The term “metaverse” has exploded in popularity over the last year. Facebook’s rebrand to Meta may be partially to blame, but the idea of a metaverse can be traced back to the 1990s. The book (and now film) Ready Player One showcases an advanced version of a metaverse, and potentially what it could become. With virtual reality technology continuing to advance, the metaverse may be closer than expected.
But what exactly is a metaverse and why is everyone so excited about it?
What exactly is a metaverse?
There’s quite a difference between the concept of a metaverse, and what people are calling a metaverse today. The most popular idea of a metaverse is a massive virtual world that people can interact with and explore using virtual reality (VR). It could become a secondary world where users could play games, purchase items, and even potentially work together.
There are several different games and platforms that call themselves a metaverse, but so far none of them have lived up to the standards set by science fiction. The popular games Roblox and Fortnite have labeled themselves a metaverse, but they lack several core features typically associated with metaverses. There are also several platforms built on blockchain technology that also incorporate cryptocurrency, but again, they don’t reflect much of the metaverse shown in Ready Player One.
Why is this becoming so important?
Virtual and augmented reality have been around for a while now, but they haven’t really gone mainstream. Many believe that metaverses will be a key catalyst for adoption of the tech. The concept of a metaverse also introduces a number of new business ventures, products, and services. This has prompted businesses both large and small to consider the impact a metaverse may have in the future.
The metaverse has become a pandora box of unlimited possibilities. One new possibility is the introduction of virtual real estate. Individuals can participate in select metaverses and purchase digital land. They can then use it to build a virtual business, advertise, or even rent out the property to others.
Dining clubs are considering offering a virtual dining experience, where people all over the world are able to come together as a community. More professional businesses are looking to use metaverses to connect their employees from around the world and offer them a way to meet and discuss ideas. Musicians are able to offer virtual concerts that anyone globally can attend. The possibilities are truly limitless.
It’s no surprise that there’s so much excitement surrounding the concept of the metaverse. Especially when there is so much to explore in how it can potentially benefit others. However, the concept of a metaverse has yet to be fully realized, which leaves a lot up in the air.
While there’s no set timeline as to when we might see a full-fledged metaverse in action, there are certainly quite a few in the works. Massive corporations like Facebook and Nike have already begun exploring the many possibilities of what a metaverse might offer, and with big money at work, something may just be around the corner.