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What actually is the metaverse?

May 20, 2024

Callum Moates

The metaverse is an extensively scaled, interoperable, three-dimensional virtual space that users can experience synchronously. It leverages advanced technologies like decentralized networks, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and blockchain to offer immersive, interactive experiences. In the 3D internet, users can interact with digital environments and other users in real-time, transforming social interactions, work, education, entertainment, and commerce by seamlessly blending digital and physical experiences. Its significance lies in its potential to create new economic opportunities, redefine digital presence and identity, and transform industries by providing immersive, engaging environments.

Originating in science fiction, notably popularized by Neal Stephenson's 1992 novel "Snow Crash," the metaverse concept has evolved significantly. Early virtual worlds like Second Life, Roblox, and Fortnite laid the foundation for today's metaverse by creating a 3D space to socialize and play. Modern advancements in blockchain have propelled it into reality, with major companies like Meta (formerly Facebook), Google, and Microsoft investing heavily in its development. The rise of NFTs (non-fungible tokens) has further solidified the economic foundations of the 3D internet, enabling unique digital ownership. As a rapidly evolving digital ecosystem, the metaverse is set to redefine human interaction and digital economies, integrating with technologies like AI and IoT to create a multi-trillion-dollar industry.

The technology behind the metaverse

The metaverse's backbone is built on cutting-edge technologies, including advanced rendering engines, spatial computing, blockchain, and decentralized networks. 

  • Game engines: Advanced rendering engines like Unreal Engine and Unity create high-quality, realistic 3D graphics using sophisticated algorithms such as ray tracing and global illumination. 

  • Spatial computing: This technology integrates VR, AR, and mixed reality (MR) to enable natural interactions within digital spaces by mapping physical environments and tracking user movements. For instance, Apple's Vision Pro redefines spatial computing with its visionOS platform. It makes 3D immersive experiences natural and intuitive by understanding the environment around a user and allowing them to control environments with their eyes, hands, and voice.

  • Decentralized networks: Decentralized computing, edge computing, blockchain technology, and other peer-to-peer technologies provide the scalability, resilience, and openness needed to support millions of concurrent users and complex virtual environments. They do this by providing high bandwidth, low-latency capabilities, and cure data storage methods. These networks democratize access, foster innovation, and ensure the metaverse remains open and resistant to single points of failure. 

  • Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR): AR overlays digital content onto the real world, blending physical and virtual experiences, while VR, on the other hand, immerses users entirely in a computer-generated environment, blocking out the physical world and creating an entirely virtual experience. These technologies expand the possibilities for interaction, creativity, and connectivity within the metaverse and hold the potential to transform education, training, retail, and entertainment in the 3D internet.

Neon motherboard with glowing lock icon

Examples of metaverse companies


Landvault is a pioneering force in developing and expanding the metaverse, providing cutting-edge infrastructure and tools designed to simplify the creation, deployment, and monetization of virtual content. Its tool 'Landvault Create' offers creators a no-code AI assistant designed to turn ideas into immersive 3D assets and experiences quickly and easily. The platform also supports popular game engines like Unity and Unreal through dedicated SDKs, simplifying the creation process. They aim to build a richer, fairer internet through the 'Open Metaverse' by enabling users to bring their creative visions to life within 3D worlds quickly. Landvault has made significant strides in the 3D internet industry, assisting over 200 clients, including Fortune 500 companies and government organizations like the Abu Dhabi government, Mastercard, Red Bull, and Heineken. The company's innovative approach and reliable tools have enabled enterprises to 


Meta, formerly known as Facebook, envisions the metaverse as a fully immersive and interconnected digital world where people can socialize, work, and play. Meta's initiatives include developing advanced virtual reality platforms and headsets like Oculus, which provide users with immersive VR experiences. The tech giant has also built Horizon Worlds and Horizon Workrooms, 3D virtual spaces for social interaction and collaboration. According to a publication by The Motley Fool, Meta has invested $46 billion in the metaverse since 2021. The tech company continues to invest in developing digital avatars, allowing users to express themselves and interact with others through customizable, lifelike virtual representations. Meta's vision is to create a unified metaverse that enhances human connection and digital experiences across various facets of life.

Epic Games

Epic Games plays a crucial role in the 3D internet ecosystem through its advanced rendering engine, Unreal Engine, and leading game, Fortnite. Unreal Engine is a powerful game development tool that creates high-quality, immersive virtual experiences across various industries, including gaming, film, and architecture. Its advanced rendering capabilities and real-time 3D creation tools make it essential for developing the metaverse. Fortnite, Epic Games' popular online game, is a social and entertainment platform where users can engage in virtual events, socialize, and create content. The platform encourages user-generated content (UGC) and has focused on giving creators in the Fortnite title more control through advanced tools and deeper mechanics. The platform also plans to give creators 40% of all Fortnite revenue. At the beginning of 2024, Epic Games reached another major milestone, with Disney investing $1.5 billion in the game developer to build an open and expansive gaming and entertainment universe.


Roblox is a platform that empowers users to create and monetize their own virtual experiences within its metaverse. It provides a user-friendly development environment where creators can design games, simulations, and interactive experiences. Roblox's extensive library of user-generated content fosters a vibrant community where players can explore various virtual worlds. Roblox makes it easy for users to create content through its intuitive tools, such as Roblox Studio, which provides a comprehensive suite of building and scripting tools to build 3D models and terrains. The Roblox Developer Hub also offers tutorials and resources to help users bring their creations to life. The platform's virtual economy allows developers to earn revenue from their creations sold on the marketplace or through experiences built, incentivizing innovation and creativity. As of 2023, Roblox sold 1.6 billion virtual goods on its platform and had more than 3.2 billion virtual transactions in 2022, proving that the Roblox marketplace is thriving. Roblox's emphasis on social interaction and collaborative experiences makes it a dynamic and accessible entry point into the 3D internet for creators and users.

Unity Technologies

Unity Technologies is renowned for its versatile game engine and development tools, which are widely used in creating virtual worlds, simulations, and interactive experiences within the metaverse. Some of its popular tools include Unity Editor, a comprehensive, integrated development environment (IDE) for game building; Unity Asset Store, a marketplace for pre-built assets; and Unity Reflect, for real-time 3D visualization and collaboration. Unity's real-time 3D platform enables developers to build high-quality, immersive content across various devices, including VR and AR headsets, mobile phones, and desktops. Unity's commitment to democratizing content creation ensures that developers of all skill levels can contribute to the growth and richness of the metaverse.

Use cases of the metaverse 


The metaverse can transform the sports industry by creating immersive virtual stadiums where fans can watch live games, interact with players, and engage with other fans globally. These virtual environments can provide enhanced viewing experiences with multiple camera angles, real-time stats, and interactive features. For instance, the NBA has experimented with VR by offering virtual courtside game seats, allowing fans to experience the action as if they were physically present. 


Tourism in the metaverse allows users to explore destinations and landmarks from the comfort of their homes. Virtual tours can provide detailed and immersive experiences, showcasing historical sites, natural wonders, and cultural attractions. For example, Google Earth VR allows users to visit locations around the globe virtually, providing a realistic sense of scale and presence. Similarly, platforms like Wander enable users to explore famous landmarks like the Louvre and remote destinations like the abandoned remnants of Chernobyl in virtual reality, making tourism more accessible and interactive.

Real Estate

The 3D internet can significantly impact the real estate industry by enabling virtual property tours, allowing potential buyers to explore properties in 3D before purchasing. This technology can save time and resources by providing detailed and immersive previews of homes and commercial spaces. Platforms like Matterport and Zillow create digital twins of physical properties, offering interactive 3D models that buyers can view from anywhere in the world. Real estate companies also leverage VR to stage properties virtually, helping buyers visualize how spaces can be furnished and customized. 

People are also using metaverse platforms like Decentraland and Cryptovoxels to purchase digital plots of land. Companies, property developers, and individuals can buy pieces of the digital estate, build them up, and then sell or rent them out to other users and brands for virtual events or store spaces. One of the highest-selling plots of land on Decentraland made $2.4 million, highlighting the space's potential.

Urban Development

The metaverse can be a powerful tool for urban development, allowing planners and architects to create and visualize detailed 3D models of proposed projects. These virtual environments can facilitate collaboration among stakeholders, enabling them to explore and modify designs in real time. Cities like Rome, Seoul, and Tampere are already deploying metaverse technology to improve city planning, optimize infrastructure, and facilitate administration. 3D internet and virtual reality platforms can also engage the public in urban development projects, gathering feedback and fostering community involvement. For instance, New Jersey used the metaverse to help citizens visualize development projects while they were in the planning stage.

Marketing and Ecommerce

The 3D internet offers innovative opportunities for marketing and ecommerce by creating immersive shopping experiences and interactive brand engagements. Brands can establish virtual storefronts and showrooms, allowing customers to explore products in 3D and make purchases directly within the metaverse. For example, Gucci has created a virtual store on the Roblox platform, where users can purchase digital items for their avatars. Other brands like Samsung used the 3D internet platform Decentraland to host a virtual event and product launch, providing a unique and engaging way to connect with their audience.

A table with a holographic garden

Looking into the future

  • Hardware Improvements: The continuous evolution of VR and AR hardware will make these devices more affordable, lightweight, and user-friendly, becoming an easy way to access the metaverse. Companies like Meta are working on next-generation VR headsets that offer improved graphics, longer battery life, and greater comfort. KPMG states that in the next five years, we could see more consumers and businesses adopting AR and VR tools, which could be more pervasive than phones in the next ten years.

  • Increased connectivity and computing power: The rollout of 5G networks and edge computing will enable faster data transfer rates and lower latency, which are critical for seamless metaverse experiences in real time. These technological improvements and the affordability of 5G networks will allow more users to experience the metaverse. 

  • Mainstream acceptance: The metaverse will attract a broader audience, extending beyond early adopters and tech enthusiasts to businesses, educational institutions, and casual users. According to Bloomberg Intelligence, the global metaverse market is projected to grow from $46 billion in 2020 to $800 billion by 2024, reflecting its mainstream acceptance and economic potential. A KPMG publication states that by 2030, we could be spending more time in the metaverse than in the real world. 

  • Metaverse across industries: The next ten years will also see industries such as higher education, manufacturing, and healthcare adopt metaverse technologies to facilitate new ways of working, training, collaboration, and improving efficiency. The power and reach of the 3D internet will make it the perfect place for businesses and governments to share information, offer services, and work together.

  • Virtual commerce: The metaverse will create new opportunities for virtual commerce from digital goods, fashion, and real estate. Every year, the amount spent on virtual goods is approximately $54 billion, as per JPMorgan, and this is expected to grow as more brands enter the 3D internet. Businesses will establish virtual storefronts and marketplaces, enabling consumers to explore products in 3D and make purchases directly within the metaverse. As more companies look to create economic opportunities in the metaverse, it could result in a $3 trillion contribution to global GDP by 2031, as per Bloomberg.

May 20, 2024

Callum Moates

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About Landvault

Landvault is building infrastructure to accelerate the metaverse economy, by building tools to create, deploy and monetize content. The company has helped over 200 clients enter the metaverse, including both Fortune 500 companies and government organizations like the Abu Dhabi government, Mastercard, L’Oreal, Red Bull, and Heineken. The company has raised a total of $40m over the past three years and continues to pioneer technological advancements.

We build infrastructure for the 3D internet,
to create a richer, fairer internet.

Copyright ©️ 2023

Landvault · Wam Group

All rights reserved


We build infrastructure for the 3D internet,
to create a richer, fairer internet.

Copyright ©️ 2023 · Landvault · Wam Group · All rights reserved


We build infrastructure for the 3D internet,
to create a richer, fairer internet.

Copyright ©️ 2023 · Landvault · Wam Group · All rights reserved