Welcome to the Metaverse.
Where the physical blends with augmented and virtual reality.
Where your Meta Me resides.
Where your avatar is playing, working, shopping, and interacting with a shared online universe.
You are present inside the internet and not just looking at it.
It is the next evolution of online experiences; Web 3.0. Furthermore, you can make money in it, not just spend money on it — yes, Real Money.
The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the rise of virtual communities, while new developments are laying the groundwork for post-covid life — this has begun with the dawning of the metaverse.
Defining the metaverse
The term ‘metaverse’ was first coined in Neal Stephenson’s 1992 sci-fi novel, Snow Crash, as a concept that blends digital and physical existence.
With this concept developing and gaining traction, the metaverse can now be classified as the convergence of virtual and physical realities to the new internet.
The virtual and augmented reality market is predicted to grow in value from US$46.4 billion in 2019 to US$1.5 trillion in 2030, according to accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.
South Korea’s biggest asset manager, Samsung Asset Management, recently launched a metaverse fund. The fund focuses on eight themes: cloud computing, virtual reality, online gaming, online payments, 3D design tools, platform businesses, mobility, and the luxury goods industry.
Virtual worlds have presented a formidable opportunity in the Southeast Asian region.
The gaming sector jumped on the metaverse bandwagon while riding high on the tail-end of the pandemic and the accelerated development of mobile-first nations.
Shibuya Data Count forecasted that the Southeast Asian Gaming Market would register a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 8.5% over 2020 to 2025.
The six countries in Southeast Asia with the most major gaming markets are Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines. One of the factors driving the game industry’s growth in Southeast Asia is the rising popularity of esports. Another driving factor was the emergence of 5G technology in 2020.
Tech giants such as Facebook are now ushering in the next version of the internet.
According to ARK’s research, the revenue from virtual worlds will compound 17 percent annually from roughly $180 billion to $390 billion by 2025.
Asia games revenue which includes SEA, China, Taiwan, India, Japan, and South Korea, is set to exceed US$65 billion in 2020, with the number of gamers reaching 1.5 billion across the region. In addition, the Bank of America reported that the number of players playing Pokemon GO in the Asia Pacific region is set to expand from 84 million to 311 million from 2016 to 2020.
Singapore has become one of the top destinations for gaming companies with the emergence of industry powerhouses such as Electronic Arts, Riot Games, Ubisoft, and local gaming hardware company Razer.
Since 1995, the Singapore government has shown great interest in developing its gaming industry by supporting startups while opening and financing various research labs dedicated to gaming.
What’s on the horizon for the metaverse?
The Covid-19 pandemic is driving the internet to the next stage of its evolution – something called the ‘Metaverse’ where as a result, cyberspace becomes more of an interactive 3D space with commerce and networking alongside content, much like the worlds in popular games such as Fortnite and Roblox, said Min-Liang Tan, chief executive of Razer.
Meanwhile, global gaming company Streamline Media Group, whose head office is in Kuala Lumpur, announced recently that Shawn Layden, a gaming industry veteran of 30 years, has joined its advisory board.
“The lines between media, entertainment, technology, and video games have converged into the metaverse. Now is the time to build a sustainable structure around it that progresses the evolution of business models and welcomes more people, voices, and talent to shape it.”, said Streamline Media Group’s CEO and co-founder Alexander Fernandez.
Streamline understands the role games can play in the metaverse of media, technology, video games, fashion, and the entertainment industry.
The company made fashion history by collaborating with international fashion house Balenciaga on a ground-breaking video game — Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow, by showcasing an interactive, immersive 3D gaming experience.
“Digital transformation has arrived, and video game technology is the infrastructure that will bring immersive interactive experiences to every aspect of life. It will open new opportunities for product discovery, commerce, virtual coworking, education, and social interactivity. Welcome to the metaverse.”, said Fernandez.
The metaverse has reached our shores without us recognizing it, and it is here to stay.
That is precisely what the gaming world has proven.