The metaverse has been a hot topic of conversation recently, with Facebook and Microsoft both staking claims.
Whay actually is the metaverse?
CEO Mark Zuckerberg introduced what he calls the metaverse. And his future vision for the metaverse. Author Neal Stephenson is credited with coining the term “metaverse” in his 1992 science fiction novel “Snow Crash,” in which he envisioned lifelike avatars who met in realistic 3D buildings and other virtual reality environments. Since then, various developments have made mileposts on the way toward a real metaverse, an online virtual world which incorporates augmented reality, virtual reality, 3D holographic avatars, video and other means of communication. As the metaverse expands, it will offer a hyper-real alternative world for you to coexist in.
In recent years the metaverse has become the name for the “next generation of the internet,” much like Google was 20 years ago. But what does it mean to be the next generation of the internet? And what exactly IS the metaverse?
The metaverse is the name that was given to what we expect the internet to become: a collision between the physical and digital worlds, when VR and augmented reality bridge the gap between the physical and the virtual to interact intimately. While this seems a bit vague, metaverse enthusiasts believe it will essentially be a 3D reality overlaying the real world, wherein people can shop, game and conduct business in shared virtual spaces. For instance, Mark Zuckerberg describes the metaverse as “an embodied internet that you’re inside of,” where “creation, avatars, and digital objects” are central to self-expression and lead to “entirely new experiences and economic opportunities.” He also stated that it could take five to 10 years before the key features of the metaverse become mainstream.
But aspects of the metaverse currently exist.Ultra-fast broadband speeds, virtual reality headsets and persistent always-on online worlds are already up and running, even though they may not be accessible to all. To help you get a sense of how vague and complex a term “the metaverse” can be, here’s an exercise to try: Mentally replace the phrase “the metaverse” in a sentence with “cyberspace.”
Ninety percent of the time, the meaning won’t substantially change. That’s because the term doesn’t really refer to any one specific type of technology, but rather a broad shift in how we interact with technology. And it’s entirely possible that the term itself will eventually become just as antiquated, even as the specific technology it once described becomes commonplace.
Broadly speaking, the technologies that make up the metaverse can include virtual reality—characterized by persistent virtual worlds that continue to exist even when you’re not playing—as well as augmented reality that combines aspects of the digital and physical worlds.
However, it doesn’t require that those spaces be exclusively accessed via VR or AR. A virtual world, like aspects of Fortnite that can be accessed through PCs, game consoles, and even phones, could be metaversal. We believed the metaverse will be the successor of the mobile internet. It also translates to a digital economy, where users can create, buy, and sell goods. And, in the more idealistic visions of the metaverse, it’s interoperable, allowing you to take virtual items like clothes or cars from one platform to another.
In the real world, you can buy a shirt from the mall and then wear it to a movie theater. Right now, most platforms have virtual identities, avatars, and inventories that are tied to just one platform, but a metaverse might allow you to create a persona that you can take everywhere as easily as you can copy your profile picture from one social network to another.
Many other assorted companies—including Nvidia, Unity, Roblox, and even Snap—are all working on building the infrastructure that might become the metaverse. With all the potential and hype around the metaverse, it’s no surprise that companies like Microsoft, Facebook, Nvidia, Unity Software, and even Roblox are scrambling to take their slice of the profits.But to be a true working metaverse, all these companies, their technologies, and the resulting virtual worlds will need to interoperate seamlessly. This involves each industry stepping up to create and share new technologies, hardware, software, and most of all, talent. That said, it’s difficult to imagine that any of these user-hungry companies would be willing to share or part with their users, let alone pool resources and communities.
Today, the metaverse is largely marketing hype – but so were computers and the internet when they first appeared. And in less than a century, humanity has grown from typewritten letters to AI-based marketing and business plans. Once the metaverse arrives, chances are that it, too, will thrive, just like the internet at large has. If you’re a big believer in the metaverse – or even if you’re not – the time to jump on the bandwagon to the future is soon, if not now. While some of the hype may die down as companies grapple with the nitty-gritty of marrying reality with the digital, those companies that tough it out and design the underpinnings of the metaverse stand to gain the most.
And if this is the future that you want to see, then I hope that you will join us. Because the future is going to be beyond anything we can imagine.
Author: Business Brain Squad