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Jobs, weddings  make  a  splash  in  metaverse



The resume opens up on a person’s browser and while prima facie it appears to be a regular document, it prompts the user to click on various parts to learn more about the applicant. A tiny avatar walks across the page as you click on it. Walking to certain sections leads to a YouTube pop-up of Flood reading out the information in that section. One, of course, has the option of reading the resume the traditional way.

Flood’s creativity landed him the job, and he described this metaverse experience on LinkedIn on 20 January.

There are lessons there: The metaverse is a virtual world that people can enter using virtual, augmented or mixed reality technologies. It allows people to interact, play, buy property, do many more—even hold weddings.

On 11 January, for instance, Chennai-based Dinesh Kshatriyan tweeted that he and his fiancee had decided to adopt a virtual experience for their upcoming wedding reception, given the covid-led curbs.

While the actual wedding ceremony is an intimate real-world affair at his fiancee’s village, the reception would be held in a virtual Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from the Harry Potter universe. Instead of attending a physical event, guests will appear as virtual avatars through a website. Kshatriyan said he collaborated with cryptocurrency and blockchain startup Polygon and a Chennai-based mixed reality technology startup Tardiverse.

While the wedding was covered as the “first metaverse marriage” in India, the IIT Madras project associate is hardly the first to dabble in metaverse-focused products in India.

Dheeraj Shah, a web3 content creator, has been investing time and money in apps and games created around the metaverse concept since 2019. He said the number of Indian users in games like Decentraland, which are often touted as the first steps into the future metaverse, has grown as well. Shah added that an influx of users from India into these products was seen in October 2021 after Facebook rebranded itself as Meta, and in January 2021, after digital artist Beeple sold an artwork via non-fungible tokens (NFTs) for $69 million.

However, Shah noted that while many Indians have joined these platforms, they’re not necessarily “engaging” with them. This could mean one of two things — either that people in India are buying up the cryptocurrencies and NFTs associated with metaverse apps and waiting for their price to appreciate so they can be sold, or that they joined the games and didn’t find them interesting enough to spend more time.

Regardless, users and companies overseas have been making future monetary decisions based on such interactions. On 1 December, for instance, a company called Metaverse Group, which calls itself a virtual real estate company, spent about $4.2 million to buy virtual land inside Decentraland.

Second Life, which was a craze more than a decade ago but has lost its sheen over the years, is looking to make a return as well, with founder Philip Rosedale rejoining the project as a strategic adviser earlier this month, while virtual reality (VR) firm High Fidelity said it would invest in Second Life in cash and through “distributed computing patents”.

Moreover, Decentraland, The Sandbox, and Roblox are some popular names for games that are designed around the metaverse concept.

Facebook rechristened itself as Meta to become relevant to the metaverse world’s users.

Not to be left behind, Microsoft, which acquired game publisher Activision earlier this week, is expected to build more such worlds in future. Many already regard Microsoft’s Minecraft as a premiere metaverse game.

Many have also pointed out that the so-called metaverse weddings and games are actually nothing more than virtual worlds explored in products like Second Life as far back as in 2003.

Decentraland, for instance, runs within web browsers such as Google Chrome and has graphics akin to those seen in very old hand-held video games consoles.

On the other hand, the concept of a metaverse imagined in science fiction movies like Ready Player One, is supposed to allow everyone to interact within one virtual world, which has its own economies, commerce and more.

And that ideal metaverse may be a long way away right now.

“We need several orders of magnitude, more powerful computing capability, accessible at much lower latencies across a multitude of device form factors. To enable these capabilities at scale, the entire plumbing of the internet will need major upgrades,” Raja Koduri, senior vice-president and general manager of accelerated computing systems and graphics group at Intel, said in a blog post on 14 December.

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