For the metaverse to grow, mobile digital identities are needed
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What exactly is the metaverse? Is it a fully immersive, parallel and digital 3D world in which we live, play and work? Or is it a series of interconnected virtual experiences that we navigate seamlessly through our avatars and wearable digital accessories? The exact nature of the metaverse is still not entirely clear, nor is the extent to which it already exists today.
Although there is still no exact definition of the metaverse, there is no denying the presence it will increasingly have in all aspects of life. In reality, Gartner expects that by 2026, “25% of people will spend at least one hour a day in the metaverse for work, shopping, education, social media, and/or entertainment.”
I believe the metaverse is not just a destination we reach through technological devices, but rather a digital identity we carry through platforms and experiences. It seems that no matter how we define this concept, the role of digital identity remains a constant in all visions of the metaverse. This digital identity will include how we present ourselves visually and audibly. It will encompass the digital assets we own and the digital spaces in which we operate.
For the Metaverse to ultimately succeed, I believe three primary technological capabilities must be present:
- Customization of User Identity or Identities.
- The ability to transport identities across multiple platforms.
- Access from the user’s mobile device.
Today our online personas are usually linked to email addresses, user IDs and profile pictures and we often use the same username across different platforms even when logging in with an e-mail account. different email. Fast forward to the future: our digital avatars now act as our online identities, with users spending more time in the metaverse for business and entertainment. It is natural that users want to own their personal data and the identities they customize for the metaverse, which will vary depending on their activity. Their persona in their metaverse workplace, for example, will likely be different from their identity in a metaverse nightclub, just as it would differ in real life.
Users can select a visual avatar of one system, a sound identity of another, and an animation of 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 the disparate 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 where individuals can access and make meaningful connections to their digital identities across all devices every day. Developers are working to extend current augmented and virtual reality experiences by improving the VR headset pattern to make it lighter and more connected and affordable.
Companies that want to attract more users will need to enable them to port their digital identity across the metaverse, regardless of entry point or platform – for example, by implementing the studio tech-like standard virtual universal (VST) for audio avatars.
What does this mean for the short and long term vision of the Metaverse? Our digital identities must be easily accessible in all facets of our lives. A digital identity accessible only through a VR headset or desktop computer will only be relevant for the hours we spend with such devices. In other words, the metaverse must exist on the go, just like us.
Smartphones: the gateway to the metaverse
The metaverse should also be accessible to the widest possible audience from the most widespread and easily adopted device. Today, that device is the smartphone. The majority of internet activity is currently done via mobile phones. In many countries, including the United States, if people can only afford one internet connectivity device, they Choose a smartphone. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that smartphone users around the world can reach 4.5 billion by the end of 2024.
Just as laptops did not disappear 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 in reaching the majority of potential citizens of the metaverse, who are into the gaming world.
When Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announcement Activision Blizzard’s impending acquisition in January, he strengthened the company’s gaming footprint and its ability to deliver mobile experiences, explaining that gaming “will play a key role in the development of metaverse platforms.”
With a valued three billion gamers worldwide in 2021, smartphones are key to driving mobile gaming, which in turn will drive the metaverse.
Although technology has yet to catch up with the vision of the metaverse, companies are making progress. NewZoo’s Introduction to Metaverse The report asserts that “we are collectively racing towards greater participation in interconnected simulated environments that are even more limitless than our own.”
The companies that succeed in this space will be those that appeal to the widest audience through an immersive, inclusive and mobile experience. They will help create a widely accessible metaverse that allows users to personalize their digital identities, which they can then transport into interconnected virtual worlds wherever and whenever they find themselves.
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