Metaverse was chosen as Oxford Word of the Year in 2022. The market cap of the metaverse is projected to reach $800 billion by 2024. It is no surprise that tech companies have jumped headfirst into the race to develop the metaverse and secure a market share with vast potential.
Facebook rebranded as Meta, while Microsoft announced they would build a metaverse for virtual office solutions. There are rumors around that Apple is also working on its own metaverse platform. Many are familiar with gamified metaverses like Decentraland, OVER, and the Sandbox, not to mention Roblox and Second Life, which have been around for decades.
The foundation of this future technology is still being laid. However, experts are already questioning interoperability as it might be the primary key to the success of the metaverse.
Why Does Interoperability Matters?
People in the actual world can travel to other locations and transport their tangible belongings with ease. The metaverse should provide the same level of continuity. Interoperability would help to establish a globally interconnected metaverse system in which various projects are combined to create a rich and lifelike digital environment.
Interoperability is not only important to create an intuitive user experience. It is also crucial for technical reasons. Experts envision the metaverse as the next iteration of the internet. As one company can not create the internet with billions of websites, so does the metaverse with multiple digital environments.
While many companies are building their own version of the metaverse, only joint efforts will bring success. However, it is not that easy to implement in reality as many obstacles exist. First, the metaverse developers need to agree on and build systems enabling interoperability.
Secondly, business models must match so users can seamlessly move their assets and gains across the different platforms. Last but not least, there is the challenge of making it all fun. Every metaverse platform has its own approach to design solutions, which might interfere with the smooth transition from one virtual world to another.
Is Interoperability Achievable?
Big tech companies seem to develop separate digital worlds. However, one constant potentially joining the digital world is the non-fungible token (NFT). NFTs allow for the claiming of ownership in digital spaces and the transfer of assets.
Some metaverse developers believe that interoperability inherently comes with using blockchain technology. Digital assets, virtual land, and avatars are represented as tokens on the blockchain, enabling users to carry them, via their wallets, across different decentralized applications.
There are also other attempts to achieve interoperability. The Metaverse Music Festival (MVMF22) recently held in Decentraland could be an example. During the event OVER, the Reality Metaverse platform, built a cross-platform stage that would be accessible both from Decentraland and OVER platforms. Users could access the OVER Metaverse via a QR code included in Decentraland.
The metaverse of today shows the early phases of interoperability. Users can now only explore the virtual worlds of a single metaverse. Thousands more interoperability-enabled metaverse projects that may interact and complement one other will be introduced shortly due to ongoing evolution and innovation.
On the Flipside
- Even though the metaverse is a cutting-edge technology that opens up many possibilities for immersive digital experiences, it still needs to be developed. It is too early to predict what features and shapes the metaverse will have in the future.
- The metaverse industry is still struggling to create fully immersive experiences for its users due to the lack of proper hardware. Many big players in the tech industry are working towards creating the hardware that would make the metaverse experience seamless.
Why You Should Care
The metaverse is predicted to become an essential part of our day-to-day life. Furthermore, the global metaverse market’s value is expected to grow to around $730.5 billion by 2028.
Read more about big tech metaverses:
Big Tech Metaverses: Everything You Need To Know About Meta, Microsoft, Google, And Apple
Read more about metaverse professions to explore:
7 Metaverse Professions You Can Explore In 2023