Published on 04 Dec 2021

Into the metaverse: Asia’s early adopters can’t get enough – but pitfalls remain in virtual future

South China Morning Post, 4 Dec -

Imagine a shared virtual world where you could socialise, game and live as an avatar, try out the latest fashions without ever leaving the comfort of your own home and use cryptocurrency to buy intangible representations of almost anything you liked, backed by non-fungible tokens (NFTs) or other digital assets.

This is the future that awaits us, if tech enthusiasts’ “metaverse” predictions come true. “With the metaverse, you want people to feel immersed, feel a strong sense of presence and embodiment,” said Benjamin Li, a communication and media technologies specialist at Singapore’s NTU. “I think it’s going to come out at a smaller scale than, ‘Oh tomorrow it’s going to be Ready Player One,’” said Vivian Chen, an associate professor at NTU whose research interests span social interactions in virtual communities and the psychological effects of communication technology, referencing a book and film set in 2045 that features a fully-fledged metaverse at its core.