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From resumes to weddings, people are lapping up the metaverse

From resumes to weddings, people are lapping up the metaverse
21 Jan, 2022
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Canada-based sales representative, Daniel Flood, is unlike most job seekers. When he decided to apply for a sales position at a metaverse-focused company called Topia.io, he did not use a traditional resume but instead used Topia's own platform to build a resume that allows viewers to virtually walk around it and inspect it, instead of just reading it.

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 small YouTube pop-up of Flood reading out the information in that section. One can, of course, has the option of reading the resume the traditional way as well.

Flood's creativity landed him the job, and he described this metaverse experience on professional networking site LinkedIn on 20 January.

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The metaverse is a virtual world that people can enter using virtual, augmented or mixed reality technologies. The world itself allows people to interact with each other, play games, buy property, do many more activities, and even hold weddings.

On January 11, for instance, Chennai-based Dinesh Kshatriyan tweeted that he and his fiance had decided to adopt a virtual experience for the reception of their upcoming wedding, given the restrictions state governments have imposed to to stem the spread of the omicron variant.

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

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While Kshatriyan’s wedding was widely covered as the “first metaverse marriage” in India, the IIT Madras project associate is hardly the first person to dabble in metaverse-focused products out of here.

As an example, Dheeraj Shah, a web3 content creator, has been investing time and money in apps and games created around the metaverse concept since 2019 now. 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 201, after Facebook rebranded itself to Meta, and in January 2021 after digital artist Beeple sold an artwork via non-fungible tokens (NFTs) at a whopping $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 on.

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Regardless, users and companies overseas have been making future monetary decisions based on such interactions. On December 1, for instance, a company called Metaver 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 back but had lost its sheen over the years, itself 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 to 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 metaverse games are actually nothing no more than virtual worlds explored in products like Second Life as far back as in 2003. Decentraland, for instance, runs within web browsers like Google Chrome and has graphics akin to those seen in very old handheld video games consoles. On the other hand, the concept of a metaverse imagined in science fiction movies like Ready Player One, are 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.

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“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 December 14.