Navigating the Metaverse: A New Era of Immersive Virtual Reality
Qualitest SVP, Emerging Technologies, Subbiah Muthiah, puts the nascent Metaverse under the microscope to reveal its enormous significance and abundant opportunity, early ecosystems, market trends and likely way forward, including QA test requirements and governance.
The internet has come a long way since its inception, and with each passing year, it has continued to evolve in unprecedented ways. The rise of Web 2.0 brought with it a new wave of innovation, social networking, social selling and interactive experiences. However, we’re now on the brink of another technological revolution, and it’s one that promises to change the way we interact with the internet forever.
Enter the Metaverse, a term that has been gaining traction in recent years, and one that refers to a fully immersive virtual world that is powered by Web 3.0 technologies. While the concept of the Metaverse has been around for decades, recent advancements in technology have made it a viable possibility, and it’s something that many believe will be the future of the internet.
What is the Metaverse?
So, what exactly is the Metaverse, and how does it differ from the internet as we know it? Well, to put it simply, the Metaverse is a collective virtual shared space where users can interact with each other and the environment around them in real-time. In the first instance, think of it as a giant online game or a virtual reality world where you can create your own avatar and explore different digital environments.
“A Metaverse represents an evolving idea of a digital native, immersive world where we can work, socialize and engage in commerce and Web3 provides decentralized protocols which can be used to build an open interoperable, and community driven Metaverse.” – The Institute of Engineering and Technology
However, the Metaverse is more than just a game or a social network. For consumers, it will emerge as a new place to buy, to play and even to work within. For businesses, it will become a huge distribution channel.
Commercial predictions about the Metaverse
There is also already massive commercial and analyst attention in this area because the opportunities are tremendous. Goldman Sachs predicts an ‘$8 trillion opportunity on the revenue and monetization side of the Metaverse’ and McKinsey predicts ‘Potential to generate up to $5 trillion in value by 2030.
“If you consider that the IoT was predicted to generate $1 trillion, it gives some perspective to the growth potential of Web 3.0. We’re talking at least FIVE TIMES the potential revenue of IoT, the smart world we are currently working on.”
On a more prosaic and subjective note, the inspirational thing about the Metaverse is it gives individuals and commercial organisations the opportunity to do something unique. It’s highly customizable by nature and really a playground for the imagination.
The experience is new, the technology is new. There is a lot of uncertainty and nobody has really tried it and that makes it exciting.
Web 3.0 technologies and the Metaverse
Web 3.0 is all about decentralization, interoperability, and transparency. It’s a new kind of internet that is built on blockchain technology, and it promises to provide a more secure, private, and open web. With Web 3.0, users will have more control over their data, and they’ll be able to interact with different applications seamlessly.
In the context of the Metaverse, Web 3.0 will enable the creation of a truly decentralized virtual world. Rather than being controlled by a single company or organization, the Metaverse will be built on a decentralized infrastructure that is owned and controlled by its users. This will provide a more democratic and inclusive virtual world where everyone can participate and contribute.
The three layers of the Metaverse
The Metaverse is comprised of three distinct layers:
The front-end interfaces. People associate the Metaverse purely with gaming but there is quite a lot happening beyond gaming. For example, Mars House is a 3D digital home which can be experienced in the Metaverse and then also in AR to bring it into the real world. This digital asset was sold for $500,000! And, if so inclined, you could spend similar sums to buy virtual land next to Snoop Dogg. Yes, Snoopverse real estate is available and gives you exclusive access to content curated by Snoop. But Snoop is far from alone as a brand making moves within the Metaverse’s experience layer.
Samsung opened a temporary store in Decentraland. Sotheby’s created a virtual gallery to showcase digital art. Adidas created digital merchandise for a Metaverse gaming world. Union Bank of India opened a Metaverse virtual lounge. The STC Conference itself (from which this blog was produced) may transfer to Metaverse in 2025. It’s not an illusion. Money is changing hands for Metaverse assets and new economies are emerging.
This second layer is supporting and enabling the economy within the Metaverse and its emerging fabric includes the virtual real estate, marketplaces and the crypto wallets.
Virtual real estate notable examples include Decentraland, Otherside and The Sandbox. Indeed, Snoopverse is in The Sandbox. Samsung’s pop-up store was on Decentraland. It’s metaphorically a little like the fabric of the solar system and the planets. If Decentraland was like Earth then The Sandbox would be on Mars, for example.
Marketplaces fuel the economy and provide the platform needed for the creative minds to sell their digital assets as NFTs. NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token in this instance. These NFTs facilitate the selling of digital assets that can be back-traced as if they were physical. There are several marketplaces for NFT trading. For example, OpenSea, RARIBLE NFT Marketplace and SuperRare.
When you wish to buy something in the Metaverse, you need money and you need a wallet. Examples of these include MetaMask, Coinbase, Trust Wallet, Binance and DeFi. Based on blockchain technology, these wallets are used to store crypto currency and make purchases.
The third layer is the hardware or the platform layer where you have the likes of the blockchains such as Ethereum and Solana that actually power the Metaverse world. Not all blockchains as we speak actually support Metaverse. Conversely, Creda blockchain ledger is not in the Metaverse.
Then the hardware is also part of this third layer of Metaverse – for example the VR headsets and goggles.
“The experience is new, the technology is new. The is a lot of uncertainty and nobody has really tried it and that makes it exciting.”
Quality Engineering the Metaverse
The following quality assurance testing methods are already deployable against Web 3.0 technologies.
- Triangulated testing (Hardware – Application – Human interface)
- Green screen testing
- Crowd testing
- Integrated experience testing
- Automated functional testing
- Dapps test automation
- NFT testing
- Crypto wallet integration
- Multichain interaction
- Digital identity validation
- Ground truth data
- Firmware upgrade testing
- Smart contracts and oracles
- Consensus validation
- Disaster recovery testing
The future of the Metaverse
As more time and money is invested into the Metaverse, good governance will be critical to success. The wider Metaverse community is trying to develop protocols with main players including Metaverse Standards Forum and Open Metaverse Alliance 3. Specifically, they are working to ensure the adoption of:
- Interoperability protocols
- Transferrable Metaverse identities
- Cross-platform standards
- Defining and promoting decentralization
Soon, Web 3.0 technologies will allow for the creation of a single virtual economy that can be used across different applications and platforms. This will enable users to buy, sell, and trade virtual assets, such as digital currencies, virtual real estate, and even virtual goods and services. This will open up new opportunities for creators and entrepreneurs, and it will provide a new way for people to earn a living in the digital world. To keep pace, new testing strategies and governance protocols will need to be developed and deployed.
In conclusion, the Metaverse is more than just a game or a social network; it’s a new paradigm for the internet that will have far-reaching implications for everything from e-commerce and advertising to education and healthcare. With the Metaverse, we’ll be able to create new kinds of immersive experiences that we simply can’t achieve with the current iteration of the internet.
For more details, watch Subbiah Muthiah’s keynote speech to the QAI’s virtual Software Testing Conference 2022: