Metaverse: Universal Avatars
This is a topic that is starting to get a bit of coverage. Whereas not long ago, the concept of the Metaverse was relegated to the the film Ready Player One, we now see a lot more attention being paid to the fact that a lot of development is taking place.
Before we get into the specifics of this article, it is vital to note that we are going to require a new mindset. Presently, we think in terms of online and offline. To us, the Internet is something separate from the "real" world. It is still something many of us frame as we "log onto" even though Internet connections are mostly always on.
Taking this a step further, we identify with ourselves in the physical world. The labels we assign ourselves feed into the identity we carry around. This starts with our name and branches out from there.
Of course, there are many who take on different personas. Actors, for example, will often change their names. Thus, they embrace a completely new identity. Naturally, they do this on stage/camera but also can do it in real life. We will delve into this in a bit.
The Metaverse is going to see us "living" in multiple worlds. We are going to see a massive expansion in how we operate and relate to things.
Presently, the one field that embraces this is gaming. Online games allow people to enter into different realms, not only between games but often within the same one. This is a precursor to what we will experience down the road.
Of course, gaming is not real. We still have the ability to separate the two. Many feel this is "not real" since it is, after all, a game. We know that once we shut it down, it ends.
In short this is not real. But is that really the case?
To start, we do not associate all of the online world as being unreal. Was Amazon not real all those years that it operated almost exclusively online? Would anyone say that a website that conducts commerce is not "real"? The answer is pretty obvious.
Hence our concept of "real" changed a bit.
Also, gaming is not consider real, yet it is. Naturally, an online video game is just that, a game. It is not real. However, do we hold the same criteria to a baseball game. True it is a game but the players are real. So are the results. Plus, we know that professional sports are not just games but big business. The revenues they generate are real along with the jobs they provide.
Few would say the action that takes place is not real. Get hit by a foul ball and see how real it feels.
The point here is that our evolution into what we consider "real" is going to keep evolving. A couple decades back, our concept was only the physical world. That is changing as we engage more online.
As we progress forward, we are going to see multiple worlds opening up that we engage in. There will be billions of them available, just like websites. The difference is this will all be in 3-D, with lifelike resolution.
Therefore, our ability to operate in many different realms is going to be common. In this arena, the Newtonian laws of physics are basically overcome.
When we are interacting in these different worlds, we will be assuming many different personas. This will only grow as the experience becomes more "lifelike".
One of the keys to this will be the interaction with avatars. Our online personas will be tied to that. It will lead to us developing many personas, each being applicable to the individual realm in which they operate.
Of course, we are going to be free to develop whatever we desire. In fact, the further down the road this progress, the more "identities" we will acquire (or own). This is going to be enhanced by the advancement of AI which will enable us to automate many activities.
There will come a time when our day starts with the dispatching of our 100 avatars that we send off to "work". Naturally, we won't really do this since the automated ones will be operating 24/7. However, the point illustrates how we will be operating in different realms simultaneously.
At the same time, we have different things that we personally attend to. This could be done under one avatar or a couple. Each will carry a different persona depending upon what the goal is.
Ultimately, we will see our reach and capabilities expand a great deal.
The film Ready Player One did an admirable job showing how avatars will become part of our identities in the future. When we enter the virtual, immersive realm, what others see is how they will interact with us. This could be a reflection of ourselves, or something completely different.
A big challenge is we ended up with an Internet that is siloed. We have different platforms, some which are enormous, that do not associate with each other. The companies behind them each set up "walled gardens", controlling all the activity and, more importantly, data.
It is why we have a different log in accounts for Google and Facebook. This is also why something that is amassed in one game has no bearing upon another. Each is completely isolated from any of the others.
This is something that is being looked at by many in a completely different way. Obviously, blockchain and cryptocurrency take a new approach with one log in (on Hive as an example) accessing all applications built upon it. This is not a siloed system. Each project is part of a larger whole.
There is another facet of this being constructed. Many developers are aware of where things are going and are starting to address this. They are starting with the gaming world which is the obvious starting point. However, keep in mind this will expand over the next couple decades as the concept enters more areas of our lives.
Wolf3D is a company that launched a cross-game platform for avatars which can be used in interconnected worlds. This is a concept that is fully applicable to what many view as the future in the Metaverse.
Unlike today's siloed Internet, it is one where people will seamlessly bounce around, entering and exiting different "worlds" without reference to the application or platform. If they are switching, their avatars (and ultimately a lot more) will be universal, applying to all as opposed to each individual one.
Wold3d's Co-Founder had this to say:
“We’re trying to build a cross-game service to enable a lot of virtual worlds to exist,” Tõke said. “We see more people spending more and more time in virtual worlds. The metaverse is kind of happening around us. But most of it isn’t happening in one world or one app. It’s a network of many different worlds that people visit for work and play and collaboration. And doesn’t really make sense for the end user to create a new avatar identity for each of those experiences. It makes sense to have one portable entity that travels with you across many different games and apps and experiences.”
This platform is catering to developers to start to integrate what is created on there into different games they are designing. This helps to save the time of each developer having to design a batch of avatars for the players.
What this affords individuals is the ability to make an avatar once and then have that interact with many different games. Ultimately, this will spread where that same avatar will be used for hundreds of different things. It will become one of our "personas".
The next generation of development will focus upon universal use cases as opposed to the present focus of isolation. Down the road, the idea of operating and developing behind walled gardens will hold little appeal. Simply put, they will be too restrictive. It is what people are conditioned to now but that will change as more is rolled out.
Universal avatars are just the beginning. Over the next few years, the foundation will be put in place where they will start to become a central part of our lives.
It is all part of the formation of the Metaverse.
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