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Seven Layers Of Metaverse - PerfectionGeeks

The Seven Layers of the Metaverse

April 27, 2022 1:30 PM

Seven Layers Of Metaverse

Trillions in dollars: That's how much the private sector is investing in the metaverse.

This article describes the value chain for this market. It includes the experiences people seek and the technologies that make them possible. I offer a prescription, which is a vision of a future metaverse powered by creators and built on decentralization. It is up to you to decide if this is the future you want. One that provides the most variety and is powered by creators who make a living from it, or one that is defined by rent-takers and gatekeepers.

It's exciting to see that we are well on our way to the former -- which is the more egalitarian marketplace -- and I hope it will continue. As we explore seven layers of the metaverse, please join me.

Layer 1: Experience

Many people view the metaverse as the 3D space that surrounds us. The metaverse isn't 3D or 2D or necessarily graphical. It is about the inexorable materialization of physical space and distance as well as objects. It includes 3D games such as Fortnite on our gaming consoles, Beat Saber on our virtual reality headsets, and Roblox on the computers. It includes Alexa in the kitchen, Zoom in virtual offices, Clubhouse, Peloton, and Clubhouse in our home gyms.

What happens to physical space when it is no longer materialized? Experiences that were once rare may now be common. Games are a way to see the future. You can imagine yourself as a rock star or a Jedi, or a race car driver, and many other possibilities. This is what you can do with more familiar experiences. A concert in physical space may only sell a few tickets, but a virtual one can create a personal plane of existence around each person and allow you to always have the best seat in your house.

The evolution of games will include more events that are informed and influenced by live entertainment such as music concerts and immersive theatre that have been developed in Fortnite, Roblox, and Rec Room. Social entertainment will enhance esports and online communities. Traditional industries like education, travel and live performance will change to accommodate game-thinking and the virtual economics of abundance.

These live events are a part of a metaverse experience that I have highlighted: The content-community complex. Customers used to be content consumers, but now they can also create and amplify content. When referring to simple features such as uploading a video or blog comments, the term "user-generated" was used in the past. Content isn't just generated by people anymore. It emerges from the interactions of their communities and feeds into their conversations. Content is what makes it happen: there's a virtual flywheel of events, content, and social interaction that creates more content. In the future, "immersion" will not be limited to immersion in a story-world or graphical space, but also social immersion, and how it generates interaction and propels content.

Layer 2: Discovery

The push and pull that leads people to new experiences is the discovery layer. This is a huge ecosystem and one of many most lucrative for many businesses, including some of the biggest in the world. Most discovery systems can be divided into two categories: inbound (where the person is actively searching for information about an experience) and outbound (where they are not explicitly asking for marketing, even though they opt-in).

Inbound:

  • Real-time presence
  • Community-driven content
  • N of your friends love App
  • Curation - via featured app listings in stores and taste-makers
  • Search engines
  • Earned media

Outbound:

  • Display advertising
  • Spam (email, LinkedIn, Discord)
  • Notifications

The majority of the above is well-known to internet users. I will concentrate here on the areas of discovery that will rise in importance in the metaverse.

First, community-driven content can be a much more cost-effective way to discover information than other forms of marketing. People will spread the word if they care about the content and the events. Content will become a marketing asset as it becomes easier to share, trade, and exchange content in more metaverse contexts. NFTs are an example of this. Whether you love them or not, their two key advantages include the ease with which they can supply decentralized exchanges and the economics that encourage more direct creator-community interaction. As a way to discover, content marketplaces will replace application marketplaces.

Real-time presence features are a specific type of community. Instead of focusing only on what people like, it is important to focus on what people do right now. This is especially relevant in a metaverse, where much of the value will be found in inter-personal interactions through shared experiences.

You can see which games your friends are currently playing by logging into Steam, Battle.net, or Xbox.net. Clubhouse, which is not just for games, shows the power and flexibility of this structure. You can choose which room you want to join based on your curated list.

The metaverse is digitizing social structures just as we are dematerializing our physical reality. While the initial stages of the Internet were defined as social media "stickiness," which was limited to a handful of monolithic providers, the decentralized identity ecosystem could shift power towards the social groups, allowing them frictionless movement across multiple experiences. The clubhouse is where clubs form and organize parties in Rec Room. Guilds can move between games, while a group of friends can jump between Roblox experiences. This is the marketing implication for the content-community system.

The greatest discovery opportunity for creators is real-time presence detection. It works across a multitude of activities in the metaverse. Discord's presence-detection SDK allows users to detect their presence and launch activities they want to participate in.

Layer 3: Creator Economy

The metaverse experiences are becoming more immersive, social, and immediate. In addition, the number of creators is growing exponentially. This layer includes all the technology creators use every day to create the experiences people love.

Previous creator economies were consistent in their Metaverse development company in the metaverse and games, web development, or e-commerce:

Pioneer Era: People who create experiences using technology are the first to do so. They have no access to tools and must build everything themselves. HTML was the first website to be coded. People created their shopping carts and programmers directly wrote to the graphics hardware.

Engineering Era: Following the initial successes in creative markets, there is an explosion in the number of people who work together. The process of building from scratch is often too slow and costly to support the needs. Workflow becomes more complicated. To save time and relieve engineers who are already overloaded, the earliest tools in a market often include SDKs and middleware. Ruby on Rails, along with many other application server stacks, made it possible for developers to create data-driven websites. OpenGL and DirectX, both graphics libraries, were created to allow programmers to create 3D graphics in games.

Creator Era: Designers and creators don't want coding bottlenecks slowing them down. Coders would rather use their skills to enhance the unique aspects of a particular project. This era is marked by an exponential and dramatic rise in creators. Creators have access to templates and markets for content, which reorient the development process from one that is code-centered, bottom-up, to one that is creatively-oriented, top-down.

Shopify makes it easy to launch an e-commerce site in just minutes. Wix and Squarespace can create and maintain websites. You can create 3D graphics experiences within game engines like Unity or Unreal, without having to touch the lower-level rendering APIs. Instead, you can use visual interfaces in their studio environments.

The metaverse experiences will be more live and socially updated. The creator-driven experiences in metaverse have been centered around centrally managed platforms like Roblox, Rec Room, and Manticore. This has allowed an unprecedented number to create experiences for others. However, Beamable's vision is to empower independent creators with the same tools, but in a more decentralized and open way.

Layer 4: Spatial Computing

Spatial computing is a hybrid of real and virtual computations that breaks down the boundaries between the real and ideal worlds. Space in the machine and space within the machine should be allowed bleed into one another whenever possible. Sometimes, this may mean bringing space into the machine. Other times it could be injecting computation into objects. It is mainly about designing systems that go beyond the boundaries of keyboard and screen without becoming hung up or melting into interfaces or meek simulations.

Spatial computing is a broad category of technology that allows us to access and manipulate 3D space, as well as to add to the real world by gaining more knowledge and experience. I have separated the software and enabling hardware layers of spatial computing, which I describe under the Human Interface section.

Layer 5: Decentralization

The ideal structure for the metaverse is opposite to the OASIS of Ready Player One where it was controlled only by one entity. Exploration and growth are greatly enhanced when there are many options available and systems can be interoperable. This is possible in competitive markets, where creators have full control over their data and creations.

This is the simplest form of decentralization. It maps IP addresses to names. This saves you from entering a number every time you need to visit a website.

Distributed computing and microservices allow developers to access online capabilities without having to worry about building back-end systems or integration.

Far edge computing will bring the cloud closer to us -- even to our cars -- to enable powerful applications at low latency and without burdening our devices. Computing power will be more like a utility (similar to electricity) and less like a data center.

Layer 6: Human Interface

Smartphones are not phones anymore. Smartphones are powerful, portable, connected, and always-connected computers with a preinstalled phone application. They are becoming more powerful with the advancement of sensors and embedded AI technology. With low latency access to edge computing systems and further miniaturization, they will absorb more applications and experiences from other dimensions.

The Oculus Quest is a smartphone that has been refactored to a VR device. This untethering gives you a glimpse of the future.

Layer 7: Infrastructure

The infrastructure layer is the technology that connects our devices to the network and delivers content.

5G networks will significantly increase bandwidth and reduce latency. 6G will boost speeds by an additional order of magnitude.

Enabling the untethered functionality, high performance, and miniaturization required by the next generation of mobile devices, smart glasses, and wearables will require increasingly powerful and tinier hardware: semiconductors that are imminently dropping to 3nm processes and beyond; microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) that enable tiny sensors; and compact, long-lasting batteries.

Internet 3.0

The metaverse isn't "a" metaverse. It is the next generation Internet: a multiverse. We will be surrounded by the many adventures that this space has to offer, both graphically and socially.

While there will be many theme parks that are proprietary and very entertaining in the metaverse I am even more excited about the possibility in Switzerland. A metaverse powered through a strong creator economy enabled by decentralization.

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