The Catalonia region of Spain has been making headlines in tech news around the world with the announcement of Cataverse, the new decentralized reality they have created using blockchain technology. In addition to allowing users to experience full immersion through its various features, Cataverse will bring an entire new cultural twist to metaverses around the world. For example, Cataverse’s unique language incorporates elements from Catalan and Spanish as well as English and Mandarin; this will allow users to express themselves in ways that were not previously possible in other metaverses. Cataverse: A New Metaverse with a Catalan Twist

The Idea

In today’s increasingly connected world, it’s almost as if we can experience most of our lives online. These online experiences go beyond blogging, tweeting and shopping to include virtual reality (VR) games. The premise is simple—you enter a fictional environment and immerse yourself in an entirely new experience that you would never be able to have in real life. The metaverse, or VR space, allows us to do everything from play games to attend classes and meet friends; essentially any experience that can be created digitally is possible. While some of these experiences may be catered towards specific audiences, it may seem inevitable that one day everyone will participate in virtual reality for work and play.

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The Creation

Cataverse’s unique and vibrant culture has turned Barcelona into one of Europe’s leading technology hubs, making it an obvious choice for home base. Catalans were once technologically isolated from neighboring regions due to centuries of linguistic, cultural, and geographic separation.

Cataverse: A New Metaverse with a Catalan Twist
Cataverse: A New Metaverse with a Catalan Twist

They developed their own language (Catalan) and unique brand of technology that blossomed in tandem with Barcelona’s burgeoning innovation scene. Now poised to enter virtual reality through Cataverse—and fueled by its rich history—the region is looking to spread its way of life across other parts of Second Life as well as other emerging metaverses like High Fidelity.

The People Behind Cataverse

So far, it seems as though Cataverse is mainly being driven by Kiron The Traveler Tewari, based in Barcelona. He’s using his lifelong experiences on Catalonian beaches to spice up potential environments in Cataverse. We caught up with him via email and found out more about why he chose Barcelona as a base of operations and what he hopes to achieve by creating such an immersive space. While there are already virtual worlds out there like Second Life, they don’t seem to be making a lot of headway into incorporating avatars that move naturally or changing some of their old-fashioned design choices to match today’s needs, he said.

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What Is Cataverse?

Catalonian authorities announced plans to launch their own metaverse on Friday, hoping to put Spain’s northeastern region on an equal footing with other virtual worlds like Second Life and OpenSim. Cataverse isn’t quite ready for primetime yet—it won’t launch until sometime in mid-June at the earliest—but officials at Catalonia Media are confident that it will offer a fresh take on virtual reality. At present, there aren’t many details about what that might look like; if anything, Cataverse is being billed as something of an experiment. Still, they expect plenty of people will be eager to try it out.

Cataverse: A New Metaverse with a Catalan Twist
Cataverse: A New Metaverse with a Catalan Twist

How to Get Involved in the Catalonian Metaverse?

Anyone can be involved in Cataverse and/or other virtual worlds in Catalonia. The only thing that is necessary is having an internet connection and a supported headset, such as Oculus Rift or HTC Vive. Unfortunately, at present time, Catalonia does not have its own virtual reality ecosystem that allows for software applications to be created for use on Cat’s own metaverse—although one of these projects is in development. (A part of one Catalonian company called Vortex Studio has decided to support Cataverse by creating games for it.) Aside from game developers, there are plenty of opportunities for others to become involved. Developers interested in learning more about blockchain should attend Digital Catalunya, where they can learn how they can start developing blockchain applications within their companies.

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Looking Forward To The Future Of Virtual Reality In Spain

With Barcelona being one of Europe’s favorite tourist destinations, you wouldn’t be wrong in thinking that virtual reality is just another niche trend in yet another city for now. However, one man who is leading a team of architects and designers at CaixaForum has predicted otherwise. CataVerse, part of an exhibition taking place next month at Caixachforum, aims to get you exploring different parts of Catalonia while offering an immersive experience at the same time. Just how immersive? There are plans to have shops, galleries and even political meetings inside CataVerse – whatever your interests are.

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