Companies Pushing Toward the Metaverse


Companies are constantly pushing to advance and take the next step, especially in the realm of technology. And for many, the metaverse is that next step. It represents the evolution of what the internet is and can be, and the goal is to change how people interact with and experience the digital world.

However, while many believe it is the next step, it does not exist quite yet. Despite that, many companies are developing technology to make the metaverse a reality. In the article below, you will read about some of those companies and what they are doing in relation to the metaverse.

What is the metaverse? Well, it is simultaneously an easy question to answer and a hard one. Part of the reason for this is that the metaverse itself is still an idea. People describe it as the next step for the internet, an inevitable destination where online environments are more immersive and integrated into everyday life.

But what does it boil down into? Persistent, digital shared universes. The idea is to be able to be whoever you want and do whatever you want in those universes, or so that has been the idea in theory since the inception of the metaverse. Though, the concept has not always been shed in a good light. Think The Matrix and its robot overlords.

Yet, pushing the unlikely aside, it is something that people have been moving toward since the internet and things like social media came to be. Second Life is a great demonstration of the concept, where the virtual space becomes a literal second life.

But while Second Life and many apps powered by virtual reality are limited, the metaverse is planned to be a place of unlimited possibility. It will not restrict users to any specific functionality, allowing them to act however they want. But how close are we to this? Unfortunately, still a good way off.

All of the companies involved in the metaverse are looking ahead, perhaps five or more years into the future. There are concepts and small tastes of what it could be, but it is still limited. The first step will likely be the combination of social media and virtual reality (VR), especially since Facebook is a big player in the movement.

There are no absolutes when it comes to the metaverse. There simply is not enough to understand where things are going or what they will be. However, there are some companies already positioned to do big things if given the chance. Below, you will find companies that are already involved in the metaverse in some way.

NVIDIA

NVIDIA is one of the frontrunners when it comes to the metaverse, with the company already putting out its own impressive virtual space. While NVIDIA is more known for graphics processing units (GPU), the Omniverse is not to be underestimated. The platform was built for collaboration and real-time simulation, making it great for:

  • Creators
  • Designers
  • Researchers
  • Engineers

The open platform allows users to connect different tools, assets, and projects, bringing it all into the virtual space. Once in the virtual space, they can work with others and make some seriously incredible creations. Moreover, it is easy for others to build and sell things on the platform, including:

  • Extensions
  • Apps
  • Connectors
  • Microservices

The functionality of the Omniverse can be expanded in that way, making it a versatile and growing virtual space. Moreover, because of NVIDIA technology, it can bring rendered photorealism to the experience.

The Omniverse ecosystem already has a lot of interested parties, and there are some big names in the mix. Some of the brands involved in the ecosystem include Adobe, Epic Games, and Pixar. While the Omniverse is nowhere close to the metaverse in its final form, it does offer a look at the collaborative space that is so exciting.

Meta (Facebook)

The name change alone should express Meta’s stance on the metaverse. The company, previously named Facebook, has turned its attention toward the metaverse in a big way. In fact, nobody else is quite as heavily invested in the idea of the metaverse as Mark Zuckerberg’s massive empire.

Part of Meta’s current focus is VR and augmented reality (AR) technology. In 2014, Facebook acquired Oculus, a VR company specializing in virtual reality headsets. Since then, it has also received a name change, becoming Meta Quest. Moreover, Meta began production of AR smart glasses recently.

However, Meta’s ambitions lie far beyond VR headsets and smart glasses. The company has declared its belief that the metaverse is the next step for social media. The goal is for Meta to provide a 3D space for social interactions, where people can learn, play, and interact with other people.

But even that is only the start. Meta plans to eventually bring the metaverse to a point where it can take you anywhere and allow you to do anything. It extends beyond gaming and education, empowering work, exercise, commerce, and much more. And Meta is serious, already investing billions in the endeavor.

Microsoft

There is no doubt that Microsoft is a giant in the computer technology space. And they have their hands in a lot of different projects, including the metaverse. In fact, during the pandemic, Microsoft revealed intentions to enter the space, doing so in response to so many people relying on digital communication.

Microsoft is no stranger to communication software, so taking things a step further is an obvious next step. In order to bring face-to-face encounters to digital communication, the company brought Mesh into the picture. Mesh utilizes mixed reality, working with VR headsets and MR glasses to enable people to interact with 3D objects.

But where Mesh really shines is in the context of virtual meetings, collaboration, and shared messages. The technology looks to make digital communication more personal, and while it is not exactly the metaverse, it is a step in that direction. And it is not the only step the company has taken.

This year, Microsoft announced their purchase of Activision Blizzard, spending a massive amount of nearly $70 billion. While it might not be strange to see Microsoft buy a gaming company, the part that stands out is the direction of the acquisition. After all, they did so intending to move toward the metaverse in a big way.

Roblox

While people might know of Roblox as a game for young children, it is actually much larger than that. Roblox is a US-based gaming company that has multiple games under its belt. More importantly, Roblox’s relationship with the metaverse goes back a way. After all, the company has been creating virtual worlds for some time.

The focus of Roblox has always been creating a world that allows people to do more than play a game. It is much in the same vein as Second Life, where one can dress their avatar, build homes, and interact with other people. The company truly wants to build a social platform that provides realistic 3D virtual experiences.

To that end, Roblox recently added spatial voice chat to improve realism and make everything sound and feel more three-dimensional. There is even the inclusion of layered clothing. While it is only a start, the company fully intends to develop its metaverse further. And considering their previous success, it is worth watching.

Epic Games

Founded in 1991, Epic Games is a major player in the video game and software development world. It owns the Unreal Engine, and Fortnite is a global success. Moreover, those are only the start, with the company having a number of things under its wing. And recently, the company turned its attention toward the metaverse.

Epic Games wants to create a virtual world where people can communicate, interact, and have an adventure. They even want to mix reality with the digital world, having a meeting virtually during a real-life encounter. They are not just ideas, either. Epic Games is already involved in promising projects, including creating digital humans.

Digital humans are realistic, animated humans in the digital world. In short, it is a highly advanced avatar. That might be a simplification, but real-time digital human creation is here, and Epic Games is making the process far easier with their MetaHuman Creator.

High-quality digital humans are great storytelling tools for games and educational purposes. But they can be used for far more as well. For instance, the metaverse. Epic Games has ambitions for the metaverse space, and their digital humans could end up being a big part of those ambitions.

Unity Software

Unity Software is a major player when it comes to gaming, with a majority of the world’s top mobile games being created on the platform. The platform offers people the chance to create 3D content in a way that is hard to find elsewhere. Moreover, the company is not satisfied resting on its laurels.

In fact, in preparation for a major leap forward, Unity Software purchased Weta Digital. Specifically, it reached an agreement for its artist tools and core pipeline, among other things. The plan upon acquisition was to combine the leading VFX tools and talent from Weta with Unity’s own development and real-time knowledge.

However, Unity does not see its role in all of this as the true pioneer. The company has gone so far as to say that they are committed to supporting creators. They want to provide the tools necessary and help them make money, in turn fueling the way forward. And the way forward leads to the metaverse. At least that is the plan.

Autodesk

When you talk about the metaverse, the first thought for many people is gaming. There is a good reason for that too. Many companies and technologies focus on games. After all, they are a great testing ground, especially with metaverse tech. However, Autodesk is a company that shows what technology can do for the real world.

Autodesk is an American software company that makes programs for engineers and architects. Its software allows buildings and other structures to be designed, drafted, and modeled in great detail. It truly lets people explore the possibilities before anything is ever built, making it possible to:

However, Autodesk is not limited to those fields. The company also has a media and entertainment division, which focuses on visual effects, color grading, animation, and game development, among other things. Autodesk helps people create virtual worlds, and technology is incredibly valuable in the metaverse space.

It is such a valuable technology that it is becoming one of the top choices for those interested in metaverse construction. Autodesk has even continued moving toward software-as-a-service (SaaS), which is not only lucrative but great for growth. Therefore, expect Autodesk’s role in the metaverse to be even bigger than it is now.

Alibaba

China’s Alibaba is a multinational technology company that stands as a giant in the ecommerce world. The company does so much that it is hard to be more specific than ecommerce, with Alibaba owning and operating a vast portfolio of companies. But now, they have turned their sights on something new: the metaverse.

The company is one of many Chinese companies showing interest, and they started strong by filing for metaverse-related trademarks. Alibaba also has the Alibaba Cloud, which offers data and computing power services that can support the extensive needs of the metaverse.

While the Alibaba Cloud is not the extent of Alibaba’s involvement, it demonstrates their push toward the next stage of the internet. They also speak about holographic construction and simulation, as well as virtual reality integration and linkage on their website, where an entire page is devoted to the metaverse.

Additionally, Alibaba launched a company with the sole purpose of exploring the potential of gaming in the metaverse. So, not only is the company interested, it plans to approach the metaverse in a variety of ways.

Nike

Nike might not be your first thought when you think about the future of the internet, but they are determined to be a part of it. The company, founded in 1964, provides various products and services, and it has always pushed to stay ahead of the game. Now, it is doing that by partnering with a company mentioned previously: Roblox.

In collaboration with the company, Nike released Nikeland, a virtual world on Roblox. While Nikeland is simply an experiment on Nike’s part, it does offer a free space for gaming. In Nikeland, sports have no rules, allowing people to have many different adventures.

In the virtual space, not only can you engage in activities, but you can explore and purchase Nike gear, such as shoes, clothes, and accessories. It is a taste of what the future holds, with a virtual showcase of branded goods becoming more common in the digital world.

Shopify

The metaverse requires a lot of things to reach people’s expectations, including a robust economy. A step in the right direction came with crypto, but Shopify is already gearing up to be a part of things. In fact, Shopify has already begun to expand its toolset to help the digital and metaverse economy thrive.

One of the moves Shopify has made is launching a beta program for NFTs on the platform. The program will allow NFTs to be bought and sold on the platform, where they will accept both fiat currency and cryptocurrency as payment.

Shopify also acquired the team of an AR app called Primer. The Primer app allows people to see what things such as tile or paint will look like in their home or project. The technology and idea bring a lot to the table and position Shopify for a big move into the metaverse. Of course, how it will all be used is unknown, but Shopify is one to watch.

Final Thoughts

The metaverse is still some way off, but it is certainly coming. As the next step of the internet, it is quite an exciting thing, especially since many major companies are pushing for it. However, even before a full metaverse is created, bits and pieces of it will start to fall into place.

Already, the technology to create virtual worlds is being advanced. Moreover, digital humans and the ability to create realistic avatars is entirely possible. While everything still needs fine-tuning and there is much more to do, it is worth paying attention to. So make sure to keep your eyes on these companies this year and beyond.



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