VR, or Virtual Reality, has been part of the societal zeitgeist for more than half a century. Even before VR was ever possible, the idea of living in virtual worlds has been an ever-present thought in the minds of sci-fi writers and their ilk.
VR, AR, MR, and Metaverse Explained
While the origin of the idea is disputed, we can go back as far as the 1930s to see the first discussions about what VR could bring to the table. Two other, more recent terms, AR and MR, quite readily get confused with VR but are very different technologies indeed.
AR (or augmented reality) deals with the imposition of digital elements in the real world, usually through a smartphone screen, and MR (or mixed reality) pushes this composition to the next level.
Then there’s the Metaverse, which combines different technologies including VR, AR, and a digital universe where the players are “located”.
With such different approaches, the experience between the technologies couldn’t be more different.
VR, being the most immersive of the three technologies, has always been revered by gamers since the early days of video games. While many of us may remember the promise of VR back in the 80’s, it has only been in the last 5 years that VR has become meaningful in the gaming sphere.
The main issue with early VR was that the technology requires such huge amounts of horsepower to work, very few people had access to the required hardware to give the user a decent experience. Fast forward to today, and we basically have that power in our pockets, in the shape of the modern-day smartphone. The best experiences are still to be found on the high-end PCs and games consoles, but right now, most people can enjoy a limited VR experience simply by using their smartphone and a cheap cardboard viewer.
For the VR connoisseur though, there is no other option than a high-end, graphics-centric behemoth of a PC that is built primarily for speed. With the power that modern graphics cards can provide, VR takes on a new lease of life. With frame rates and ‘field of view’ (FOV) being extremely important to VR fans, playing VR games on consoles and in particular PCs is an experience that draws the player in like no other. The input lag that has plagued VR in its infancy has all. The result is gaming experiences that look stunning.
For those of you who have always dreamed of dogfighting in space, cockpit games are particularly suited to VR, as the player is generally sitting down in both the virtual world and the real one. This means that the player’s brain doesn’t get the odd feeling of ‘disconnect’ when it sees movement that doesn’t seem to match up with what it expects to see.
For example, if you are running over rooftops in a virtual world, but in reality, you are sitting on a chair, your brain knows something isn’t quite right. It can even lead to motion sickness in some users, but when the avatar in the virtual world mirrors the position of the user in the virtual one, the experience feels much more natural.
The reason for this sickness is debated, but some experts think that it harks back to our primitive days as foragers. If the brain is experiencing a disconnect in what it expects to see and feel, it starts to think you may have been poisoned by something you have eaten. And if your brain thinks you have been poisoned, the best thing to do is to try to get whatever is in your stomach, out. Not something many of us want to experience when we are trying to relax and play a game.
To combat the issues of motion sickness, some games companies have experimented with some rather interesting ways to avoid the issue. Bethesda, who has brought us the likes of Skyrim VR, Fallout 4 VR, and Doom VFR, have implemented the usual walking mechanics in their VR versions of the games, but have also opted to try a teleportation movement system.
This basically involves pointing to where you want to move, pressing a trigger, and then being ‘teleported’ to that position. While it may sound like an odd mechanic, it actually works extremely well, and due to the lack of actual movement, the chances of players feeling a little queasy while playing are lowered considerably, which is very important when playing a game as fast-paced as Doom. The more familiar ‘smooth movement’ system is still available, but for those with motion sickness issues, it is a good option to have.
A Digital Universe – Metaverse
In the science fiction novel “Snow Crash”, written in 1992 by the American writer Neal Stephenson, Metaverse is first used. Since then, companies like Facebook and Microsoft are claiming to move towards a real metaverse – an online virtual world.
Meta, formerly known as Facebook, announced 5 months ago, that the company had changed its name due to the growing interest in the metaverse. Furthermore, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that it would take between 5-10 years till metaverse would become mainstream. He believes it would replace the internet as we know it.
The metaverse is a 3D virtual worlds networking, where the focus is on social communication. There are online video games that have metaverse elements in them such as the multiplayer game roblox.com and Fortnite.
Metaverse And Cryptocurrencies
Although this is a whole new field, Metaverse crypto tokens are already here. These coins popped up as a new investment for investors who are looking to buy metaverse tokens at an affordable price. Most of them can be found here.
Another example of the hipe of Metaverse is related to the creators of the popular token Shiba Inu that had announced that the SHIB token is planning to get into the Metaverse soon. The creators are working on the development of the metaverse project these days.
Other huge players in crypto are the French company Ledger and the blockchain game The Sandbox which announced a new partnership of promoting crypto education. Ledger is one of the most popular hardware for crypto-wallets. They provide top-level security for crypto assets worldwide.
The main idea is to educate people about security and safety in the crypto world while using the VR of The Sandbox.
— Cointelegraph (@Cointelegraph) April 4, 2022
We cannot know for sure if VR and AR tech would be at the same level as smartphones and computers as we use them today. Moreover, whether people would really want to hang out in virtual offices, fashion stores, or shopping malls.
Metaverse is definitely going to be a bit more than just cool avatars in VR games and it’s getting towards being a shift in technology. There is probably a lot to be excited about.