- The metaverse is an interoperable and immersive virtual world designed for human interaction.
- It can be accessed through relative XR tools and/or a digital identifier known as the Avatar.
- Several different iterations of the metaverse exist today as virtual worlds and 3D games
- While the ideas of the metaverse are widespread, it is still in the development stage.
What is Really the Metaverse?
The metaverse, as envisioned, is an interoperable and immersive virtual world developed for human interaction. It can be accessed through XR, and/or a digital identifier known as the Avatar.
The concept was first mentioned in a science fiction book by the American author Neal Stevenson and popularized by the blockbuster movie “Ready Player One,” which was an adaptation of the book of the same title by Ernest Cline.
While several different DeFi protocols aligned their projects with this vision, it was Meta that propelled the term into an internet buzzword on October 28, 2021.
On his criticism of Big Tech’s domineering venture into the metaverse, Vitalik Butterin insisted the move to create and control it would backfire.
“The ‘metaverse’ is going to happen,” he said, “but I don’t think any of the existing corporate attempts to intentionally create the metaverse are going anywhere.”
What is the Meaning of the Metaverse?
As of press time, no definite acceptable definition of the metaverse exists, since no one can authoritatively say what will emerge as the true ultimate metaverse.
But if you are asking what the meaning of the metaverse is, here is a quick view:
The metaverse is an interconnected network of diverse digital virtual worlds designed for human interaction.You can compare it to a multidimensional, immersive internet. It is a science fiction concept that emerged in the early days of the internet.
This virtual world, however, is still in its hypothetical and in its infancy stage. While there are disparities and divergent views on what constitutes the ideal metaverse, invested players align around a simple consensus: the metaverse is a virtual world. But what makes up a true metaverse? What are the pointers to ascertaining that the ideal virtual world will present the utmost fulfilling experience? To answer this, we will look at these possible parameters:
Key Concepts of the Metaverse
The concepts of new internet iterations, whether Web1, 2, 3, 5, or WebX, can all be said to find a common ground in data, financial, and identity decentralization.
Interoperable: To have a fully functional metaverse, it should be interoperable as a cluster of interconnected networks that allow users to freely interact without restrictions.
Immersive: The metaverse should be immersive to enhance the sensory experience; if the player can feel the environment as they would in reality, then it is safe to check this box.
Virtual world: Of course, there is no metaverse without the multiplicity of worlds.
Decentralized Identifier: It should be accessed through a decentralized digital identifier of the player. These have to be decentralized so as not to point back to the identity of the user. As a result, animosity must be the focal point.
How Did the Metaverse Begin?
Disparities exist as to the origins of the metaverse. While most analysts make reference to the invention of 3D visual tools like binoculars and stereoscopes, others argue in favor of gaming. However, no one can pinpoint the exact time for the origin of the metaverse, but it can be narrowed down by historical records from the 1980s, which provide a practical first-attempt case for how these ideas developed over time.
The history of the metaverse can be traced to the world of gaming (which began around the 1950s) and the quest to create a digital space for human interaction. However, most of those attempts only became widespread in the 1980s, and some were successful when the World Wide Web began in the 1990s.
Below are some randomly selected milestones that have led to the development of the metaverse to date.
During the 1980s, before the dot.com bubble, gaming and virtual reality were gaining momentum, and many engineers began building what they imagined would reshape the future. Some of these ideas only made it so far as the hypothesis stage, while others will go on to become actual products later. But what will later materialise as the first Metaverse was created in 1985 by Morningstar and F. Randall Farmer.
In 1986, Lucasfilm Games tested the beta version of Habitat, a multi-player online virtual environment, which became the first attempt to create what we now call the Metaverse. In Habitat, users could do virtually anything: gaming, business, forming a government, social interaction, marriage, etc. While Habitat did not last, it created the foundations that ushered in this new wave of action toward building social media and virtual worlds. It was from Habitat that the word for the digital human pair, “Avatar,” was coined.
In 1992, Neal Stevenson, an American fiction writer, published his novel “Snow Crash,” which depicted a dystopian game world where humans go to escape the pains of everyday life. It was in this book that the word “metaverse” was first mentioned.
There has been a proliferation of Metaverse games and worlds that reflect these realities over time.
In 2011, Ernest Cline, the American author, published his debut novel, “Ready Player One,” which was later adapted into a movie of the same name produced by Steven Spielberg. This became one of the works that brought out the possibilities of the metaverse in motion pictures. It inspired other metaverse movies that came after, as many other movies followed this trajectory.
Who Coined the Word “metaverse”?
Neal Stephenson was the first to mention the idea of a decentralized, immersive digital space where anyone could freely interact. His book, Snow Crash, became the first standing document to hold the ideas of the metaverse. He is the first person to coin the word “metaverse” in writing because he felt words like “virtual reality” were too awkward to describe the space he envisioned.
“The words “avatar” (in the sense used here) and “metaverse” are my inventions, which I came up with when I decided that existing words (such as “virtual reality”) were simply too awkward to use,” he wrote.
What Stephenson was able to achieve was to set this idea in motion, and three decades later, builders are still believing it can be done.
What are the Challenges of the Metaverse?
The metaverse may not be the el dorado promised. Like any new frontier of human evolution it is rife with its own challenges. The obvious ones touch on the areas of mental health, addiction, sexual abuse, and many other challenges. You can read about the top 5 challenges facing the metaverse to get a clearer picture.
Who Owns the Metaverse?
No one owns the metaverse. What is obtainable, however, is the ownership of virtual worlds by individual players and corporate institutions. What is imagined to be the metaverse will be a network of all these separate projects.
How to Access the Metaverse
The metaverse can be accessed through any form of AR, VR, or extended reality tools and/or through the use of avatars.
Many metaverse experiences exist. Some of these projects are the closest examples of what the metaverse is going to look like. They are: Meta’s Horizon worlds; Roblox; Decentraland; Pokemon Go; The Sandbox; Fortnite; Second Life; and many more.
There are many metaverse companies. While some of the top metaverse companies are older tech companies expanding their interests in the space, newer companies are coming up to lead the space. For example, Animal Concerts is a company dedicated to bringing concerts to any metaverse. Others are key members of the XR Association.
Since the idea of the metaverse became widespread, many movies have been created about it. You can check out a few of the prominent movies about the metaverse here.
The Metaverse and the Internet
The Internet has dark histories that connect to the modern fixation to create something new. With the numerous privacy breaches, abuses, hacks, etc, it is understandable that many users would want the Internet to be decentralized. interestingly, most analysts believe that the next phase of the internet will be immersive, and as such, the metaverse will be the gateway to usher in that reality.
What is Zukerberg’s Metaverse?
Zukerberg’s Metaverse is a buzzword that alludes to Meta’s Metaverse ideas and products. This term has been used by many news outlets and publishers to describe the vision of the metaverse from the perspective of Meta’s CEO, Mark Zukerberg.
What happens in the metaverse?
If the ideas of the metaverse become feasible, many of our real life activities will be carried over to the metaverse. Therefore, the metaverse will be like a mirror reality of what we already have. People will live, work, get married, and possibly, at extremes, have kids in the metaverse. As for death, it always finds its way into paradise.
The metaverse has no acceptable definition yet since it’s all still in development. No one actually knows what will emerge as the ultimate immersive digital reality. But the metaverse can be seen as an interoperable and immersive virtual world developed for human interaction.
Although, many corporate players are beginning to explore this space to ensure its realization, it still has a forked future. But one thing is certain: since the ideas have become widespread, that future is closer than we think.
Disclaimer: While the ideas of the metaverse are widespread, no holistic standard metaverse exists. We will keep updating the information on the metaverse as its development progresses. There are no absolutes, but processes.