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Virtual Tourism | The Metaverse Today | Explained in Short

It is hard to understand the Metaverse, where it is today and what is driving the developments. In this article I capture some of the knowledge from several resources to paint a picture of where things are and how they will relate to virtual tourism.  

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The Metaverse Today | Explained in Short

Throughout the pandemic, the internet and social media supported billions of people to continue their lives via connecting with their work, friends, families, hobbies, learning and other aspects of life while in isolation.

But it was not at all perfect. It still feels like am emergency procedure until the "real world" we were used to is back. Interactions still felt distant and impersonal. And, we are still missing a lot, like going outside, exploring the world, and experiencing life to its fullest.  

This is where the metaverse comes in. Little by little it is closing the gap between the real world experience and digital experiences by making them ever more life like. 

While it seems unnatural to go into a virtual shop and by a real life (or digital item) or experience a holiday destination we know that this is coming. Hundreds of millions of gamers are already very familiar with moving around in digital spaces. It has not been too long that keeping relationships with friends was unthinkable in an online space to most of us. Now it is the norm. Who manages their engagement with technology well receives a much higher quality with these new tools.

 

Will the metaverse happen?

The metaverse is not a single thing. A fast growing number of companies including some of the largest once in the world are all building their own interpretations and spaced. It is not a matter about if. I is a matter on how fast it will enter the mainstream and what it will look like. An exponential growth is guaranteed. What it will look like and feel like not.  The metaverse will supplement our options and it will do this much better than all previous technologies. It won't be too long until we look at laptops and tablets as a clumsy way of engaging with the digital world. 

 

How big is the metaverse today?

This cannot be answered with much accuracy as there are so many businesses and platforms that offer related content. Platforms like Meta's Horizons, Decentraland report over 300 k users and Sandbox 2 Million+ at the time of writing. This are small number but the trend has a very clear trajectory. While the demand is there the internet speed and offerings need to improve as well as the technology. But progress is fast. Many of the largest tech companies in the world invest heavily. I have summarized these investments and their relationship to online delivery in tourism in another blog post.  

"What happened to the Metaverse" read this blog post for more insides.

Solving the challenges

Creating the metaverse has many challenges and companies are working step by step to breaking them down. It starts with the hardware. There are still issues with users reporting nausea when using VR sets. This does not effect anyone but is a common challenge. Making the wearables lighter and the presentation of avatars more human like by including limbs like arms and legs are other areas of focus. And then there is the internet speed and the computers required. The latter are more often now built into the devices but fast speed will remain crucial for delivering higher resolution images. See it one of the reasons that internet worlds appear quite clunky at this stage.  

 

Check up a BBC story on Decentraland

 

 

Gaming leads the way

The by far greatest community of people spending much time in virtual environment are gamers. This is why they are the target group for many companies that are developing in this space and game developers and their companies are the targets of acquisitions of the large tech-companies that are building metaverse technology. 

More in our article on: What happened to META

When is it ready?

Just as with the birth of social media where a large number of companies contributed it will happen with the metaverse. The metaverse is not a "thing" it is a way of consumption and delivery of content, networking opportunities, facilitating workplaces and enabling more immersive experiences in almost every aspect of life. 

How is it related to Virtual Tourism

In any way. I would suggest using the term online delivery as this is what is really happening. There will be more and more technologies (including the hardware) that enable to deliver experiences to people online. There is no doubt that billions are invested to create these platforms but learning how to use them is solely in us as tourism economies. It will take time to teach the skills necessary to a broader set of operators to be able to represent countries and their tourism products on a broader scale online. however, just as the technology, more and more companies like Online Travel Masters are focusing on this element.  

Summary

Not one platform is ready to deliver a compelling enough offer that is worth engaging in yet. Especially not as tourism providers. However, every of those efforts will benefit tourism operators in the short and medium term even before a metaverse type environment is ready for the mainstream. 

 

My favorite podcast

Interested in learning more about the development of the metaverse? Here an interview between Tim Ferris and Mark Zuckerberg where Zuckerberg shares his part in finding solutions for future metaverse technologies.  

 

 

Do you agree, have we missed something or do you disagree? Please share your views in the comments below. 

 

Last Updated April 2022 | by Online Travel Masters

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