The intersection of video games and physical leisure in the metaverses

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The intersection of video games and physical leisure in the metaverses

Within the virtual worlds that are already under construction, everything fits. The concept that Mark Zuckerberg deployed, which for the moment has become a universal prototypical model, aspires to be a replica of the real world and the Internet. The already digital elements, such as electronic commerce, information, or video games, would be combined with elements that until now belong to the material world. We talk here from giving training to factory employees to playing sports. This confluence will allow leisure in the metaverses to have components from both the digital and physical realms.

The changes are yet to come but companies in the video game and virtual reality sector are watching the trends closely. Giovanni Cetto, CEO of the virtual reality company TwoReality sees it this way: “Video games will change radically. They will no longer be like the ones of today because right now there is a clear separation between the video game and the user, which would be the 2D screen. Now users are sitting on their couch and all the action is happening inside their TV or screen.”

The jump from playing sitting down to standing up and moving your arms and body involves a considerable transformation of the entertainment. “ There is a distance between the screen and the user and, above all, there are marked limits regarding what can be done and what cannot. With the metaverse these limits are going to disappear because we are trying to stick the user as much as possible with the experience so that it is a single unit and not two separate things. We want to introduce users to the screen and make them experience the game as if they were part of it. There is a total immersion”, explains Cetto.

Physical Activity or Physical Leisure in the Metaverse

Surely this means that leisure in the metaverses will be associated with increased physical activity. You could even talk about exercising or sports. Edgar Martín-Blas, CEO of Virtual Voyagers, which is increasingly working with metaverses, gives the example of the virtual world Rec Room: «It is a place like a theme park. It is a universe where you enter and have activities. You walk in and there’s paintball, hide-and-seek, murder-investigation-type games. Every time you enter there are minigames, but it is not to connect to a game. You play almost as if you were in the real world. It is one more concept of activity, not so gamer ».

A report by Market Research Future pointed out that metaverse technologies had a volume of 21,910 million dollars already in 2020. And it predicts that they will grow 41.7% annually until 2030. The figures are dizzying, but they are not the only predictions along the same lines. Researchers from Bloomberg Intelligence estimated that this set of technologies could reach 800,000 million dollars in 2024. Part of all this growth will be produced by entertainment. And within this category, physical leisure in the metaverses will play an important role.

“The interesting part of the metaverse starts with VR games, which is the purest training we can have in a video game. We are talking about sports games, shooting, gymnastics, “says Cetto. And he adds: «We are all waiting for the entry of video games like Resident Evil, Halo, video games that we have played for ten years. And the moment when these enter virtual reality within the metaverse will be very impactful.

There is another factor when it comes to leisure in the metaverses when we talk about the physical aspect. These are technologies beyond the controls and glasses that are currently used. The CEO of Tworeality talks about projects that work on fabrics that make the user feel cold, heat, or even some pain. “The final idea would be to connect all these video games to a haptic experience, whereby the tactile sensations would take you to another world,” he says.

More social entertainment

Today’s video games already have an important social component. Users play online, communities are created, there are tournaments. But in virtual worlds, this aspect will be deepened. “People in the metaverse, the type of gamer is more casual, who wants to socialize with those friends who go online. And he wants to have fun in a similar way to going to Port Aventura. You are in an attraction with more people and you share a moment of fun with the people around you but when you leave you don’t see them again, “says Martín-Blas.

The concept of Rec Room, for example, is closer to that of a theme park. And it is in this type of universe that the model that the CEO of Virtual Voyagers is talking about fits in: “It is a place that you get into and it is like a kind of playground. There is a bowling alley, a ping pong table, a scoreboard with the next games to be played. And every so often they are putting mini-games. Suddenly there is a game of paintball and, if you enter, they put you in a waiting room where there are other users until the activity begins. In this virtual world, the games last about ten minutes.

One of the characteristics that can foster this leisure in the metaverses is the feeling of belonging to the place. And it is that being with your avatar in the middle of a group of people, who move and express themselves individually, affects this feeling. There is no doubt that the circumstances exist for it to be stronger in virtual worlds than in a traditional video game.

Greater expressiveness of leisure in the metaverse

This social aspect is amplified by a factor that traditional video games do not have. It is about the ability to move the body as a form of expression. “Gesticulation is very important,” says Martín-Blas. “In video games, in the end, your doll moves in a predefined way. But in the metaverse, you gesture, with your head, with your hands, and modulate your voice. So you can make gestures to warn teammates that an enemy is coming, for example. And this adds a very interesting layer of complexity.”

Gestures also allow you to greet, shake hands or make any kind of fuss. They can be used to warn another user or to cause laughter, even to make a rage. In the end, all this supposes a layer of individuality much greater than what is allowed in traditional video games. People can express themselves more naturally with their avatars, which influences the social factor.

A network prepared for the metaverse

However, for this entertainment to work properly in the metaverses, the capacity of the network is important. “In the metaverse in which everything is computed in the glasses, connection data mainly matters, such as the IP voice of users, user movements, and server data,” says Martín-Blas. “Let’s say that today the important thing would be low latency so that you can have all this in real-time and that there are no delays. But they are low data volumes, about 5 MB per minute.

Low latency, which is already one of the essential requirements in many video games, becomes even more relevant. And it is that the software has to register the gestures of the avatars in real-time. If a user points and fires his weapon, the system needs to process it immediately and transmit it to the rest at the same time. But virtual reality will take another leap.

“The next step that is being tested is for the cloud to compute the entire game and serve it to the glasses. That’s where 5G comes in like a beast because we could put in hyper-realistic games or metaverses,” says Martín-Blas. “The server that is calculating the graphic processing has very powerful graphics cards and it sends you the result of your belonging to the metaverse and the movements that you have made. So there has to be almost no delay. Thanks to this it can be that the glasses are very cheap, light, and almost without hardware. But with a 5G connection, yes. The CEO of Virtual Voyagers adds that in this scenario, 5G or the WiFi 6 standard will be essential. For Cetto, this future is viable, but he emphasizes that it has yet to be rehearsed. “Right now 5G supports everything, but once hyperrealism enters, you have to try it. Being everything so new, until these things are tested, it is not known if 5G will be enough for hyperrealism or we will have to wait for 6G.