Ever since Facebook’s announcement about its rebranding into Meta and the introduction of the concept of the Metaverse, many people have been curious as to what it is and what changes it will bring to the virtual landscape. For app developers, it’s important to keep up with the trends developing around the Metaverse if they want to stay relevant and adapt this concept. However, you may not be sure where to start.
In this guide to the Metaverse and the technology behind it, we’ll show you how you can bring your app into the future with the right integrations.
What Exactly Is the Metaverse?
The Metaverse is ultimately a number of things. It’s challenging for many to really understand what the Metaverse is, particularly because it’s something on the way as opposed to currently here. Put simply, the Metaverse consists of nearly unlimited virtual spaces that provide optimal interactivity through the use of innovative technologies. Specifically, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) plays a huge role in composing the Metaverse and the worlds it contains.
Inside the Metaverse, people can engage with worlds that blend the virtual and physical world together to form an entirely new experience. The intention is to take the virtual world beyond the screen and interface it with the real world, allowing for more immersive online shopping experiences and much more. The idea of the Metaverse began with Neal Stephenson’s 1992 novel Snow Crash, which is where the term “metaverse” first appeared. The concept of the Metaverse also bears a resemblance to ideas espoused in the film The Matrix, the title and core concept of which is derived from William Gibson’s 1984 novel Neuromancer.
One of the key goals of the Metaverse is to reduce the amount of screen time that people engage in by combining the activities seen on the screen with the world around it. Through this combination, people can complete daily tasks more easily with convenient integrations.
The Technology We’ll See With the Metaverse
There are some main types of technology that the Metaverse will introduce, some of which are entirely new while others are developments of concepts that are already in practice. These technologies include:
Mixed and Extended Reality (MX & XR)
One of the biggest changes we’ll see is an increased emphasis on mixed reality (MR) and extended reality (XR), the latter of which includes MR along with virtual and augmented reality. You may be familiar with VR and AR, which have been around for several years and which many mobile apps and other platforms have begun to implement to create fully immersive experiences. While VR uses headsets and other tech to transport people into a virtual world and AR brings elements of virtual spaces into the real world, MR takes both to the next level by blurring the line between the real and virtual worlds.
Unlike AR, which is somewhat limited, MR enables virtual objects to fully and seamlessly interact with real-world objects through occlusion, which allows real-world objects to conceal virtual ones. For example, when tossing a virtual ball, it could roll behind a wall that completely obscures it from view. When you walk around that wall, the ball will be visible again just as an actual object would.
In other words, MR is a type of AR but with more enhanced capabilities. However, the Metaverse will still rely on more traditional VR and AR.
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are virtual art, avatars, and many other types of virtual objects that people can create and sell on a variety of platforms using cryptocurrency. The conversion of digital items to NFTs allows for easier identification and ownership transfer of these objects between users. NFTs can also integrate with multiple platforms in the Metaverse, enabling certain objects to function more like real-world items. For instance, if you purchase a digital art piece in the form of an NFT, you can display it in an avatar’s home within an online game, essentially converting it into a piece you can show off to others as you would a real-life painting.
One of the most important tools that will change the shape of the Metaverse is artificial intelligence (AI). This technology has already made major headways over the years, but it’s only going to continue to improve. Smart assistants like Apple Siri, Google Now, Microsoft Cortana, and Amazon Alexa all rely on AI to serve users. It also helps with the development and auditing of software, and it enables developers to secure users’ information and digital currency. It also has the power to more closely mimic human behavior in the form of in-game characters for gaming apps, chatbots, and other platforms.
After 4G mobile communication reigned for multiple years, the next generation is coming along in the form of 5G. This will allow for faster connections that give apps in the Metaverse the ability to handle MR and other enhanced technology without compromising the user experience.
These are some of the main areas that the Metaverse will touch on, making it important for applications of all types to upgrade accordingly if they want to maintain relevancy.
How to Prepare Your App for the Metaverse
If you’re wondering how to bring your mobile app into the Metaverse and effectively monetize it, it’s important to integrate some key features based on Metaverse’s main technological advancements. These integrations are as follows:
1. Implement AR & VR
If applicable to your app, one of the chief integrations to include to help plug your app into the Metaverse is AR or VR. For instance, if you offer an eCommerce app, you can enable users to see how products would look in the real world with AR. Similar apps could also use VR to give shoppers the ability to explore a virtual showroom that highlights various products. In the process, as it becomes more available and your capabilities expand, you can incorporate MR to take your AR feature further.
2. Use Distributed Storage and Computing
Worlds within the Metaverse will need sufficient computing technology and power to minimize the risk of crashes and disruptions. App developers can facilitate this by using multi-node distributed storage computing that blockchain technologies, torrents, and other technologies allow. This will keep your business consistently agile.
3. Utilize Artificial Intelligence and Nomadic Programs
Implementing AI will go a long way in improving your app’s user experience. You can use AI in a number of ways. For instance, you can use AI to collect data and analyze it to make better decisions around UX optimization. You can also use it to connect in a more human manner with users via chatbot communication and other similar integrations.
Nomadic programs also use AI algorithms to help developers better understand the worlds they create within the Multiverse. One example of this is the video game No Man’s Sky, which uses procedural generation to create billions of planets that players can freely explore, each of which is entirely original. While the limited development team is unable to explore all of these planets and experience players’ journeys first-hand, the team launched nomadic virtual robots to do this work for them, bringing back details that the developers could then use to further optimize the players’ experiences.
4. Allow for 5G Compatibility
As 4G technology approaches its end, your app should be capable of adapting to 5G technology. As you add other features and integrations to your app to prepare it for the Metaverse, making your app 5G compatible will help ensure that the user experience doesn’t suffer due to inadequate connectivity. 5G technology will be able to handle the increased load, with a top download and upload speed of 10 GB/s dwarfing 4G’s 100 MB/s.
5. Introduce NFT Integrations
If this is suitable for your app, consider using NFT integrations. You can convert in-app digital items that users can purchase into NFTs that allow users to access, display, or even use them in other worlds within the Metaverse. Additionally, depending on the type of app you use, you can enable users to bring other NFTs into your app and use them in different ways. As an example, a shirt that a user purchases within a game like Fortnite can use that same shirt to dress their avatar in a social media app.
Examples of Apps Diving into the Metaverse
Now that you have a better idea of how to prepare your app for the Metaverse, consider some of the specific examples out there of certain apps that are already getting ready for the big paradigm shift ahead.
One type of app that’s likely to benefit from Metaverse adoption is in the education industry. Schools and universities have started to experiment with certain technologies to make virtual learning more interactive and engaging. The Metaverse will allow for even more immersive and even fun learning experiences that revolutionize education.
Educational apps of all types will be able to use the Metaverse to facilitate real-world experience among students while providing more affordable education. Using MR and VR, for instance, students would be able to explore virtual museums and historical sites, among many other locations that would otherwise be inaccessible to them. At the same time, teachers can maintain connections with students to educate them along the way.
Many gaming apps are able to take full advantage of VR, AR, and MR to provide users with a unique and entirely immersive gaming experience. Using this technology, app owners can make it seem as though players are playing their games in real life, with seamless integrations that revamp the mobile gaming experience. Some platforms also combine gaming with social experiences, such as Horizon World by Meta, which gives users the ability to interact with a gaming hub and a virtual meeting space to hang out with online friends.
Certain types of dating apps such as Bumble and Tinder are preparing to enter the Metaverse. Using these platforms, users can more easily select the various locations to set dates and even dress up with a virtual wardrobe and avatars prior to going out. Using technology such as VR headsets or goggles, users can also date virtually in these spaces and with these avatars to enjoy a more personal, intimate virtual experience before dating in person.
Users of virtual meeting apps can also benefit from the capabilities of the Metaverse in a number of ways. They can attend virtual meetings in different types of virtual spaces that bring everyone together in a more interactive way than a traditional video call. Additionally, people in these meetings can do much more than merely meet, with the ability to engage in certain types of virtual team-building exercises, play games together, and more.
These capabilities are invaluable for virtual meetings of all types, whether businesses use them to hold important meetings or corporate seminars or individuals use them to meet with friends and family in more fun and casual settings. The possibilities are practically limitless with what the Metaverse will offer.
Gear Your App for the Future With the Right Integrations
The many benefits of the Metaverse will enhance the user experience in nearly every way once this revolutionary movement comes to fruition. The key is to make sure your app is ready for it. By incorporating the right integrations and adding the types of features that allow for full Metaverse adoption, you’ll give your app the chance to excel among the competition.