Much of the debate so far has focused on what a Metaverse “IS.” Is there just one, or are there several? Is it necessary to use Blockchain and Digital Assets?
What is a Metaverse?
Simply put, a metaverse is a virtual reality world where users can interact, game and experience things as they would in the real world. Using current AR and VR tech, they can immerse into this world and interact with overlaying objects and people in the visual projected in front of them.
While crypto companies have been talking about Web 3.0 and the Metaverse for some time, it took Facebook rebranding to Meta to trigger broader interest. Since then, other Big Tech companies like Microsoft have jumped onto the trend to establish themselves as cool companies. Then came the luxury brands, like Nike and Luis Vuitton, Tommy Hilfiger into the technology seen as the future of the internet. There is a lot of activity going on in this space. Today, you can dress your Avatar in Jordan’s.
Back into history
While the term “Metaverse” may appear to be a new and trendy buzzword, it has been used for nearly 30 years. The first individual to speak of it was Neil Stephenson, author of the science fiction novel “Snow Crash”. In his 1992 book, the writer describes a dystopian future in which those with enough privilege spend their time in the Metaverse — a virtual reality in which they communicate as avatars. When a new drug appears in the Metaverse and begins infecting users’ computers, the virtual world becomes real.
What do people mean when they talk about the Metaverse?
That’s really up to the individual and their understanding of the existing Web. Broadly speaking, the technologies companies refer to when they talk about “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.
Many companies that have hopped on board the metaverse bandwagon also envision some sort of new digital economy, where users can create, buy, and sell goods. 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, though this is harder than it sounds.
Common Elements in the Metaverse
Whether it is decentraland or Roblox, there are some elements common to the various metaverse platforms.
- Features that overlap with older web services and real-world activities for example, walking and catching Pokemon
- 3D computer graphics in real time and personalized avatars
- Various one-on-one interactions that are less competitive and goal-oriented than stereotypical games
- Giving users tools they need to create their own virtual items, all the way up to entire worlds.
- Links to the external economic system, similar to the existing play-to-earn games.
- Designs appropriate for VR and AR headsets.
To some, entering the metaverse means trying on clothes in augmented reality while shopping, while to others, it means interacting and collaborating in a meeting using avatars — but the ultimate goal is to be able to move smoothly between the real world and more virtual ones in a single metaverse.