To grow the metaverse, mobile digital identities are necessary
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What exactly is the metaverse? Is it a fully immersive, parallel, digital 3D world in which we live, play and work? Or is it a series of interconnected virtual experiences that we navigate seamlessly with our wearable digital avatars and accessories? The exact nature of the metavers is not yet fully understood, nor to what extent it already exists today.
While there may still not be an exact definition of the metavers, there is no denying that it will increasingly be present in all aspects of life. In reality, Gartner expect that by 2026, “25% of people will spend at least an hour a day in the metaverse for work, shopping, education, social media and/or entertainment.”
I believe the metaverse is not just a destination that we reach through technological devices, but rather a digital identity that we carry across platforms and experiences. It seems that no matter how we define this concept, the role of digital identity remains a constant in all of the metavers’ visions. This digital identity encompasses how we present ourselves both visually and aurally. It includes the digital assets we own and the digital spaces in which we operate.
For the metaverse to ultimately succeed, I believe there are three key technological capabilities that must be present:
Personalization of the user’s identity or identities. Ability to transfer identities across platforms. Access from the user’s mobile device.
Today, our online personas are usually associated with email addresses, user IDs, and profile pictures, and we often use the same username across platforms, even when we log in with a different email address. Fast-forward to the future: Our digital avatars now act as our online identities, with users spending more time in the metaverse for both business and entertainment. It is only natural for users to want to take ownership of their personal data and the identities they modify for the metaverse, which will vary depending on their activity. For example, their persona in their metaverse workplace will likely differ from their identity in a metaverse nightclub, just as it would be different in real life.
Users can choose a visual avatar from one system, a sonic identity from another, and animation from a third, using these custom avatars to connect their real and virtual worlds. As venture capitalist Rex Woodberry noted“In Web3, identity becomes portable and composable… What’s important is that different elements of your identity merge into one digital location, owned and controlled by you.”
For the metaverse to really take off, there needs to be a strategy in which individuals can access their digital identities on a daily basis and build these meaningful connections to their digital identities across devices. Developers are working to extend current augmented and virtual reality experiences by improving the VR headset design to make it lighter, more connected and affordable.
Companies looking to attract more users should enable them to carry their digital identity across the metaverse, regardless of access point or platform, for example by implementing the universal virtual studio technology (VST)-like standard for audio avatars.
What does this mean for the short- and long-term vision for the metavers? Our digital identities must be easily accessible in all facets of our lives. A digital identity that can only be accessed through a VR headset or a desktop computer will only be relevant for the hours we spend with such devices. In other words, the metaverse must exist along the way, just like us.
Smartphones: the gateway to the metaverse
The metaverse should also be accessible to the widest possible audience from the most widespread, easy-to-use device. Today, that device is the smartphone. Most internet activities currently take place via mobile phones. If people can afford only one internet connection device in many countries, including the US, To elect a smart phone. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that smartphone users around the world can to achieve 4.5 billion by the end of 2024.
Just as laptops have not disappeared with the advent of the smartphone, browser-based social metaverse experiences will continue, even as AR glasses and headsets become commonplace. While it will take some time for hardware to catch up with software, it is an essential step to reach the majority of potential metaverse citizens in the gaming world.
When Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced With the upcoming acquisition of Activision Blizzard in January, he bolstered the company’s gaming footprint and ability to deliver mobile experiences, explaining that gaming “will play a key role in the development of metaverse platforms.”
Immediately estimated With three billion players worldwide by 2021, smartphones are key to driving mobile gaming, which in return will power the metaverse.
While technology may not have caught up with the metaverse vision, companies are making progress. NewZoo’s Introduction to the Metaverse report affirms that “collectively we are moving towards greater participation in interconnected simulated environments that are even more limitless than our real ones.”
The successful companies in this space will be the ones that attract the broadest audience through an immersive, inclusive, and mobile experience. They will help build a metaverse that is widely accessible and that allows users to personalize their digital identities, which they can then carry across interconnected virtual worlds – wherever and whenever they are.
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