In the rapidly evolving digital realm, the concept of a metaverse, powered by blockchain technology, is taking center stage. The metaverse promises an immersive, interactive virtual environment where individuals can work, learn, play, and socialize in real-time. But beyond this broad definition, what practical applications does the metaverse offer? This article delves into the diverse uses of the metaverse, from gaming and education to health, and explores the progress made so far in these fields.
Computer games have already overtaken movies in both production cost and revenue, which is expected to hit $180 billion in 2022. Top-tier games have embraced immersive technologies as fast as they emerged and now feature surround sound technologies like Dolby Atmos on a regular basis. Some games like Resident Evil 4 have full-blown virtual reality versions that users can experience with popular VR headsets.
Early Web3 metaverses like Axie Infinity, Illuvium or The Sandbox have proven that the economic potential explodes once ownership and financial incentives for players are added. These early games had very limited gameplay, and some were basically frontends for DeFi protocols.
Major development studios showed some resistance to operate with open primitives and decentralized networks, opening the potential to score the first open metaverse video game smash hit for independent game makers.
Recently, games have shifted from play-to-earn to play-toown, focusing more on gameplay than pump and (mostly) dump tokenomics. The future will tell if on-chain characters will truly have meaning outside of the games they were created in, but in any case, having a bullet-proof “save file” is a distinct plus to many gamers.
German car manufacturer BMW uses augmented reality to train factory workers on how to mount cables and other intricate parts of the assembly. Trainees see the virtual part being mounted and follow the procedure with the physical part in hand, making the process crystal clear and unambiguous. The car manufacturer also reports on using mixed reality applications in vehicle development.
Telecommunications equipment manufacturer Nokia operates a VR training room, where trainees learn how to install 5G equipment.
Apart from virtual or augmented reality hands-on training, we expect virtual classrooms to be able to reach children in remote locations. Universities, like University of California, San Diego, are already starting to offer classes or entire programs in the metaverse. The education market was estimated to have more than $106 billion in revenue in 2021. If just a small portion of that moves to the metaverse, it could power multiple unicorns.
Augmented reality can power remote surgeries and vastly improve telehealth offerings, according to sources. Mount Sinai Health System, located in New York, in partnership with SphereGen and Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 utilized the technology to diagnose over 3,000 patients and successfully treat over 400 at the Kyabirwa Surgical Center in Uganda.
Doctors at the Marienkrankenhaus in Hamburg, Germany used HoloLens to overlay the patient with CT scans during complicated surgeries in an on-site mixed reality application that allowed the doctors to see relevant diagnostic information exactly where they needed it while performing the operation.
The metaverse helps on both ends of the spectrum here. Top-notch surgeries could use augmented reality to boost precision and display vitally important diagnostic information where they are needed most, and remote diagnostics and surgeries could help underserved communities get access to healthcare they would not be able to get otherwise.
The metaverse, in its varied applications, has the potential to revolutionize how we interact with the digital world. From providing new dimensions to gaming and offering innovative educational tools, to transforming healthcare services, its influence is far-reaching. While we’ve already witnessed impressive strides in these domains, the metaverse is still in its nascent stages. As technology continues to advance and more industries embrace the possibilities of the metaverse, we can anticipate a future where our virtual and physical realities are seamlessly intertwined.