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  • 작성자 사진Je Hee-su

[Information Technology] A Virtual World More Vibrant than Reality: Metaverse

No. 152 / Jun 7, 2021

In a recent survey of platforms that the United States (U.S.) teenagers spend the most time on, Metaverse-based mobile game Roblox topped the list. Indeed, approximately 55% of American teenagers and children under the age of 16 are Roblox members. They also spend 2.5 times more time on that platform than on YouTube. Roblox is a Three-Dimensional (3D) virtual world composed of blocks. Individuals create their own avatars and work in that world. Moreover, users can create and distribute games. Just by downloading the Roblox, one can enjoy more than 55 million games, as well as use of its social media function. The application is similar to YouTube, in that it is a direct producer and distributer of content. Still, it is deemed more of Social Network Service (SNS) because it can be used to communicate with friends. Now, Roblox is expanding beyond game and SNS functions to become the most notable Metaverse.

Metaverse is a portmanteau word: combining meta, which means virtual, and universe, which means the world. The term used to refer to a virtual world that can coexist in both reality and unreality and is used in various contexts, such as politics, economics, the study of societies and cultures. The Acceleration Studies Foundation (ASF), a non-profit technology research organization, recognizes four types of Metaverses: augmented reality, life logging, the mirror world, and the virtual world. Augmented reality refers to an environment in which virtual 2D or 3D objects overlap and interact in real space. A typical example is Pokémon Go. Life logging involves recording the everyday information of people and objects using augmented technology, such as the Apple and Galaxy watches. Though virtual, the mirror world reflects the real world. However, it also enhances it in terms of information. To this end, Virtual Map and the Global Positioning System (GPS) technologies are used, and Google Earth is a typical example. Finally, the virtual world is built from digital data, and an avatar (which reflects the user’s ego) interacts with the world. Typical examples include the aforementioned Roblox, as well as Minecraft and Zepeto.

The Metaverse has drawn increased attention as offline activities decreased in the aftermath of COVID-19. Moreover, Metaverses avails new avenues for communication in that they are distinctly personal but communicate and share experiences as if they were together. In March, SK Telecom, a telecommunications company, collaborated with Soonchunhyang University to hold a Metaverse entrance ceremony. Students participated by turning on the application and decorating their avatars, and the entrance ceremony itself involved a self-introduction on the part of students and a speech from the university president. Additionally, in May, the DGB Financial Group held a management meeting using the Metaverse platform, Zepeto. Many Information Technology (IT) companies are now expanding the scope of Metaverse to include various aspects of everyday life. Thus, there is an expectation of continued interest in the ways in which the Metaverse will be used in all areas, including hobby and work.

 

By Je Hee-su, AG Senior Editor

xsma@ajou.ac.kr

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