If you could look, sound and be anything you wanted, would you choose to be exactly the same as you are in real life? Studies show that, in the UK, 42% of individuals are unhappy with the way they look. Although these numbers might change from place to place, most people would like to alter or improve something about themselves. Some changes are possible in reality, others are harder. That’s where the metaverse comes into play. A universe where everyone can be whatever they want, with no limitations. Where they can reflect not only their physical self, but their inner self. We can’t deny it is a very tempting and exciting idea – to reinvent ourselves in any way our hearts desire.
But let’s not stop on physical appearance. Identity is much more than just the way we look. By definition, identity is the ‘distinguishing character or personality of an individual, the relation established by psychological identification’. In the digital age, we have the opportunity, more than ever before, to re-establish ourselves as the beings we believe we deserve to be. To live a digital life that can help fulfil wishes that cannot come to fruition in real life. Hopefully, this will be done in a safe and respectful manner, but it is undeniable the attraction the metaverse can have when it comes to creating a new, digital identity.
Deloitte states that “digital identities are becoming the foundation of our rapidly evolving technology-based and data-driven economy and society,” and that “digital identity should be at the core of any leading, data-driven organisation.” Data has been a hot topic for a long time, but as people, we are much more than data, and by spending more and more time online, our lives are becoming increasingly digital.
The ‘Digital Ownership Report 2022’ from the metaverse platform Virtua shows that younger individuals are particularly excited by the potential for reinventing themselves in virtual worlds that allow for the creation of digital identities and ownership. The report states that 63% of American millennials expect the metaverse to help them reinvent themselves, while 70% of Americans believe that digital fashion and art are already an essential part of their identities.
It is clearly a great opportunity for anyone to reinvent who they are, reconsider values and activities, and change behaviours to fit the new persona. With these new opportunities, come renewed challenges. Trusting what you experience online is already a challenge, with the metaverse, avatars and brand new personas, it will become even harder to trust the avatar is who they claim to be. Although there are solutions for this issue with the use of data, this solution will bring further privacy and commercial issues to light. We have a long way to go before we have a palpable solution to the digital identity dilemma. As things are at the moment, there is and there will always be the potential for fraud.
What is fascinating is the potential of giving wings to everyone, metaphorically and literally, to explore and expand their realities and expressions. It is cathartic to think that we can create in the metaverse what we would like to see in real life. Maybe some of us will discover that we can apply some of the learnings about ourselves from the metaverse to our lives, and bring our real identity a little step closer to our dream avatar.
Maybe we will learn that the voices repressing our self-expression are not as loud as we believe, and there are millions of people around the world that are also different from their norms and finding themselves. Perhaps we will feel more accepted, and more included. There is a chance that through online voice chats, we will find like-minded people and peer identities that will reassure us that it is good to be unique.
We should always strive to find solutions to support the metaverse, helping to make the experience more realistic with ODIN by 4Players dynamic sound features, while 4Netplayers has low latency, making for a smooth experience. At 4Players we are metaverse friendly, so players can delve into their own virtual realities and truly be who they want to be.