The real world and the digital world are converging every day and becoming increasingly interconnected, and where the two intersect is described by some as “phygital.” Technologies such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are breaking down the barriers between the physical world and the digital world. We are becoming virtual avatars in a digital world called the metaverse.
We can see this in the gaming world, where VR has transformed the gaming landscape into an immersive adventure, where players are not merely spectators but active participants in virtual realms. And VR headsets such as Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR have redefined the gaming experience. Motion controllers, gestures, and spatial awareness have redefined player-game interactions, enhancing the user experience and driving player immersion to new levels. According to Insight Partners, the global VR market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 28.7% from 2022 to 2030 to $441.8 billion.
Augmented reality is designed to superimpose digital elements into the real world. It uses sensors to engage and understand the world around us using a combination of GPS, gyroscopes (a device that detects when a moving object is switching directions), and accelerometers (sensors that measure the acceleration of the device like a mobile phone). One of the most popular examples of AR is the Pokemon Go mobile app, which allows a player to locate and collect Pokemon characters that appear in the real world. Snapchat has filters that can superimpose reindeer antlers on your selfies. More practically, you can superimpose furniture into a room in your house or view a heads-up display on your automobile dash to monitor the speed limit or driving directions.
The metaverse is a blurry concept of a world in which the real world and digital fantasy worlds converge and become indistinguishable. It has been almost two years since Facebook rebranded to Meta and refocused its business efforts on the upcoming “metaverse.” However, nobody currently agrees on what the metaverse actually is.
Meta is building a VR social platform; Roblox facilitates user-generated gaming content. And Microsoft’s recent acquisition of Activision Blizzard may have implications for the metaverse — or maybe not.