I write a lot about the metaverse, virtual reality, augmented reality, web3 and other future developments in the internet. And there is one underlying message that is very clear: as the internet becomes more immersive, the boundaries between the physical world around us and the virtual world are becoming increasingly blurred. So much so that the activities we regularly do in the physical world – even activities we think are out of line – are now incorporating an immersive element. Here are five examples.
Now you can earn sleep
You might think that nothing is more offline than sleep. But you would be wrong. Because the internet is creeping into our real life.
You may have heard of “play to earn” gambling. Well, now you can earn sleep. Sleep City’s metaverse ecosystem and app is centered around the idea of earning money while you sleep. Simply turn on the app before you go to bed and earn crypto while catching ZZZs, with the help of NFT pillows and the app’s SCT crypto token. What is an NFT pillow, you ask? Think of it as an in-game accessory like you’d find in Fortnite and you’ve got the right idea. Users can buy, sell or rent pillows on the app’s market (there are different types of pillows, with different features). And the more an individual participates in the ecosystem – by, say, upgrading their NFT pillows over time – the more rewards they earn while they sleep.
There is another interesting intersection between sleep and the metaverse: the use of VR to improve sleep. Research shows that for those who struggle to sleep, relaxing VR simulations can aid in the process of falling asleep and improve sleep quality.
Working out in the metaverse
Can’t be bothered to go to a physical brick and mortar gym? But also struggle to motivate yourself to work out at home? Now you can exercise at home, while still enjoying the benefits of going to the gym – like socializing with others, or getting advice and motivation from a personal trainer.
In fact, we already have metaverse gyms. There’s the aptly named MetaGym, which has virtual trainers to guide you through your workout. Another example, Gympact, even rewards users for working out, with points that can be spent on avatar goodies, like clothes.
But how does metaverse workout work, anyway? Generally, you would access the metaverse gym through a VR headset. You create an avatar to represent you in virtual space. And you can choose from a variety of exercises and locations – such as working out surrounded by mountains or near a beautiful lake. In theory, you can have a whole range of metric intervals, representing whatever you’re doing in real life – running on a treadmill, riding a stationary bike, rowing on your rowing machine, lifting weights, doing yoga, you name it. In the metaverse, there will be practice to suit your preferences, whatever they may be. You can also meet friends in your virtual gym.
What about eating out or ordering takeaway?
People think I’m crazy when I talk about metaverse restaurants, but listen up. Because this is already happening. McDonalds, for example, is planning to create virtual restaurants – true, you won’t be able to eat a Big Mac there, but you will be able to hang out and order food to be delivered to your home (the real world).
Metaverse technologies may also change the real-world dining experience. With VR and AR, the dining experience can be enhanced in a way that enhances the food we are eating – for example, by transporting us to the majestic forests where we foraged for the wild mushrooms in our mushroom risotto.
Such immersive food experiences are already available. The most famous can be found at Sublimotion, which opened on the Spanish island of Ibiza in 2014. (A second Sublimotion restaurant has since opened in Dubai.) Sublimotion is the most expensive restaurant in the world, with meals coming in at more than $2,000 each, but it’s an immersive, multi-sensory, theatrical experience that combines a 20-piece fine art menu and menu. 360-degree digital screens surround the diners and change during the meal, so that each course has its own immersive element. Images can be projected onto every surface in the dining room, including the 12-seater dining table.
Imagine the future possibilities, as VR and AR hardware becomes smaller, lighter, and more accessible. Not only will we be able to enjoy experiences related to the food we eat, we could also choose our own restaurant environment.
Going on VR dates
VR could revolutionize the experience of dating online or maintaining a long-distance relationship because, on the other hand, two people can share a virtual experience, even if they are thousands of miles apart. So VR provides a low-cost – and low-risk – way to meet new people and explore potential love matches. All you need is a VR headset and a dating app that supports virtual experiences.
In fact, some dating apps are already starting to incorporate a VR feature, and I expect more to try their own VR experiences in the near future. In one example, the dating app League used VR to provide a “virtual blind date party”. But there’s also Planet Theta, which describes itself as the world’s first VR dating app, where users can meet new people and enjoy immersive experiences like going on a romantic forest walk. Other examples of VR dating services include Nevermet, Flirtual and Lonely Hearts Dating Agency Second Life.
I mean, why shouldn’t we go on dates in the metaverse? After all, people already play immersive video games and attend virtual concerts. Going on a date isn’t such a big leap. Plus, on a virtual date, we could go anywhere and be anything we wanted. VR dating is also emerging as a safe way for people to experiment with their gender expression and sexual identity.
Sex and the metaverse
Of course, metaverse technologies offer a way to explore sexuality safely, through hyperreal experiences. This can include anything from increasing sex in real life, to having sex in the metric with a virtual partner, to enjoying porn in VR. The latter is interesting because it gives a 180-240-degree view of the scene, making the viewer feel that they are immersed in the scene itself (more than looking at a 2D image) or even participate in the scene. VR porn is becoming so popular that by 2025, it is expected to be the third largest VR sector behind video games and the NFL.
Read more about these topics in my new book, The Future Internet: How Metaverse, Web 3.0, and Blockchain Will Change Business and Society. And don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter and I continued Twitter, LinkedInand YouTube for more on future trends in business and technology.