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How metaverse is going to make a big difference in our lives

By Akshara Srivastava
March 20, 2022 16:05 IST
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While movie-viewing in the metaverse is still a work in progress, people have already started going on dates in this parallel 3D universe that is accessed by virtual reality goggles.

However, as the space expands, security concerns too are growing.

Akshara Srivastava reports.

Metaverse

Illustration: Dominic Xavier/Rediff.com

Move over 3D, 4D and 5D.

Cinema is now eyeing the metaverse experience.

On February 15, Bollywood producer Vashu Bhagnani’s production company, Pooja Entertainment, forayed into the metaverse and bought its first piece of virtual land.

The space, called Poojaverse, will be a virtual area where the company will create an immersive experience for moviegoers, starting with BadeMiyan ChoteMiyan, starring Akshay Kumar and Tiger Shroff.

 

Promotional events for the film, slated for release on Christmas 2023, will be held in the metaverse, says the company.

The metaverse might still be in its infancy, but producers like Deepshikha Deshmukh say, “The ecosystem will only grow from here.

"Metaverse will soon be the go-to place for everything virtual related to films.”

While movie-viewing in the metaverse is still a work in progress, people (their digital avatars, actually) have already started going on dates in this parallel 3D universe that is accessed by virtual reality (VR) goggles.

During Valentine’s week, dating app Mingout hosted several dates in the metaverse.

“During (ordinary) virtual dates, many women are reluctant to switch their videos on due to safety concerns.

"A date in the metaverse allows users to engage with people using their avatars, which gives an immersive experience (and a sense of safety),” says Navdeep Kamboj, founder and chief wingperson, Mingout.

The process is like playing a game on your phone, where avatars meet for dates over different settings, like attending a comedy show together and even having a meal together on the moon!

“Visiting a café in the metaverse can reveal qualities of people you wouldn’t know over a simple conversation on video.

"Things like if a person is chivalrous… small things that replicate real life,” says Kamboj.

The platform collaborated with Yugverse, which conducted the first metaverse wedding in India, to use its platform and technology to organise metaverse dates.

February also saw a metaverse wedding with a tech entrepreneur getting married on a beach.

While the couple actually got married in Bhopal, their friends and family were able to join the event by signing up on Yugverse, where they could walk around freely, change their avatars, and even get on the dance floor.

Another couple, from Tamil Nadu, too hosted their wedding reception in the metaverse in February.

The media industry is also exploring the metaverse to host events.

For instance, Litesh Gumber, founder of Cryptic Entertainments, organised a concert in the metaverse on New Year’s day, where pop artiste Sparsh Dangwal performed his songs to a small global audience of 30 people.

“The entertainment industry, especially those doing live shows, has been severely affected by Covid.

"We have seen metaverse concerts abroad, and wanted to do something in India, too.

"This concert was really a product of our curiosity and the need to find a solution for artistes,” says Gumber.

People entered the concert wearing VR goggles, and could cheer and dance as the artiste performed.

While this first concert was free, Gumber says non-fungible tokens (NFTs) could serve as a ticketing mechanism for such events later.

While accessibility to uninterrupted internet and VR goggles — a costly investment — remain a hurdle, Cryptic Entertainment is trying to ease matters.

The company is setting up a metaverse studio in Chandigarh from where artistes can perform wearing a VR headset.

IT services major Tech Mahindra, too, has entered the space with TechMVerse.

In its initial phase, Tech Mahindra will leverage the opportunities presented by the metaverse through various use cases including DealerVerse (metaverse-based car dealership), Middlemist (NFT marketplace), Meta Bank (a virtual bank), and a gaming centre.

However, as the space expands, security concerns too are growing.

Says Kevin Reed, chief information security officer, Acronis, a Switzerland-based cybersecurity firm, “The higher the metaverse adoption rate, the wider-ranging and instant the threats would be.

"Our usage will also erupt on the metaverse: from the current average of 5-6 hours a day, it could shoot up to 10-15 hours a day."

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Akshara Srivastava
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