The metaverse is the in-thing right now and everyone has an opinion about it. The developments in the metaverse are still at the beginners level but many companies strongly believe that this is the future.
Metaverse in the simplest language is a virtual world where you can interact with people or their avatars. It is a space where the virtual and physical worlds meet. Meta is one of the companies that believe in the potential of the metaverse to the extent that the company has rebranded itself as Meta and already spent billions of dollars on it. If you closely look into the progress that these companies have made, you can see that all the companies are more or less on a similar track.
As of now, it is quite hard to predict the future of the metaverse or to predict in which direction these companies are leading. But, believe it or not, sooner or later this will be our reality and we ought to know about it. Here are ten companies that are striving to make the metaverse a reality:
Mark Zuckerberg has made his intentions for the metaverse very clear! He has been an avid advocate for bringing the metaverse to life and is focused to achieve it. The company Meta, has released some products that align with its metaverse vision. The Horizon Worlds and Workrooms are aimed at bringing people together virtually.
Horizon Workrooms has been designed as an alternative to physical working spaces and the Horizon Worlds is a complete virtual world experience. Although you need Meta’s VR headsets to gain an immersive metaverse experience.
The company also recently came up with its first retail store that showcases three products for customers to experience the virtual world. These efforts are just the tip of the iceberg as Meta has not only invested billions in these projects but it also has patents and strategies that portray the kind of technology the company is creating.
In 2021, Meta reported a whopping amount of $10 billion that it spent on building the metaverse. This included the amount the company has spent on building the hardware that is necessary for making the metaverse a reality.
The $10 billion and counting that the company has spent is around 5 times more than the amount it paid to buy the Oculus VR business in 2014. It also dragged the profits of the company by 8% in the last quarter of 2021. If we look at the market predictions of the metaverse, the amount lost by Meta has a possibility that will result in a strategic investment.
Through its creator-focused platform Horizon Worlds, the company is planning to enable buying and selling in the metaverse, out of which it will take around a 50% cut from the transaction.
Microsoft began its metaverse endeavor way before many other companies. It launched the HoloLens (Gen 1), which could be used to play games, visit places, and had the ability to design 3D projects. The only difference was that the word metaverse was not so popular back then.
Microsoft Mesh is the company’s virtual world venture that allows people to interact or collaborate with each other as if they are present in the same room. This can be done through various devices like AR headsets, VR headsets, laptops, etc. The company is coming up with HoloLens 3 in 2024, which will surely come with advanced features.
In January 2022, Microsoft announced that it is acquiring Activision Blizzard, a video game development company for $68.7 billion. The company said that this deal would help to scale its gaming business, explore opportunities in the metaverse and provide the building blocks to develop the metaverse.
Decentraland can be experienced by anyone as it an open for all virtual world. Decentraland is a web browser-based virtual world where anyone’s avatars can hang out, play games, or you can also connect your crypto wallet and transact using MANA (the currency of Decentraland) to buy/ sell land.
Decentraland has also previously partnered with Samsung and the Australian Open to host events. In fact, Samsung has a virtual presence for its New York City experience center on Decentraland called Samsung 837x. If you wish to explore the various things you can do in the virtual world, you can check out Decentraland.
Epic Games, the company behind Fortnite has already displayed its potential in building the metaverse. It has already hosted live concerts and dance parties in the virtual world that have been a big hit. The company aims to create a decentralized metaverse where people can connect with each other and also stay in the virtual world.
In April 2022, the company secured $2 billion in funding from Sony and KIRKBI, the parent company of LEGO to give a boost to its metaverse plans. The three companies announced their plans to together increase their engagement in the virtual world.
Sony has heavily invested in Epic Games to see its metaverse dream come true. Though Sony has not explicitly announced its metaverse plans, the company has time and again made moves that indicate it will not be missing out on the ‘metaverse revolution’. Sony previously invested $250 million in the company in July 2020 making a total of $450 million investment to date.
Nvidia has created a virtual reality that has been specifically designed for researchers, designers, creators, and engineers. NVIDIA Omniverse has been created for 3D design collaboration. So essentially, people can collaborate together on extensive projects in a virtual world to create life-like simulations.
You can consider it similar to a virtual workstation. A good example to understand the Omniverse is the BMW Virtual Automotive Factory. In the BMW automotive factory, engineers from all over the world collaborate together to optimize a product without having to meet physically. In the Omniverse, you can also use robot simulations to understand how workers can improve their productivity at factories.
Roblox is a gaming company that wants to create a metaverse where people can do more than just play games. In Roblox’s metaverse, users can build houses, change outfits and even embark on adventures. The basic goal is to create a social media platform for people to interact, only more realistically. You can also create your own interactive world in this metaverse.
Nike has a virtual space called ‘Nikeland’ on Roblox. Users can play games, wear fancy Nike gigs, run marathons, and do a lot more at Nikeland. At Roblox, there are already 40 million games and counting but now it is shifting from being a gaming company to being a company creating virtual experiences.
Apple announced its metaverse plans a little later than many other companies. The only way Apple can compete with other companies in the metaverse is through hardware penetration.
Apple and Meta can go head to head when it comes to developing technology for the metaverse. Apple is scaling up its research in the area of the metaverse and it will come up with its own product in early 2023. According to Goldman Sachs, Apple and Meta have the potential to lead the development of technology required for building the metaverse.
After Meta came up with its grand announcement of investing $10 billion towards the metaverse, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook talked about already having 14,000 AR applications that provide a fantastic experience to its users. When he was asked about his plans in the metaverse, he responded, ” We see a lot of potential in this space and are investing accordingly.”
In Q4 2021, Apple spent $6.3 billion in Research and Development which comes to a total of more than $25 billion annually. If Tim Cook has mentioned that the company is investing towards the metaverse ‘accordingly’ and that it sees potential in the metaverse, then one can anticipate that it could be investing plenty in creating some fantastic products.
Google was the first in the tech companies to come up with its AR Glasses. Although it didn’t witness a lot of success it has not stepped out of the idea of exploring the metaverse. The CEO of Google Sundar Pichai has mentioned the company’s interest in AR. It is also planning to enable services like Google Maps and YouTube in the virtual space.
Google announced in January 2022 that it has invested in a subsidiary of Taiwan’s Foxconn Group for projects related to the metaverse. It made an investment in the private equity fund of $39.5 million. This was the first time that the tech giant invested in a private fund of a Taiwanese publicly listed company.
Tencent is a tech company based in China that develops products and services to improve people’s way of living. Through its game development division, TiMi studio, the company is focusing on making developments in the metaverse. The game development ‘Tencent Games’ will focus on building a social media network and games on the metaverse.
In January 2022, Tencent Games planned on acquiring Black Shark, a company that creates gaming-oriented phones and accessories. Recently it has come to light that the company has walked away from the deal due to the increased regulatory scrutiny of the metaverse.
The regulatory scrutiny being faced by the companies that are planning to center into the metaverse in China can prove to be a hurdle.
Unity Software is a video game development company that offers a complete ‘metaverse’ software solution to its users. You can create interactive 2D as well as 3D content and also monetize from it. This content can be created for various devices like phones, consoles, tablets, etc.
In November 2021, Unity acquired a digital VFX company, Weta Digital for around $1.6 billion. This investment was made with a focus to develop the metaverse. The VFX tools combined with the expertise in making real-time 3D visuals can help them create certain important elements of the metaverse.
Sooner or Later the metaverse is coming and most of these companies are more or less on the same track. To decide what is going to come to life or how will our life change with the introduction of the metaverse is pretty hard right now. Looking at the efforts and let’s not forget the money that these companies are spending does give a little hope that if this comes to life, it will revolutionize our way of living.