As Indian firm Sunovatech joins a $3 billion metaverse project, here’s how the virtual realm took shape

The Indian company will be part of a global alliance to create a metaverse, and will create digital assets as well as a 3D environment.

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Thursday, October 06, 2022, 02:17 PM IST
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The alliance will also include a metaverse research firm and a bank that offers custody digital asset banking/Representative image | Photo: Pexels

What started with first person point-of-view shooter games such as Counter Strike and Doom a decade back, evolved into a more immersive virtual reality (VR) experience, that laid the foundation for a metaverse. People chasing around Pokemon in their physical environment thanks to augmented reality (AR) few years back, are now entering a new digital realm. But the metaverse has leapt beyond gaming and is now hosting virtual shops, art galleries, restaurants and entire marketplaces in separate virtual worlds.

India joins the global metaverse

Along with lines between the physical and digital realities, the metaverse is also blurring geographical boundaries, as Indian firm Sunovatech has joined a $3 billion global metaverse alliance. The Delhi-based immersive extended reality firm, will design a 3D environment for Thailand’s Translucia, as part of the project that will involve Australian metaverse research firm Two Bulls. Digital assets will be provided by a first of its kind bank Sygnum, that also offers custody digital banking, that ensures secure storage of NFTs and virtual assets.

Sunovatech’s role will be that of a production facility for 3D assets and modules for the visualisation of Translucia. But this isn’t the first step into the metaverse for India, which has seen a restaurant chain Olive Group open the country’s first eatery in the digital universe. With the virtual market expanding quickly, Indian brand Hiflyer also launched a jewellery collection in the metaverse. The real estate sector which is designing virtual cities to attract buyers, also received a boost when Daler Mehndi bought land in the metaverse.

The origins of a virtual world

The concept of a separate universe first came to light in 1935 in a book called Pygmalion’s Spectacles, with the idea of entering a fictional world through glasses that unlocked sights, sounds and smells as well as touch. By the 70s MIT created a digital map of a city in Colorado, that allowed people to take virtual tours, but the metaverse was first mentioned in a 1982 scifi novel, where characters escaped the dark reality in a digital universe. After VR arcades started popping up in the 90s, building virtual worlds became popular through games such as The Sims. But everything changed when Facebook acquired Oculus in 2014 to sell VR headsets, and years later launched a vision for its own metaverse.

Life in the metaverse

Today architects are working on the concept, as Saudi Arabia is creating a replica of its megacity NEOM in the metaverse, and fashion shows are being held in virtual ecosystems. India was quick to jump on the bandwagon, as a couple went on to host their wedding in the metaverse as the country emerged from a pandemic. Remote working, virtual meetings and digital classrooms during the lockdowns also laid the groundwork for the metaverse to take over.

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