Is Metaverse Going to Replace the Internet?

Ever since Mark Zuckerberg announced the Facebook rebranding to “Meta” and the company’s plan to enter into the metaverse era, the internet is going crazy around metaverse. We see debates around how metaverse is going to change the internet, the competition among tech giants around metaverse, and similar other elements. But is it just a misconception that metaverse will replace the internet or is it a reality? Let’s clear it out in this blog.

Metaverse – A Quick Overview

You can call metaverse a life within a virtual world driven by ultrafast internet and multiple digital technologies, such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), live streaming, cryptocurrency, and many more. It is being assumed that metaverse technology will let users use digital personalized avatars to remotely interact with family and friends in real-time, do virtual meetings, go to concerts, do shopping, play games, and be part of similar other activities.

The Hollywood movie “Ready Player One” is one excellent example to imagine what metaverse might look like, but don’t consider it the ultimate target of the metaverse. It is true that metaverse can completely change our gaming experience, but one of the main objectives of the metaverse is to shift people’s interaction via 2D video calls to virtual real-time 3D meetups.

Where Metaverse Technology Stands Currently?

Metaverse is just a fancy concept currently and it will take years if not decades to develop a realistic version of it. As per Mark Zuckerberg, there are still 5-10 years for metaverse to become a mainstream technology. However, no one can project the release date currently. It is because metaverse depends on an interconnected network of services/technologies, so it is challenging for any single company to achieve all that in a short timeframe.

Currently, we can see some early adopters of the metaverse in games like Fortnite and Roblox or other VR products, but gradually we will see more enhancements or early versions of the metaverse. In short, with every passing year, we are going close to witnessing a new era of the internet-driven by immersive technologies.

Metaverse Enhances the Internet not Replaces It

Now that we know what metaverse is and where it stands today, let’s clear out our confusion around metaverse and the internet. If you think metaverse as shown in Ready Player One movie, then you might assume that it is a replacement of the internet. However, the metaverse is meant to “enhance/expand” the internet capabilities not replace the internet. In fact, the metaverse is only achievable with the ultrafast internet.

The below table will further clarify how metaverse enhances the internet:

InternetMetaverse
Computers / Tablets / SmartphonesVirtual Reality (VR) / Extended Reality (XR)
2D Screens using Touch or MouseNatural UI/UX
Profile Pic / User IDPersonalized Digital Avatar / Universal ID
Software Applications / WebsitesVirtual Experiences
Text, Audios, Videos, or ImagesEverything oriented in 3D
Live StreamingLife Streaming
In-App PurchasesCrypto / NFT

In simple words, you will still be able to do normal things on the internet the way you can do today. However, when you will use VR headsets or glasses, you will be able to elevate your internet usage experience.

Technologies Needed to Access the Metaverse

Metaverse will be an interconnected system of immersive technologies and services that will make a virtual world feature-rich. Think of it with the smartphone example. You are able to do a lot of things via your smartphone because different technologies and services are interconnected with that single device. The same is applied to the metaverse and that’s also the main reason why metaverse is not achieved till now.

The main technologies or devices required to access the metaverse are as follow:

  • Immersive devices that support virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), extended reality (XR), and similar other environments.
  • Ultrafast internet to stream and access content and other services in real-time.
  • Digital wallets (cryptocurrency wallets) to perform transactions across digital services in the metaverse.

There might be some other technologies required, but the above ones will be the crucial ones.

Current Competition in the Metaverse

There is massive competition going on among the tech giants to be the first ones to offer metaverse services. Its market size as of 2020 was $47.69 billion, and it is projected to expand up to $814.2 billion by 2028. Meta alone is spending $10 billion in metaverse research and development in 2021.

Metaverse is believed to be the next big thing after “smartphones”, which is justifiable too considering the growing interest of people in avatar-based gaming apps, such as Fortnite and Roblox. In fact, Fortnite managed to generate a revenue of $9 billion just in the first two years. Owing to that, every tech giant, such as Meta, Microsoft, Sony, Google, Apple, and others, wants to succeed in this race and grab the early attention of consumers and investors.

Some consider that Meta will lead this race, but nothing can be said currently. Meta is good at marketing metaverse, but Apple is also silently working on its AR wearable which is believed to be available in the market by the end of next year. Similarly, Nvidia is leading the race in AI chips crucial for immersive technologies, while Microsoft is also investing aggressively in research around metaverse. So, the global heat around metaverse is warming up gradually, and it’s worth watching who will win the race.

Wrapping Up

Metaverse is indeed a game-changer, offering a virtual world experience we could just imagine currently. Although it is not going to replace the internet, just the way we use and interact with the internet will change or enhance. So, hold tight for the next few more years till we start seeing some realistic versions of the metaverse.

Is Metaverse Going to Replace the Internet? was last updated February 14th, 2022 by Hamza Razzaq