Everyone is fed up with hearing about how Covid has changed the way we work and socialize. And it is often framed in the negative context of fatigue by Zoom and the fact that the path is observed through TikTok or Twitter. But while most of us have lived 2D lives, there are others who accept what is called metaverse.
In fact, there are several metaverses. These are virtual worlds like Decentraland, Cryptovoxels and The Sandbox. Accessed through virtual reality headsets (virtual reality), these platforms are not only made to explore, but to spend money and make a living. Whenever you have a digital wallet full of cryptocurrencies, you can invest in real estate, set up shop or, in the case of Dublin-based artist Fionnuala Hanahoe Rowell, exhibit and sell your art.
Rowell discovered the NFT art scene (non-fungible tokens or unique digital artifacts verified by blockchain technology) earlier this year and soon put her work on platforms like Open Sea, which she says is ideal for beginners and Foundation, which is an invitation. not more.
Anyone can bid for the items on the list (no VR headsets are needed), but the NFTs are intertwined in the metavers because that’s how you buy and sell the land. Cryptovoxels is a virtual world where users can buy land and build shops or art galleries. Rowell sent a piece of art to imnotArt, a gallery that also has space in both Cryptovoxels and real-world Chicago.
“It was accepted and they had a virtual opening night. It was in March when people from all over the world were still closed to a certain extent, so it was very exciting to be a part of that, ”he explains.
“It was 4 in the morning, Dublin time, but I sounded the alarm. People walked around, watched the art and listened to how the prominent artist spoke. For me, that experience opened up the possibilities for me to make virtual spaces work and augmented reality as well ”.
He has recently created a piece called Sky Sculpture and, through the Foundation’s AR functionality, can be placed virtually anywhere, bringing the art of metaverse to real life. Rowell tried it at Dollymount Strand.
This writer visited the imnotArt gallery of Cryptovoxels. It is located in the popular Vibes district, on the corner of Avinguda Popular and Ideal Close. A good place to invest? Only if you have a large digital wallet. No. 3 Truthful Gardens, for example, is a prime real estate property, but you’ll get back 5.5 Ethereum or $ 18,336.62.
Is it a virtual property bubble? Well, this land was sold just 1.05 Ethereum ago two months ago, so tell me. Meanwhile, my budget extends to a virtual IPA, a $ 10 bargain for 20 bottles.
Dr Michael Dowling, a finance professor at Dublin City University Business School, spends a lot of time thinking about cryptocurrency and metaverse real estate. I ask him if the growth of these NFT art-driven spaces can continue at a good pace.
“To understand the economics of metaverse, you need to start by understanding why people would want to spend their time in these virtual spaces. The Celts did not come to Ireland and think that “we would love an art gallery here.” It’s better to find out what would make people enjoy being in these worlds and building an economy around them, ”reflects Dowling.
“If we look at the Oculus Quest 2 headphones, 10 million units are expected to be sold, which is at the level of popularity of the gaming console. It is creating a consumer base that will use the RV for gaming. and entertainment ”.
But caution must be exercised in the face of a mindset that takes first money into account: “If metaverse is going to be a thing, and it certainly is, it will have to be more than NFT and cryptocurrency.”
“If you visit the Decentraland homepage, the first thing you see is sending messages about its currency, Manna. But when you visit, for example, the Barbados tourist website, the selling point is not “come to our currency, the Barbadian dollar”. “
It’s still cryptocurrency-centric, he says. It should be a facilitator of the experience, but these virtual worlds are still little more than a way to sell cryptocurrency.
Dowling believes that greater adoption is likely to reach the back of a platform like The Sandbox, where users not only create assets such as characters, buildings, vehicles or trees, but can also create gaming experiences they own. as NFT and have the ability to monetize. The big brands have already created their store: there’s a retro gaming space courtesy of Atari, a Walking Dead experience, and a fully explorable version of The Barrufets ’village (yes, really).
He suspects that the Gen Z will be more willing to spend time and money on the metavers, as they grow with Minecraft, Roblox and Fortnite, all of which The Sandbox has elements. Investing in these articles and experiences in these worlds may seem like a scam to many adults, but not to a younger generation.
Beyond games, virtual reality technologies can also be harnessed for the workplace. There’s a lot of news around this, as Facebook has just announced the beta version of Horizon Workrooms, its virtual reality solution for remote work. MeetingRoom is an Irish company that has been in this space for several years.
“In short, we use VR to help companies solve difficult problems that require collaboration. We go beyond the limitations of what you can do in 2D, but it’s not just about creating virtual versions of a brick-and-mortar space where they can bring their whiteboard and sticky notes, ”says Jonny Cosgrove, executive director of meetingRoom with its to Dublin.
“We work with large enterprise companies, most of which are Fortune 500 with at least 10,000 people working for them, and we offer a virtual space as a service that caters to many different use cases,” he says. These include remote presence, training and site visits. But what do you see when you access a custom meeting space? It depends on what the customer wants. It could be an oil rig where a decision is made on the installation of new material and users receive a detailed tour of the process with a 360 video or an image of the actual platform. As Cosgrove explains, this cannot be achieved in a Zoom call.
“Our vision is that we provide the types of spaces needed for specific tasks instead of pushing people to spend all their time in virtual reality spaces,” he adds.
“For example, a company may be dealing with a fire at the site and need the remote expert there immediately. They will continue to board the plane later to make sure it is being done on the ground, but we want to make sure people can make quick and efficient decisions. ”
Outside of work, Cosgrove is a virtual reality enthusiast and wears headphones regularly to do virtual paintball sessions with friends. So what do you think about life in the metaverse?
“I think we shouldn’t get too caught up in the concept of metaverse and what it means for the future. We are more concerned about the value our technology can offer right now, ”says Cosgrove.
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