In his 1992 science fiction novel Snow Crash, author Neal Stephenson used the term ‘metaverse’ to describe a computer-generated virtual place of fantasy where people assemble to play games, socialise and work. It is now coming true.
What Is the Metaverse?
The Metaverse that is being built is envisioned as a fully immersive internet that blends virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and multimedia to let users ‘live’ in a digital universe. We may study, conduct meetings, meet friends, read, play, listen to concerts, and shop in this 3D virtualized world.
The vision is to eventually have a single overarching Metaverse linking many smaller ones - very similar to different websites being linked across a single Internet. People will be able to seamlessly move across metaverses and transfer their avatars and possessions, like travelling to and from different cities within a country. The primary focus will be interactivity and social interaction. Unlike the current Internet, where we are passive users of content, the Metaverse will give us an opportunity to live and breathe like we would in real life.
It will be an immersive universe where users can interact with others in real-time.
What’s the Tech Behind the Metaverse?
The metaverse is being made possible by technologies such as:
- Web 3.0 / Blockchain
- Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)
- Artificial Intelligence (AI)
- 3D Reconstruction
- Internet of Things (IoT)
Which Companies Are at the Forefront of This Tech?
Facebook changed its name to Meta in 2021, signaling its focus on shaping the future of the Metaverse. While Apple is currently working on headsets that could potentially replace our smartphones as the interface into the Metaverse of the future.
Web 3.0’s Link with the Metaverse
A lot of the Metaverse is going to be built on blockchain systems and run by a network of computers around the world.
Web3, or decentralised internet built on blockchain, is one of the biggest revolutions in tech the world has seen. Instead of interacting with the Internet using devices such as computers, smartphones, and tablets, Web3 is where people’s daily lives overlap directly with the Internet. So what we see and do in our lives will have a digital layer superimposed on top of it at all times.
There will still be devices we use to connect with Web3, but those devices will be integrated into our body - at first artificially, such as with glasses and headsets, but later directly, with chips and implants. We are now in a very early stage of Web 3.0.
VR and AR
Devices such as the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Sony Playstation VR headsets allowed people to enter virtual worlds that resembled the real world, transporting them to distant gaming universes. The VR of Web3 is on a different plane. By having graphics and video overlays that are nearly on par with the native resolution of the human eye, Web3 VR devices will mirror real-life in a way such that if you didn’t know you were wearing a headset, you would genuinely believe you were somewhere else.
The need for a headset will soon be replaced by glasses, and eventually, optical contact lenses so that you can visit different places and worlds without ever needing to hold anything in your hands at all.
Augmented Reality (AR), on the other hand, overlaps with your existing environment. Imagine putting on a pair of glasses and being able to dim the sunlight or change the colour of your walls. You haven’t left your current environment, but you are able to change your surroundings dramatically.
How Writers Can Make Money from The Metaverse
- Virtual Bookshelf
If you want to read a book right now, you have three options.
The first option is to purchase a physical book, which will occupy actual space in your house. Of course, the downside to this is that you only have so much space on your bookshelves. Physical books also require you to manually search for content, which is time-consuming and inefficient. Plus, physical books are easily damaged by water, fire, and wear and tear.
The second option, which has been made available by current Web2 technology, is to read a digital book or e-book. E-books are not physical and, as such, don’t require any physical space and cannot be lost or damaged. By using an e-reader such as a Kobo or Amazon Kindle, you can store and access thousands of books, allowing you to take your entire library with you wherever you go.
The final option is to download and listen to a book in audio format, using a service such as Amazon’s Audible.
With Web3 and VR technology, you’ll be able to have what resembles a physical bookshelf in your home or wherever else you are, stocked with all of your favourite e-books. Imagine having a virtual bookshelf in your home that isn’t actually there physically, but looks as though it is there when you use your VR device. You can walk over to your bookshelf, ‘pick up’ what looks like an actual physical book, and flip through it like you would a physical book, but this is neither a physical book nor an e-book - it’s a virtual book.
Writing virtual books and submitting them to virtual libraries that people can access from anywhere will be the endgame. Being able to actually pick up and flip through a physical book while walking through your virtual library halls and still being able to search for specific information by voice, without any of this occupying a single inch in your home.
- Writing Content for VR Applications
The main application of the Metaverse will be virtual experiences, such as travel, gaming and social connectivity. By writing content that VR companies can use inside these experiences, you’ll be able to cash in on an emerging technology that will be in demand until the end of the century and beyond. Writing scripts, dialogue, and virtual signage are only a few of the avenues that will open up to writers as these technologies become widespread among consumers.
- Writing AR Copy
The ad industry will be transformed by AR technology in a way that even Web2 hasn’t managed to attain. Picture walking down the street and having coupons pop up in your field of view for the stores you’re walking past. Being able to view menus for the restaurants you’re near is another obvious example.
Simply put, every company in the world will want AR advertisements, and those ads will require copywriters. This is going to be huge for everyone, especially writers and graphic designers.
- AR / VR Scriptwriting
One of the main components of the Metaverse is your digital/virtual avatar. When people view you in the Metaverse, they will actually see your avatar, which is a virtual version of yourself, and when you are interacting in AR and VR, you will be able to see and interact with the avatars of others. Having pre-programmed scripts for avatars will become a widespread way to advertise. Mascots, animals, aliens - anything you can imagine. People will be able to physically see these creations right in front of their eyes on the street, in their homes, or in your shop, and all of these virtual characters, whether employees or otherwise, will require writers to create their voice and vision.
- Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs)
NFT stands for ‘non-fungible token.’ NFTs are unique digital assets, meaning that every NFT is a ‘one-of-a-kind’ item. NFTs are transferred from person to person using blockchain technology, which essentially creates a digital paper trail that verifies the transaction, encoding unique ownership rights to the new owner of the NFT. You can think of an NFT as being a unique asset such as a piece of art or e-book, for example.
Supercraft will allow independent authors to create NFTs from their books, by which they can make additional revenue from their works. The way it will function is really quite simple.
So, authors who publish traditionally typically receive 10% of the income generated from their book, and the rest goes to the publishing house, printer, retailer and distributor. When Amazon launched its Kindle Direct Publishing program back in 2010, it allowed independent authors to sell their books, both physically and digitally online, while also letting the authors keep up to 70% of the income. The problem is that Amazon KDP requires authors to give exclusive rights to Amazon so that they cannot sell their work elsewhere. However, NFTs reside on the blockchain, whereby the author actually owns the unique NFT and can sell it at any time, and if a reader resells it, the author receives a percentage of that revenue again.
The NFTs can reside alongside the book on the decentralised Supercraft platform or in the Metaverse and be sold and re-sold from there in perpetuity.
To put things in perspective - formats change: books gave rise to e-books, audio books, movies and web series. But the actual process of writing words has forever remained unchanged. Very soon, stories may give life to metaverses. And writers will be at the forefront of that transformation.
To know more, join our waitlist at Supercraft.