Heralded as the “future of the internet,” it is no surprise that tech giants are racing to embrace the Metaverse.
As Meta (formerly Facebook) introduces 3D avatars to Instagram and Microsoft creates digital worlds through video games like Fortnite, TikTok’s parent company ByteDance is the new kid on the virtual block.
With ByteDance’s launch of Paiduidao – meaning “Party Island” – on China’s App Store last week, this social networking app represents another stepping-stone toward a completed Metaverse.
But first, what even is the Metaverse?
Discussion of the oh-so elusive Metaverse dominated tech circles throughout 2021. With the Metaverse still in its infancy, it can be difficult for many of us to comprehend.
Broadly speaking, the Metaverse is an interconnected, virtual space that real people share in real-time. While still in a rudimentary phase, the Metaverse has already incorporated an array of technology – ranging from augmented reality and virtual reality software to 3D holographic avatars.
Put simply, the Metaverse represents a fully-realised digital world, one where our online and offline lives are essentially interchangeable.
While we may not know for sure where the Metaverse is heading, we do know that a Metaverse-related economy will usher in significant growth for tech giants. According to Bloomberg, the “Metaverse may be [a] $800 billion market.” With this in mind, a completed Metaverse will undoubtedly mark a significant shift in how we interact with technology.
So, where does ‘Party Island’ fit?
Party Island creates a digital community for people to meet up, hang out and even attend events. The catch? It all happens online. Instead of chatting and connecting in the real-world, users interact through their avatars.
Party Island is currently in beta testing and can only be accessed through a specific invitation code. However, it was the 77th most downloaded social networking application on the Apple App Store in China last week, suggesting that it is already a hit among users.
Although a ByteDance representative has revealed that Party Island has “no connection with the metaverse,” there is no denying that Party Island’s premise aligns closely with the budding Metaverse.
With the Metaverse promising big money, it is only a matter of time before more social networking applications like Party Island start popping up. The question is, which applications will prevail as we move toward the next generation of the Internet?