First, some background information. The word “metaverse” was coined by writer Neal Stephenson in his science fiction novel “Snow Crash” in 1992. Characters in the book create digital avatars to explore the online world to escape a bleak reality.
Ernest Cline expanded on the Metaverse concept in his 2011 book ‘Ready Player One.’ Steven Spielberg adapted the novel into a film in 2018.
Simply put, a metaverse blurs the distinction between actual and virtual life. It is a virtual environment or space that you may enter, ‘live,’ and interact with using virtual and augmented reality headsets or glasses. It may combine components of social media, internet games, and cryptocurrencies to enable users to interact.
What exactly is it?
The Metaverse integrates different ideas that have existed for a while: virtual reality and digital second life.
Interest in it increased after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said during the Connect conference, webcast online on October 28, 2021, that Facebook would change the company’s name to Meta. He also stated that the Metaverse would cost at least $10 billion.
Is it finally here?
You are already a component of the larger metaverse experience if you hold a non-fungible token (NFT), virtual-reality headset, or cryptocurrency.
Users and gamers can engage with other avatars on platforms such as Sandbox, Decentraland, Roblox, and even online games such as Fortnite and Minecraft by using customized digital representations of themselves.
Users can make and construct items, including property. They may also accumulate virtual currency, which permits individuals to purchase stuff for their avatars.
A crypto-enabled marketplace, digital wallets, and a governance structure are all part of Decentraland. On the Ethereum Blockchain, digital assets such as land are kept as NFTs. Many real-world businesses are getting involved by establishing virtual offices and headquarters in Decentraland.
Sandbox is also a blockchain-based game metaverse virtual space built on Ethereum. It enables users to generate and exchange NFTs within the game.
Roblox is an online platform and marketplace where users may create and play games created by others. Robux is a virtual/digital (not crypto) currency that players may use to purchase in-game enhancements or accessories for their avatars.
When Microsoft opted to pay $68.7 billion for gaming producer Activision Blizzard in early 2022, it mentioned the Metaverse as one of the reasons for the acquisition, stating that the merger would offer “building blocks for the Metaverse.” Activision Blizzard is well-known for creating online games with metaverse elements.
How Facebook – Meta defines the metaverse
“The best way to grasp the metaverse is to see it firsthand,” said Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, “but it’s a little difficult as it doesn’t exist yet.”
Zuckerberg defined the Metaverse as an “even more immersive and embodied internet where you’ll be able to do practically anything you can imagine…work, learn, play, shop, create…as well as whole new areas that don’t match how we think about computers or phones today.”
1. A social space where avatars represent users
Your username (or Instagram handle) or thumbnail photo represents you on websites or social media networks. You are represented in the Metaverse by a configurable avatar that can move, speak, and execute animated actions.
2. A communal space where the avatars can live like people.
Every user will share a single virtual space, where things and property will remain between online sessions for everyone.
3. Buying and selling virtual property in the same way that you would physical property
Individuals will use non-fungible tokens as a decentralized way to acquire virtual goods, independent of any governing authority or corporate server.
4. Building your own virtual property
Although Metaverse allows you to construct your virtual property, allowing people to produce their metaverse material may not be a good idea for both users and metaverse makers.
5. Virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR) glasses for 3D telepresence
Many consider this to be the final step toward achieving a complete metaverse state. Virtual and augmented reality will allow us to leave our flat displays and enter a world where we may interact with other 3D avatars in the same spot. “You’ll feel like you’re in the room together, making eye contact and having a shared sense of place, rather than just looking at a grid of faces on a screen,” Meta CEO said.
When will the Metaverse be applicable?
Zuckerberg’s proposed metaverse technology is years away from becoming a reality. He expects the Metaverse will be completely operational by the decade’s end. Already, the infrastructure and technology are outstanding. However, they will need to evolve further to serve the Metaverse sector, as experts predict.
In a November 2021 interview with Forbes, deVere CEO and founder Nigel Green stated that Facebook will hire 10,000 people in the European Union to construct Zuckerberg’s Metaverse on its Horizon World platform. “Facebook’s statement highlights once again that people in the know regard the Metaverse as its successor, not as an ‘extension’ of the internet,” Green added.
Read More: Metaverse – Next evolution of the internet