What tech companies like Apple, Meta and Unity doing in the metaverse ?
Over the past few years, there has been significant interest in the metaverse, a 3D space where users can interact with each other. Although the concept’s nature remains somewhat unclear, companies are exploring its potential and finding new ways to attract consumers. In this article, we are going to explore what the world’s biggest tech companies are doing in the metaverse.
Apple has also joined the metaverse bandwagon by announcing its plan to launch an AR/VR headset tentatively titled as Reality Pro. This news comes as a surprise since Tim Cook, CEO, Apple mentioned last year that the metaverse concept is still ambiguous and hypothetical.
According to Mark Gurman newsletter “Power On”, Apple is also working on its MR headset’s operating system RealityOS, which may include mixed reality versions of Apple’s core apps FaceTime, Messages and Maps. According to the newsletter, Apple is seeking to hire a software producer with experience in visual effects to create content for AR and VR environments.
While Epic has already experimented with its open-world video game Fortnite to host music concerts and movie screenings, it has also partnered with Lego to build an immersive and playful metaverse for kids.
Additionally, Epic Games CEO, Tim Sweeney announced last year that he wants games and film studios to use Epic’s unreal engine tools to create the metaverse with practical applications such as interactions with friends. Moreover, during the GDC 2023, Epic Games released their Unreal editor which empowers creators to build immersive experiences and publish directly into Fortnite.
To make metaverse experiences as real as possible, Epic recently announced the MetaHuman Animator features that would allow developers to integrate real life expressions on MetaHuman characters.
Video game software development company Unity Technology has been playing a pivotal role in shaping the metaverse by providing developers with various tools to create games, experiences and spaces in the metaverse.
Unity game engine provides the developers to incorporate readymade assets or develop new 3D models, texture, animations and other assets to make the metaverse vibrant. Furthermore, it helps them to build immersive and interactive virtual worlds, including the terrain, objects, and interactions which are available to users.
There are many metaverses that are currently using unity gaming engine as it provides robust tools for creating 3D environments such as VR chat, Decentraland, Somnium Space to name a few.
Google has been making various strides towards metaverse technologies such as the acquisition of MicroLED startup Raxium to build a potential AR headset.
Moreover, Google is currently working on Google Iris and Starline Project. Project Iris deals with the development of thin AR glasses to provide incredible visuals, whereas Project Starline aims at developing borderless connectivity through realistic video calls.
Additionally, Google partnered with Coinbase to allow customers to pay for its Google cloud services using selected cryptocurrencies. As per the news, Google has invested more than $1.5 Billion in crypto companies.
Samsung launched an immersive metaverse experience called the ‘Samsung 837x’ in Decentraland. Users can embark on a journey to earn exclusive NFTs and unique wearables by completing competitions.
To visit the virtual store, users have to connect to Decentraland and play using a blockchain wallet or a guest. Once online, players can select the Samsung 837x store and their avatar will drop just outside the showroom.
According to the latest news, Samsung is stepping up its metaverse game by announcing that it will be spending $35 million towards Latin-America focused metaverse initiatives.
Adobe is fuelling the metaverse ecosystem by launching new integrations and software that can help brands create metaverse experiences for their target audiences. During the Adobe Summit, the company announced 3D and Augmented Reality tools including Substance 3D and Behaviour builder to enable a natural approach to 3D modeling.
Apart from that Adobe’s Aero tool has been assisting developers to create immersive storytelling experiences without prior knowledge or need for coding or specialized AR software. The Aero software can be used across various industries from retail and architecture to museum and automotive.
Additionally, Adobe has also launched a metaverse playbook for brands and industries to enlighten them about immersive experiences and how Adobe AR/VR tools can benefit them in incorporating digital experiences.
Nvidia, a semiconductor company, has been aggressively developing and testing tools to support and grow the metaverse economy. Nvidia’s Omniverse platform is a prime example of that as it allows developers to use different tools to create immersive digital twins and collaborate with different teams in a virtual environment.
Since the Omniverse suite is based on Nvidia’s RTX technology, which enables real time ray-tracing, it means brands can create hyper-realistic immersive environments similar to real-world, which can be used for education, training or entertainment.
Nvidia believes that the Metaverse without human-like representation will be monotonous. To overcome the challenge, Nvidia introduced Omniverse Avatar cloud engine to allow users to create digital humans who can act as virtual assistants.
The term metaverse gained attention when in 2021 Facebook changed its brand name to ‘Meta’. Prior to the rebranding, Meta had launched a massive multiplayer virtual world, Facebook Horizon where players can build their own games, play and socialize with friends.
Meta started experimenting with NFT last year, however, it recently made an announcement that it will wind up the digital collectibles and look for other ways to support content creators and businesses.
In addition to the consumer-focused metaverse, Meta has also been emphasizing its vision of a business-oriented metaverse through the Horizon Workroom, which allows teams to collaborate in a virtual space. It features various tools like spatial audio, customizable avatars and environments to make meetings real and effective.
When it comes to the metaverse, Microsoft has been cautiously optimistic about the concept as the company recently laid off more than 100 employees from the ‘Industrial Metaverse’ that would have redefined how workers work at factory floors and boost their productivity. Furthermore, last month, Microsoft also shut down its social VR platform AltspaceVR.
However, it is continuing to work on the development of various software and hardware under its mixed reality division which includes collaboration platform mesh, azure digital twin and hololens.
In conclusion, the biggest tech companies are investing heavily towards the metaverse projects. As more and more research and development activities take place, we will see new ways in which people will interact with each other in the new era of the internet.