Technology Virtual reality: the digital giants are betting on the metaverse, a parallel 3D universe

Virtual reality: the digital giants are betting on the metaverse, a parallel 3D universe

The metaverse is a parallel universe, a three-dimensional digital world, in which we can teleport, with glasses or a virtual reality headset. In the 1990s it was science fiction with a novel, The Virtual Samurai, by Neal Stephenson. And more recently, Steven Spielberg imagined a metaverse in the film Ready Player One.

Today, this cyberspace is within reach, it is even the future of the internet, according to digital players like Marck Zuckerberg. The boss of Facebook is betting everything on the Metaverse: “You can [l’]imagine as an embodied Internet, he explains to the American site The Verge. Instead of just watching the contents, you are inside, you feel the presence of other people with whom you can have experiences that you cannot have with classic apps or web pages, like dancing, for example , says Marck Zuckerberg. The exchanges will be richer, will appear more real to us. “

“In the future, instead of just making a phone call, you can sit on my couch as a hologram or myself as a hologram, I can sit on your couch.”

Mark Zuckerberg

at the American site The Verge

“We can be in the same room, takes over the boss of Facebook, even though we live hundreds of kilometers apart. “

Facebook will now work to bring this metaverse to life. For this the group bought in 2014 a design company of virtual reality headsets, enough to develop a new platform called Horizon. These are virtual worlds where you can play but also work with colleagues by organizing meetings.

Tye Sheridan, in "Ready Player One", by Steven Spielberg.  (WARNER BROS.)

But you don’t have to go to Silicon Valley to find this kind of innovation.

At the association specializing in the promotion of immersive technologies Laval Virtual center, in Mayenne, enthusiasts of virtual worlds put these new technologies at the service of companies. “Virtual worlds will replace a whole lot of things that exist on the Internet today, explains the general manager of the association, Laurent Chrétien. Being embodied in an avatar makes participating in the digital event fully interactive, just like in real life. “

Obviously, with the Covid, confinements and border closures, these programs have experienced renewed interest. At the Laval virtual center, Ophélie organizes virtual seminars for companies or associations. “We are preparing a pan-African event with exhibitors and a conference and workshop section”, she describes.

“All the participants, all the speakers, all the organizers, everyone is represented by an avatar and therefore will move in a universe between the different rooms.”

“In 2020, continues Laurent Chrétien, it was the first time that we used a virtual world for ourselves. There were over a thousand simultaneous avatars that were present on the platform. People gathered in the evening, at the end of the conferences, on the beach and people all went to bathe. We were in the midst of Covid, and it had been a month since people left their homes: the reflex was to go swimming fully clothed in a virtual world and to chat with the people who were around. “

For the moment, these universes resemble the video games that we already know. Before arriving at the metaverse promoted by science fiction, many innovations are therefore still to be carried out, in particular on these famous virtual reality headsets which are not yet really comfortable. In any case, some believe in it and are already buying or reselling virtual land.

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