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What is the metaverse and how will it affect South Africans?

The metaverse is an online world based in virtual reality. In this computer-generated environment, users from different countries can interact with one another. However, it’s not just people who enter the metaverse; it’s home to artificially intelligent (AI) virtual beings as well.

So what exactly is the metaverse? In essence, it’s a 3D landscape where virtual and real worlds intersect. Users can engage with one another and carry out many of the same tasks they would in the real world using real-time software. The metaverse attracts programmers, gamers and anyone eager for fresh opportunities to network and make money. 

The metaverse is a virtual space to meet new people

It’s easy to make new friends in the metaverse. This might be appealing to people who reside in remote locations with few opportunities for socialisation. For those with disabilities or those who simply do not feel they belong in mainstream society, it can open up a whole new world.

Users can play games in this digital environment in addition to socialising and attending virtual events. This is currently one of the most common ways in which people interact with one another in the metaverse. Users are able to build their own virtual reality worlds where they can socialise with others. These worlds can also be utilised by gamers to play with multiple other people. 

Self-expression in the metaverse

The ability to express yourself in a way that you might not be able to in real life is one of the main appeals of the metaverse. You can customise your avatar’s gender, body type, hair colour and wardrobe to make it more accurately reflect who you want to be in that world.

You can accomplish a lot of things in the metaverse that you might never do in the real world. The most popular activity people would engage in, according to a survey released in July 2022, is taking up an extreme sport. In this virtual world, 38% of respondents stated they would try bungee jumping, skydiving or paragliding.

A concerning number of respondents – nearly 20% – claimed they would watch virtual gladiators battle to the death in the metaverse and 18% said they would experiment on virtual people. This digital world allows us to explore certain aspects of social life in a safe way; our only limit is our imagination!

It makes South Africans more globally connected

South Africans have access to international events, products and services via the metaverse. Celebrities like Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber and BTS (a South Korean boy band) have been making appearances on virtual entertainment platforms like Roblox, Minecraft and Fortnite. Users can also attend virtual concerts.

South Africans have access to virtual art galleries and exhibition spaces thanks to this digital world. The metaverse has evolved into a place where non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, can be used to view and purchase virtual artwork. This cryptocurrency functions in the metaverse as a form of currency and is based on blockchain technology.

South Africans can generate income from the metaverse

South Africans have many wonderful opportunities to invest, engage in e-commerce, and make money in the metaverse. Digital assets can be produced and sold by users. The software is largely intuitive, so they don’t need any specialised skills or experience.

A fantastic way to participate in the metaverse economy is by creating your own assets. However, there are additional jobs including tour guiding, assisting new users, organising events and offering e-learning and training programs. With these jobs, you can earn real money through cryptocurrencies.

There are numerous virtual stores where users can browse, try on items and make purchases using cryptocurrencies. Users have the option of ordering real-world goods that are delivered to their real-life residences or purchasing virtual items for their metaverse avatars.

Crypto tokens can be used to purchase real estate. After purchasing property, you have the option of renting it out to a VR event organiser or selling it to a property developer. You can earn money from your metaverse assets in this way. For South Africans who want to expand their investment portfolios to include emerging digital products and services, there are a number of investment opportunities.

The metaverse is growing

The metaverse is still very much in development and is growing over time. Advances in virtual and augmented reality are paving the way for the expansion of metaverse technologies.

The main company responsible for its development is Meta (previously Facebook), but several other companies are engaged in building metaverse environments on various platforms. These include Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Roblox Corporation and Snapchat. It is predicted that it will be an $800-billion market by 2024 – an indication of the scale of these upcoming tech platforms.

How to access the metaverse

Many different metaverse games are hugely popular all around the world. Millions of gamers currently play Roblox and Fortnite. More and more virtual worlds are being added to the metaverse and many of them require some sort of membership or subscription to enter.

A fast internet connection with stable upload and download speeds is required to access this world. You can still enjoy an entirely immersive experience without a VR headset, though it undoubtedly improves it. Ping has to be as low as possible to make the most of your time in the metaverse.

Fibre internet is the most viable connection for the metaverse. With fibre, you can enjoy a high-quality experience without having your computer screen freeze or get kicked from these virtual worlds. You’ll need to upgrade to fibre if your internet isn’t up to par.

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Written by Taryn Hill

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