Metaverse: Is it just a craze, fiction or the future itself?

Monday May 09 2022
Metaverse pic

Metaverse will combine physical life with digital life, offering everything from entertainment, business and commerce to engineering at a distance. PHOTO | FILE

By Sam Wambugu

The Metaverse is one of the hottest tech topics right now. Many people may ignore the Metaverse concept because it seems too technical and far-fetched. Nevertheless, it’s a serious issue worth discussing.

The Internet has been a central part of our lives for the past two decades, but analysts predict the Metaverse will be the next big thing. What exactly is the Metaverse?

Metaverse, or the digital universe, is a rich virtual environment where people can work, play, buy and engage in social interactions. Metaverse will combine physical life with digital life, offering everything from entertainment, business and commerce to engineering at a distance.

Does that make sense to you? If still unclear, think about the things you do in real life today – you will do them in the digital universe.

Many technology giants from diverse industries, including blockchain, cryptocurrency, gaming, the arts, retail, fashion and healthcare, are spending a lot of time exploring the immersive world of the Metaverse in order to position themselves as key players in this emerging field.

Take the land question in Kenya – it’s in red hot demand right now. On Metaverse, however, landholders – yes, you will be able to buy digital land – can set up shops, theatres and offices and rent them out, just as in real life.


Digital universe

As disruptive as the pandemic was, it hastened the shift to the Metaverse, where many businesses moved online, not for a season, but forever. Multitudes of users turned to the Metaverse during the pandemic for social activities and gatherings, even conducting online weddings. This is a bellwether of what lies ahead.

The idea of a vast, virtual online world is undoubtedly intriguing, and hundreds of companies have already sensed the potential of the Metaverse.

The big tech companies are pouring billions of dollars to make true the Metaverse idea. Tech companies such as Microsoft, Intel and Facebook (now named “Meta”) continue to make inroads into the digital universe.

In November last year, Facebook announced that it was changing its name to Meta, a move that sparked much online and offline debate. Meta has since invested an eye-popping $10 billion in acquiring and developing hardware and software that will be used to provide tech capabilities within its Metaverse.

There will be a rise in employment opportunities for candidates who are familiar with the new Internet as companies seek to get a foothold in the digital universe. In order to support a new global infrastructure that uses massive computing power, an insatiable demand for talent is expected to surge.

Despite its appeal, critics of the Metaverse argue that the concept is still an idea rather than a reality. According to them, there is no way to predict how things will turn out until they are proven.