You will have heard the term Metaverse recently pop up due to Facebook changing their name to Meta and its plans for the Metaverse, but what exactly does the term mean?
The term originally comes from the 1992 science fiction novel; Snow Crash, written by the author Neal Stephenson, which envisions a virtual reality-based successor to the internet where people use digital avatars of themselves to explore the online world. This vision is exactly what is becoming a reality, 20 years later. The term "Metaverse" has many definitions, but overall, it is a highly immersive virtual world where people can gather to socialise, play, and work; an embodied internet that you are inside of instead of just looking at. Most of the internet is about buying items or consuming information, but the Metaverse is all about having experiences and taking part in activities such as games, social interaction, learning training, and being in virtual spaces.
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Matthew Ball popularised the term and has been a key person to spread the word about the Metaverse writing many articles about the topic, appearing as a guest on podcasts and even talking about the Metaverse on the news. Mattew has talked about features of the Metaverse being persistent, live, the mixing of the digital and physical worlds, having unlimited concurrency, being a fully functioning economy as well as interoperability. But what does all of this mean exactly?
Persistent means that the digital never rests, pauses or ends.
Live means everything will be live such as events
Pokémon GO, where digital Pokémon's can be found in the real world through your phone camera. This is known as "Augmented Reality".
Unlimited concurrency means that there can be an unlimited number of users unlike in most games where a limited number of people are joined to a server.
Fully functioning economy means that you can make money and profit in the Metaverse.
Interoperability is the mixing of different worlds such as bringing a Fortnite skin into Minecraft which currently is not possible.
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They may seem like small steps but when combined together will make a massive change to technology and will mean we can live in a digital world. However, we are not there yet. First, computers need to get faster to support graphics, internet connections need to get stronger and hardware will need to get better. For the verse in Metaverse to work, it will need to be open and accessible to everyone.
Facebook has many plans for entering the Metaverse with Virtual Reality being Facebook's largest expenditure for multiple years as well as acquiring Oculus: a Virtual Reality headset company. They even have 20% of their employees working in Virtual Reality but a major barrier for Facebook is the ability to buy and sell items which is something crypto has done already.
What is your opinion on the Metaverse and when do you think it will come to fruition? Let us know below!