse” has gained significant attention, particularly after Facebook’s rebranding to META in the last quarter of the previous year. The concept extends beyond its impact on metaverse-oriented cryptocurrencies like SAND and MANA, attracting interest from mainstream media, including publications like TIME magazine.

In 2021, the term “metaverse” appeared 260 times in US regulatory filings. By 2022, this number had surged to 1,100, signifying a growing focus on the topic. Over the past two decades, there were fewer than a dozen instances of its mention.

The increasing trend indicates that corporate executives are recognizing the importance of discussing the metaverse, although many struggle to precisely define it or articulate their plans for its development. Key uncertainties persist, including the role of virtual reality headsets, the relevance of blockchains, the importance of cryptocurrencies, and whether the metaverse is an imminent reality or a development slated for the distant future.

Major tech players such as Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nvidia, Tencent, and Facebook are actively engaged in metaverse-related initiatives. These companies are undergoing internal reorganizations, rewriting job descriptions, restructuring product offerings, and preparing for multimillion-dollar product launches.

In a significant move in January, Microsoft acquired game giant Activision Blizzard for $75 billion, with the aim of laying the foundations for the metaverse. Microsoft sees substantial potential in the metaverse space. Many companies in this field view the metaverse not just as a technological concept but also as an advertising channel. For a growing number of businesses, involvement in the metaverse, or at least the establishment of a virtual presence, has become a means of advertising and showcasing their offerings.

The Future of the Metaverse

Metaverse Gains Momentum: Back in the Spotlight
Metaverse is on the agenda again

The current internet, with its expansive reach across countries, networks, apps, servers, websites, and devices, constitutes a vital part of the world economy, representing 20% of its digital side. While the internet is versatile and powerful, it was originally designed for transmitting static files asynchronously. Live and interactive experiences, especially those involving 3D viewing and large numbers of participants, were not the primary focus.

The emergence of the metaverse marks a significant shift from the two-dimensional world of the traditional internet to a more immersive and interactive 3D experience. The integration of artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and blockchain promises users a transformative experience.

In 2021, a groundbreaking surgery at Johns Hopkins, where neurosurgeons used augmented reality headsets for live patient surgery, exemplified the potential of merging technology with healthcare. The surgeon, Dr. Timothy Witham, compared the experience to using GPS, highlighting the interactive view of the patient’s internal anatomy.

While the internet itself was a revolutionary development, the advent of mobile internet through smartphones transformed the digital landscape rapidly. Today, platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube consume hours of people’s daily lives.

Technology is evolving at an unprecedented pace, and in the near future, advanced VR glasses and even clothing may become commonplace. Similar to the ubiquity of smartphones today, more advanced hardware for the metaverse is expected to become increasingly accessible to the average user.

Metaverse Marketplace

Various projections by financial institutions and industry leaders suggest the vast economic potential of the metaverse:

  • Citi and KPMG: Predict a potential annual revenue of $13 trillion by 2030 from the metaverse.
  • Morgan Stanley: Estimates $8 trillion in annual revenue, both in the US and China.
  • Goldman Sachs: Offers a global projection ranging from $2.5 to $12.5 trillion.
  • McKinsey: Estimates a $5 trillion market worldwide.
  • Jensen Huang (Nvidia CEO): Envisions the GDP of the metaverse surpassing that of the physical world eventually.

Drawing parallels to the uncertainties surrounding the internet in the 1990s and 2000s, the metaverse’s future remains uncertain. However, historical patterns and projections provide insights into the potential evolution of the metaverse market.

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