Web 2.0 has made many of us already familiar with the concept of avatars. These are virtual identities that represent us on various digital platforms such as websites, apps and online gaming. As we prepare ourselves for the Metaverse, we must also be aware that the current understanding of avatars is still minimal, in comparison to what the Metaverse has to offer. The future of avatars is still in the process of being discovered, but in the meantime let us try to form an understanding of what lies ahead of us in this digital oasis.
– What are Avatars?
– How to Customize avatars
What are Avatars?
Simply put, Avatars are our digital representations that are visible virtually. Apple’s Memojis are an example, where users can create their own avatars by choosing their skin tone, hair, face, etc. and using these avatars in text messages and during facetime calls. Snapchat Bitmojis are also an example of such avatars. It has seamlessly transitioned from a 2D model to a 3D model with time, allowing users to choose apparel and accessories for their respective avatars, and use these avatars in games and chats.
This early introduction to the concept of avatars through Web2.0 has laid a foundation for the roles that avatars play in a digital environment, preparing users for the future of social interaction.
These avatars will form the community of the Metaverse, thus making it essential for these avatars to be as functional as possible in this digital oasis.
With the growth in Artificial Intelligence [AI], Virtual Reality [VR] and Augmented Reality [AR], certainly, The Metaverse will only open new doors to social interaction and experiences, and these avatars will be an integral role in how we interact and operate in virtual worlds of the Metaverse. The avatars also allow us to interact with community members in that virtual world, and participate in activities with one another, through our respective devices.
The advancement in these technologies also enables the avatar to seamlessly replicate our physical movement and project the same in virtual environments.
The element of flexibility in the avatars is what remains more exciting and intriguing. The avatars are not restricted to a single virtual world but can move across multiple virtual worlds that support the experience. It is often difficult to constantly change the avatar to enter a new digital space, but the avatars in the metaverse have the creative liberty to seamlessly move from one digital ecosystem to the next, using the devices and technologies that support it.
Let us imagine a hypothetical scenario in the Metaverse. Our avatar is ready to go gaming in a virtual world, we dress our avatar in a smart sweatshirt, track pants and a cool new cap. While bowling, our friend invites us to join them in another virtual world to explore a fashion show. We quickly go and chose the swankiest set from our digital wardrobe and enter the other virtual world, hoping to make heads turn. Now, at this fashion show, we come across a digital piece that catches our attention and we try to purchase that digital asset and add it to our wardrobe. While the Metaverse and its avatars are still in the development space, we can only imagine scenarios as to how the avatar will be operating in the Metaverse.
The Metaverse opens various avenues, allowing us to limitlessly customize our avatars with unique tastes and preferences that define us. Today, brands and creators are exploring the vast opportunities that lie ahead for virtual merchandising and digital clothing.
Users are seemingly interested in purchasing digital accessories, also known as skins in the Metaverse.
The ones who have a fondness for luxury couture can find virtual couture through NFTs [Non-Fungible Tokens] created by luxury labels and add these limited-edition pieces to their digital wardrobes. Luxury labels like Burberry and Balenciaga have already tapped into this new and evolving market with their unique NFTs to create a whole new space of digital luxury apparel.
Just as how we purchase apparel in the physical world, our avatars can also purchase digital apparel and curate them in their digital wardrobe. We can choose to then change the virtual clothing of our avatar as and when we want to.
It is also interesting to imagine that the concept of self-expression may come into more light, as people may choose to express themselves through the way they dress their avatars, overcoming psychological limitations that they may experience in their actual reality.
Just as the Metaverse is in the nascent stage, similarly avatars are also in the development phase, and we can only anticipate a revolutionary leap in online representation.
With time, members of the audience have projected a high interest in investing in their digital identities of themselves on social media, and the introduction of the Metaverse will create more opportunities for them to showcase themselves creatively and limitlessly in the new digital ecosystem. It is almost clear that avatars will play a key role in shaping the digital identities of users.