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Ruth Kise 31 Aug 2023 ◦ 8 min read

What's New in Metaverse

What's New in Metaverse

What is a metaverse? According to dictionary.com, the word "metaverse" is defined as follows: "a virtual reality space in which users can interact with a computer environment and other users."

Today “the metaverse” can be used to describe all metaverse sub-categories in general. In this article, we will tell you what is happening in some categories of virtual reality.

Some Meta News

The best-known representation of the metaverse, of course, is Meta. The company formerly known as Facebook opened a virtual reality workspace for remote employees. Mark Zuckerberg's company has taken care of social issues and has already announced personal boundaries between avatars for its virtual platforms Horizon Worlds and Horizon Venues. This prevents the avatars from approaching a given distance from each other, making it easier to prevent unwanted interactions.

By the way, such incidents have already been recorded in the course of research on user behavior in virtual reality. This raises the question of the ethics of the metaverse and the restrictions on children's access to it. Discussions are underway, especially since Epic Games and Lego are on the idea of ​creating a separate metaverse for children.

Meta accounts can be created from former Facebook and Instagram accounts that were previously used to log into virtual reality. Oculus login users will retain the ability to use this login method until January 1, 2023. The company assured that during the transition, customers will have access to all previous purchases and downloads on the virtual reality platform.

It is not necessary to connect accounts from social networks of Meta, but there is such an opportunity - this will expand the experience of the metaverse, allowing you to launch live broadcasts, exchange messages and quickly expand the subscriber base. To create a Meta account, you will need a virtual reality headset and the latest version of Oculus software. The Meta Horizon Profile account will replace the existing Oculus account: the profile will become the center of everything related to the metaverse avatar, and here it will be something like a social network in a virtual space. And "friends" from the metaverse will now be called "Followers," that is, Horizon World will become analogous to Instagram.

Privacy settings in the virtual space will be available in three modes: "Open to everyone," "Friends and family" and "Solo" - depending on the option chosen, it is determined who can find the user's account and connect to it. 

Zuckerberg also confirmed the renaming of Facebook Pay to Meta Pay, during which it will be possible to pay for goods and services in the metaverse and confirm your identity. Among the goods sold as NFTs, you can buy clothes for your avatar and accessories from world brands like Nike, Adidas, GUCCI, Balenciaga, etc. By the way, Meta has already announced the avatar marketplace, but the graphics are poor as of now.

Despite all of the above, the company is going through hard times. Reality Labs, the Meta unit responsible for metaverse development, recorded a $10.2 billion loss in 2021. Thus, Meta is suspending work on the creation of its VR glasses. The VR portal has shared the same destiny. Today, the company has ceased production of common equipment and is directing its development only to the business segment.

The Economic Picture Impact and Metaverse Development

The world economic situation naturally affects the development of the technology industry. Faced with a sobering reality, many market players were forced to review both budgets and staffing policies. At the time of a general decline in the technology segment, some projects are closed or their launch is postponed. As also a reduction in the recruitment of VR and AR specialists. In light of the impending recession in the US, which economists warn about, employers have managed to announce cuts or refuse to hire new employees.

But this does not apply to every country. 

Progressive East

Dubai intends to become one of the top ten economies with the most developed metaverses as part of a new strategy, according to which it is planned to deploy 40 thousand virtual workplaces. The project takes 5 years to implement.

Local largest companies are already developing the metaverse heavily. In particular, Emirates has announced its intention to expand the use of appropriate technologies, and Damac Group plans to build entire virtual cities. Medical company Thumbay will set up a hospital in the metaverse virtual consultations in the next few months.

Dubai authorities are actively cooperating with crypto companies from around the world. Some of the influential crypto and financial technology organizations, including Binance and FTX, have already received licenses to operate in the city.

Chinese Metaverse

While China is known for its anti-crypto stance, the government has shown interest in the Metaverse concept since early 2021. In January, China launched the 14th "Five-Year Plan for the Development of the Digital Economy," as a result of which new digital formats are being laid across the country, and metaverse is "one of the most important new growth points." Large cities have already begun to pursue their own policy of developing metaverse and introducing related technologies into education, business, tourism, etc.

Some of the country's most influential tech companies have joined forces to create a "Joint Metaverse and Virtual-Real Interaction Research Institute" in Shanghai.

Among the members are Tencent, which owns a stake in most major game makers in China; mobile technology giant Huawei; and Epic Games, which has a 40% stake in Tencent. 

However, the government’s interest in nascent tech hasn’t resulted in any favorable regulations for tech companies exploring the same idea. But it is not unthinkable that the Chinese will be the first to master the metaverse.

South Korea Makes a Good Running

The South Korean government is increasing its interest in the Metaverse. On September 1, members of the national assembly supported the enactment of the Metaverse Industry Promotion Act to support the Web3 industry.

Under the bill, the Metaverse Policy Review Committee, reporting to the Prime Minister, would discuss policies conducive to Metaverse's development in the country, while the Minister of Science and Information and Communications Technology is required to develop a final plan every three years.

The bill also provides incentives for companies to switch their operations to Metaverse, meeting criteria such as protecting users' personal data.

Earlier on Aug. 26, the draft of the Expanded Virtual World Ethics Principles was published by a joint group of South Korean government and private stakeholders. The document focuses on such issues as personal data and copyright protections.

Meanwhile, the South Korean central bank intends to lift the initial coin offerings (ICOs) ban enacted back in 2017 under the Digital Assets Framework Act, which should come into effect in 2023.

What’s Up With NFTs?

An integral part of the virtual universe, the NFTs market is also suffering losses amid the collapse of the cryptocurrency market (Bitcoin has lost about 57% of its value since the beginning of the year, and Ethereum fell 71%). Against the background of rising interest rates by central banks to deal with increased inflation, as well as a decrease in investors' desire to engage in high-risk operations, the NFT market collapsed along with cryptocurrencies.

Monthly sales on the largest NFT marketplace, OpenSea, fell to $501 million in August, which is much less than $2.6 billion in May and very far from the January peak of almost $5 billion. 

New marketplaces are also facing a decline in user activity. Recall that the GameStop video game distributor launched its NFT marketplace in the summer of 2022. If at the start the daily revenue was $44,000, then in August it fell to $4,000 a day.

Large collections of NFT tokens like Bored Ape Yacht Club and Otherside NFT from Yuga Labs collapsed by 30%. The conference at NFT.NYC and Bored Apes ApeFest 2022 in New York were also insufficient. The purchase of the Known Origin NFT marketplace by the eBay platform also did not arouse interest.

However, many large consumer companies still see NFT and web3 technology as promising ways to interact with customers. For example, luxury brands Gucci and Tiffany & Co. announced projects related to non-interchangeable tokens. In the case of Gucci, tokens will be used to pay for goods, while Tiffany will use NFT as a digital passport to make custom jewelry for cryptocurrency fans.

Many artists continue to actively enter the world of virtual reality, wanting to stay on top of the wave and find an additional source of income in this. Artists convert their works to NFT format. Museums open galleries in the expanses of the Metaverse. Fashion houses are giving fashion shows. Famous actors create their own collections, and star singers perform their hits using NFTs characters (Eminem and Snoop Dogg performed a Bored Apes track at MTV music awards).

Meta has also been extending the boundaries of NFT use. The company began giving people the ability to post digital collectibles they own on both Facebook and Instagram. This will allow people to connect their digital wallets to any app once to share their digital collectibles in both.

Based on the dual situation, it is difficult to make predictions about the future of NFTs. Experts are still optimistic, believing that after the recession the market will become more mature and cleanse itself of numerous speculative projects. Others hope that the tokens will come out due to the development ofthe GameFi market, which daily offers many new opportunities for entertainment and earnings. Although there is an opinion that the latter is already less attractive to gamers. The metaverse land market remains attractive to investors, allowing, in addition to renting virtual houses and apartments, to build virtual shopping centers, offices and premises for events, and then lease them to customers. At the same time, investments will be several times less than in the real estate market.

To Sum Up

As you can see, despite the economic crisis and the bear market of cryptocurrencies, Metaverse continues its development. Large market participants continue to invest in blockchain and web3 technologies, so various countries are trying to resolve their attitude with virtual assets while in some race for primacy.

The promotion of NFT projects with celebrities and their integration into social networks is increasing, thereby popularizing the general idea of ​the Metaverse in society. More and more people are discovering new forms of interaction and payment for goods and services.

The metaverse is still only a goal. On the way to achieve it, the community has to face many problems - volatility, privacy, security, etc. Therefore, beware as you dive into this undoubtedly fascinating world.

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