words. Metaverse Academy: Olivia Schiffmann + Gustavo Salami
digital illustration. Anya Biarozka
issue 1 – in love with Switzerland

That’s how Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg described his vision of the Metaverse when he decided to rename his company “Meta” more than a year ago. For him, social media, i.e. Web2, is history; the group should now direct all its power and money toward conquering and shaping the Metaverse.

Since then, the Metaverse has arrived in the media coverage as well as in the public debate. The metaverse, the future of the Internet? Will we soon no longer meet in real worlds, but only as avatars in clinical virtual spaces? It’s not that simple after all.

There is no such thing as a metaverse. The term “metaverse” basically refers to virtual parallel worlds that make the Internet interactive and experienceable together with others. Such a virtual world can be accessed either via laptop or computer, smartphone, a game console such as Xbox, or with a VR headset. Usually, one uses an avatar, an individually produced and computer-generated 3D figure, for entry.

The actual metaverse that could emerge in the future is interoperable, meaning that virtual goods can be moved across platforms. Furthermore, it should be unlimited, with no cap on the number of concurrent users as well as open to all. Other features that are often mentioned: Decentralized, three-dimensional, synchronous (consistent for all and real-time), and persistent (it runs continuously).

There are three camps, all of which define the metaverse differently: The first group is convinced that the metaverse must necessarily take place in a virtual, mixed, or augmented reality (immersion). Others believe that the metaverse must necessarily be linked to Web3 applications (decentralization). And others claim that the metaverse does not even exist, but is rather a marketing gimmick.

In the end, it is unclear where the path will lead. The only thing that is clear is that the metaverse (or a manifestation of it) is coming and will fundamentally change our communication, our lives together, and the perception of brands. It is therefore advisable for interested parties and companies to start looking at the metaverse now. What are the possibilities for marketing? For the community? For the exchange with customers and partners?

There are already numerous companies that hold their meetings in the metaverse, for example. In contrast to a video call, you are physically present in a room during a meeting in the Metaverse, and you can hear and feel your colleagues better than in a video call.

Other companies, especially larger companies from the fashion or luxury industry, have already established their own presence in the metaverse to draw attention to their own brand with games or promotions, and have created products that can be purchased and used by the avatars of users in the metaverse. There are also contests, consultations or even events, for example. A concert by singer Ariane Grande in the video game Fortnite, for example, had 20 million viewers.

There are already many different use cases in the Metaverse: For example, properties or land areas can be bought and traded. Most of those who invest here hope for an increase in value by making the Metaverse more and more popular. The metaverse has also already proven itself as an educational platform: By integrating 3D objects, content can be conveyed more interactively and vividly in the virtual classroom than through classic PowerPoint presentations.

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