Virtual gifts, log avatar … How will we celebrate Christmas in the metaverse?

If you’ve spent the first lockdown hosting aperitifs on Skype or Zoom, celebrating Christmas in the metaverse shouldn’t bother you. And, let’s face it, in the midst of the fifth wave of Covid-19, carried by the Omicron variant, being able to eat turkey with the family without risking infecting your diabetic grandpa and incidentally antivax, that would not be luxury. That’s good, metaverse projects are multiplying: “Horizon Worlds” from Facebook (Meta); Microsoft, The Sandbox, Roblox… Going to a parallel world could become more democratic in the years to come.

In its most common definition, the metaverse designates a virtual twin world into which we enter thanks to immersive technologies, mainly virtual reality glasses, in the vein of Ready Player One by Steven Spielberg based on the novel by Ernest Cline. It can also be described as a fusion of the virtual world and the real world thanks to augmented reality, in the footsteps of
Pokémon Go : virtual elements appear in reality.

With the explosion of NFTs (non-fungible tokens or non-fungible tokens), virtual objects with indisputable and inviolable identity, authenticity and traceability thanks to the blockchain, we will not only be able to socialize in the digital space but also shopping, collecting works, dressing your avatar… Three plausible scenarios (albeit) to celebrate Christmas with the family without leaving home.

Everyone at home, glasses and basta

Rather than taking the risk of infecting those close to you, it is better to stay at home, put on your VR headset and spend the evening of December 24 or the 25 at a distance. This avoids having to worry about our clothing, especially since, avatars side, there is something to have fun in the metaverse. “Epic Games’ MetaHuman creator tool allows you to generate a hyper realistic double. Or, on the contrary, we can choose a completely surrealist avatar, take the appearance of a turkey with chestnuts, a bottle of champagne, a log… ”, describes Sylvain Louradour, author of the book The New Now of the Netexplo digital innovation observatory. Everything is possible. And, with NFTs, it is now possible to buy “real” virtual gifts to one’s family with cryptocurrencies (especially Ether). A digital work of art, crypto-sneakers from major brands to show off with an authenticated piece.

Nike, Adidas, Guerlain, Dolce & Gabbana, to name a few, have recently started cryptos. « As we know that NFTs are worth their position in the market, and therefore their value. We could have gifts that are valued over time, ”he continues. And it makes a lot of gift possibilities to drop under the virtual tree.

The only downside in this scenario is the tasting of the turkey. We can imagine that each member of the family has the same meal delivered to share identical sensations. But that’s not very practical… Better to imagine new sensory experiences. “In the metaverse, you can eat a turkey with the scent of strawberries, imagines Sylvain Louradour. With Norimaki synthesizer, a lick screen, you can experience completely new tastes. We risk ending the evening hungry, but we can no longer say that the end of the year celebrations make you fat.

Everyone at the table, but everyone in their own world

To push the “nightmare” even further, we can imagine a family meal where all the members around the table wear a VR headset. They would interact in the metaverse rather than the real thing. « We could configure the decor as we want, either a prefabricated one, like that of Horizon Worlds by Meta (Facebook), or sets created from scratch », describes Sylvain Louradour. But Olivier Godest, Managing Director of Virtuality, does not believe it for a second.

“If I think in terms of uses, I find that caricature. The virtual reality experience lends itself well to gaming, discovery experiences, documentary immersion, but I’m not sure people want to drink shots with a headset on their face, ”explains the latter. . We can consider a virtual reality session at the end of the meal. That said, avoid straining the drink which could increase motion sickness. One in three people, after exposure to virtual reality, may develop symptoms of varying degrees of cybermalaise.

Uncle Alfred’s hologram for the aperitif

The most likely scenario would be to see Uncle Alfred appear in holographic form. Atmosphere Star Wars. “For me, the metaverse is an addition of different technologies. How the virtual mixes with the real ”, insists Olivier Godest. The idea is not to spend the entire meal in distancing but to have small forays into virtuality throughout the evening. « At the end of the meal, we call grandfather or uncle and he appears at the table in the form of an avatar on the model of the presentation of Horizon Worlds », continues the founder of Virtuality.

Likewise, Christmas shopping could bridge the gap between virtual and real. The purchase of a garment would be coupled with the acquisition of its virtual twin certified by the brand. “Metaverse shopping centers would complement traditional websites. We will find the business of creating windows to inspire people, ”he describes. Either we buy a real gift in euros in the metaverse, or it is coupled with an NFT in the virtual that we could pay in euros or in crypto, or we choose an exclusively virtual object financed by ether (or others) . A world of possibilities is offered to us.

A tree that does not lose its thorns, an ultra-healthy meal, loved ones in the shape of an avatar and gifts accessible only digitally. If that is not fairyland, what is it?

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