A metaverse is a network of three-dimensional virtual environments focused on social interaction. It is frequently portrayed in futuristic and science fiction as a potential iteration of the Internet as a single, universal virtual environment made possible by the usage of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) headgear.
The metaverse is a social space in which players can compete while also interacting with their friends. It’s been described as “a worldwide living room for millions of players.” Many people believe the metaverse already exists in the digital worlds of Roblox, Minecraft, and Fortnite, which allow users to gather in 2D surroundings. The original metaverse is Second Life, a nearly two-decade-old social and gaming platform. GameFi is a play-to-earn gaming platform that blends video games, blockchain technology, and decentralized money.
To help understand how ambiguous and convoluted the word “the metaverse” maybe, replace the words “the metaverse” with “cyberspace.” The meaning will not vary significantly 90% of the time. That’s because the phrase refers to a wide (and frequently hypothetical) shift in how humans engage with technology rather than a specific form of technology. It’s certainly feasible that the phrase itself may become obsolete as the technology it previously defined becomes more widespread.
Virtual reality—characterized by persistent virtual environments that continue to exist even when you’re not playing—as well as augmented reality, which blends features of the digital and physical worlds—are two technologies that firms refer to when they talk about “the metaverse.” It does not, however, necessitate that those areas be accessed solely through VR or AR. Virtual worlds, such as Fortnite elements accessible via PCs, game consoles, and even phones, have begun to refer to itself as “the metaverse.”
Many organizations that have jumped on the metaverse bandwagon foresee a new digital economy in which users may produce, purchase, and sell items. In more idealistic metaverse ideas, it’s interoperable, allowing you to move virtual objects like clothes or vehicles from one platform to another, however this is more difficult than it seems. While some supporters argue that emerging technologies such as NFTs can enable movable digital assets, this is simply not true. Moving goods from one video game or virtual world to another is an incredibly complex operation that no single firm can handle.
Microsoft and Meta are among the companies developing technology for interfacing with virtual worlds, but they are not alone. Many more huge corporations, including Nvidia, Unity, Roblox, and even Snap—along with a slew of smaller firms and startups—are laying the groundwork for improved virtual worlds that more closely resemble our physical lives. It’s been over six months since Facebook announced a rebranding to Meta and an emphasis on the incoming “metaverse.” What that term signifies hasn’t been any clearer in the intervening years. Meta is developing a virtual reality social platform, Roblox is allowing user-generated video games, and some companies are providing little more than broken gaming worlds with NFTs attached. Advocates ranging from minor startups to tech behemoths have stated that the lack of coherence is due to the fact that the metaverse is still being developed and that it is too new to define what it means.
The internet existed in the 1970s, but not every expectation of what it would eventually look like was realized. When the internet originally appeared, it was preceded by a succession of technological advancements, such as the ability to allow computers to communicate over long distances or the ability to hyperlink from one web page to another. These technical qualities served as the foundation for the abstract structures we know as the internet: websites, apps, social networks, and everything else that relies on those essential elements. Not to mention the convergence of interface advancements that aren’t exactly part of the internet but are nevertheless required for it to function, such as displays, keyboards, mouse, and touchscreens.
There are new building blocks in place with the metaverse, such as the ability to host hundreds of people in a single instance of a server (idealistic metaverse predictions assume this will grow to thousands or even millions of people at once, but this may be overly optimistic), or motion-tracking tools that can distinguish where a person is looking or where their hands are. This new technology can be thrilling and futuristic. In the virtual world, Metaverse has made aspirations and desires a reality. Scientists have now invented a system that allows a person to “kiss” another person by feeling sensations in the mouth, lips, and tongue. The new technology was made possible by the addition of ultrasonic transducers to virtual reality (VR) headgear. The mysterious new technology allegedly stimulates touch by changing the VR headgear with vibrations and force. A person in the metaverse can also drink from a virtual water fountain, sip tea or coffee, and even smoke a cigarette thanks to the technology. As the new immersive technology allows for a near-real-world setting, it allows the user to generate vibrations around the mouth.
Futurism is critical to the technology industry as a whole. It’s fine to sell a phone, but selling the future is more profitable. In truth, any true “metaverse” would be little more than some great VR games and digital avatars in Zoom calls, but primarily just something we still refer to as the internet.