The Metaverse: What It Is, Where It Is, and Who Is Building It?

Virtual Experiences in the Metaverse
Virtual Experiences

As a species, we’re moving toward digital existence. I wonder if we’re already a digital race. We live, work, and play in the virtual worlds we have created. The internet is a place where we can foster a sense of belonging and where we can let loose our creative energies. When it comes to technology and culture, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Land and buildings, clothing and furniture, jobs and economies will all be replicated digitally in the next decade or so. This shift has already begun. Many of today’s youth have only ever known a world where everything is done digitally.

In some ways, discussing what “the metaverse” means is similar to discussing what “the internet” meant in the 1970s. A new communication method was being built, but no one could predict its appearance in practice. Even though “the internet” had been predicted, not all of those predictions were accurate. It’s also worth noting that the metaverse concept has been subject to a lot of marketing hype.

For the longest time, people have been attempting to create immersive virtual worlds, aided by the world-building efforts of both the film and video game industries. Second Life, an alternate-reality computer game where you play through an avatar and can do just about anything—like build a house or get married—was created in 2003 and is one of the most-cited examples of the Metaverse. There were enough serious metaverse enthusiasts by 2006 that they organized a summit.

During that summit, the Metaverse Roadmap was created, which outlined the path to the Metaverse’s completion. Virtually enhanced physical reality and a physically persistent virtual space merge in the Metaverse, according to the Metaverse Roadmap. When combined with the use of virtual reality, it could appear to be an entirely new world that we can enter and exit at will.

 In the past, we’ve seen some metaverse hype, but many of the current advocates claim that this is the first time that the technology and protocols are in place to make it happen. Those in the know say it’s the next logical step after mobile internet.

What Is the Term “Metaverse”?

There isn’t a single agreed-upon definition of a real “Metaverse,” except perhaps that it’s the internet’s fancier, more advanced successor. There has been a lot of chatter on the Metaverse, with Facebook and Microsoft both claiming ownership. But what is the Metaverse? And when will it get here?

Author Neal Stephenson first used the term “Metaverse” in his 1992 science fiction novel “Snow Crash,” in which he imagined lifelike avatars meeting in realistic 3D buildings and other virtual reality environments. A true Metaverse, an online virtual world that incorporates AR, VR, 3D holographic avatars, video, and other forms of communication, has been possible since then thanks to a variety of technological advancements. You will be able to coexist in a hyper-real alternative world as the Metaverse grows. A glimpse of the Metaverse can be found in online game universes like Minecraft, Roblox, and Fortnite. The developers of these games are eager to contribute to the growth of the Metaverse.

Microsoft Teams or Zoom, in many ways, are already a Metaverse. You may be a static image, an avatar, or a live video, but you are still present in the room. To put it another way, “bringing people together” in Metaverse is a broader term. Meetings, factory visits, onboarding, and training can all benefit from this device. Almost every HR and the talent-related program can be adapted to the Metaverse. In addition, the Metaverse is fully immersive with 3D glasses on.

There’s also the digital economy, where people can buy and sell goods through the internet. Metaverse interoperability allows you to move virtual clothing and automobiles from one platform to the next, according to more idealistic metaverse visions. Most platforms currently have virtual identities, avatars, and inventories that are tied to just one platform, but a metaverse may allow you to create a persona that you can take everywhere as quickly as you can copy your profile picture from one social network to another.”

When will we be able to see it?

Virtual Training in the Metaverse
Virtual Training

This could take anywhere from five to ten years, according to Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta (previously known as Facebook). However, there are already some facets of the Metaverse. Even though they may not be available to everyone, ultra-high-speed broadband, virtual reality headsets, and persistent, always-on online worlds are already up and running and ready for use.

“A metaverse” and “The Metaverse” are two distinct concepts. Even though they sound alike. Control is the main difference. A “metaverse” can be created by any corporation or group of programmers, just like a social network can be created by anyone. Servers, user behaviour, and virtual world rules are all governed by a single entity in these cases.

A completely open architecture, on the other hand, connects different entities and interoperable servers to a single shared Metaverse—the Metaverse—via a shared set of broadly agreed-upon standards. Successes such as the World Wide Web and email demonstrate how this is possible in the more prominent online world, but similar efforts to establish metaverse standards have largely failed.

Companies are currently following their FOMO and seeking first-mover advantage in the upcoming Metaverse, staking a claim to a brave new virtual world before the scaffolding is even fully built. While elements of Stephenson’s metaverse concept will continue to appear in a variety of online worlds, we won’t be living in a single, self-contained VR metaverse anytime soon.

What are the primary dangers of the Metaverse?

Disputes relating to intellectual property, data protection, content licensing, and crypto-assets are expected to arise in the Metaverse. A number of lawsuits will have to be fought in order to establish the rules for the Metaverse, such as the one that Roblox and the US National Music Publishers Association settled in September. Investing in a company that doesn’t know how to build a compelling metaverse is the biggest risk for investors.

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