Not only since the Facebook group renamed itself Meta in October 2021 has the subject of metaverse gained holistic importance. Experiences from the corona pandemic have also largely inspired digital applications.
At its core, the Metaverse’s vision describes the transition from “flat” media in 2D, which is primarily limited to what can be seen on a screen, to immersive media experience in 3D, where people increasingly immerse themselves in virtual worlds and virtual content or environments as real. The Metaverse is a persistent and immersive 3D simulated world where several users interact simultaneously to enjoy entertainment, trade cryptocurrencies or work remotely. Actions in the metaverse between different users happen synchronously and in real time, there is interoperability between different applications. With its three-dimensionality, persistence, real-time, and interoperability features, the Metaverse is seen as the “next logical level of the Internet” and the “next big thing”.
The Metaverse is still in the early stages of development. Experts are still divided on whether and how quickly a metaverse will become established. For the most part, however, significant economic and social potential is already being seen in key areas of economic and social life: the world of work is increasingly permeated by the use of augmented reality tools such as VR (Virtual Reality) and AR (Augmented Reality). reality). Reality), so that digital elements (such as artificial worlds) can be linked to real elements (such as users or companies). The “Industrial Metaverse” develops digital twins for process optimization, virtual laboratories, virtual showrooms and global 3D collaborations. In education, human-AI hybrid solutions can combine the strengths of human and artificial intelligence to enable and integrate personalized learning into the learning process. In healthcare, the use of AR and VR can make operations less risky and 3D models can make a major contribution to the visualization of simulations, telepresence training, tracking and health data management.
Further technological development cannot be adequately classified without the importance of gaming technologies and their distribution among the population to the development of a metaverse. Both the analysis of the supply side and the demand side in Germany point to a special role of games before the emergence of the metaverse. The opportunities for a broad technology base in Germany are there: an evaluation of data from the company database crunchbase, which mainly contains young companies and startups, assigns individual industries to the various metaverse levels. The database extraction identifies more than 6,300 listings of companies whose profile offers services for individual levels of the metaverse, most of them at the technical infrastructure level (telecommunications area with 2,646 active companies as well as cloud and edge infrastructure (1,077), but also the field of gaming (510)). At all metaverse levels, there is a distinctly disproportionate share of small businesses. This demonstrates, firstly, the importance of start-ups for technological breakthroughs and, secondly, the viable foundations already laid for major technological developments in Germany. In politics, too, this should be seen as an opportunity much more than before and supported accordingly.