Online shopping, at present, gives us 2-D images to choose from. Retail in the Metaverse is going to allow us to see the product in use—to test the product—virtually. Our avatars will depict our exact measurements and be able to try on clothes without the need for us to leave our homes. We’ll be able to grab that tool and give it a whirl before we calculate shipping cost.
With all of these consumer experiences in mind, think about architecture as we know it. Then, whatever you have in mind, try your best to let that go.
Design in the real world is limited. It’s limited to gravity, has to meet codes, must consider cost of materials, human space requirements, etc. But, design in the Metaverse? The possibilities are endless.
Of course, in a consumer market, developers are going to be aiming for something lucrative. Ad space is everywhere, but now, we don’t have to print the poster, or put up the billboard. Instead, we put in the code to have these things displayed in a virtual space. Brick and mortar is no longer needed to create a virtual storefront. Nothing is stagnant, and I’m not just referring to animation. A storefront display can change day by day, hour by hour, or even minute by minute. Most likely, it will be targeted depending on the audience viewing it.
While some sort of boundary or enclosure needs to exist for a “space” to be perceived, the flow of a virtual crowd requires no actual space in the Metaverse. So long as the images we want to be viewed are present, they can be viewed by whoever, whenever, and simultaneously “alongside” countless others with no health and safety regulations to uphold—an especially attractive notion in the age of Covid-19.
In my mind, the most exciting element at hand is the capability of the user to control their own experience. With the click of a mouse or a button, the movement of a limb or finger, or even a blink of an eye, they can alter what they see, what they hear, their environment in its entirety. It moves design from a one size fits most model to a choose your own adventure story.
There’s certainty that virtual environments will become more and more a part of life as we know it. At X-Identity, most of our team members have architectural backgrounds but, taking stock, we work almost exclusively in digital format. As virtual environments gain traction, we want to make sure we’re ready to create experiences that leave an impression on viewers in both real and virtual spaces.