Metaverse is not necessarily a new term. In fact, it has been around for over two decades.
Still, many people are confused about what this term really means. When you Google, “what is the metaverse?”, you’ll get different answers from various websites.
For example, Wikipedia describes it as “the next hypothesized iteration of the internet, supporting decentralized, persistent online 3-D virtual environments that are accessible through virtual reality headsets, augmented reality glasses, smartphones, PCs, and game consoles.”
You can read that definition and still be confused about what the term really means, despite how good you are in English. Lucky for you, we’re here.
We’re going to explain this concept in terms everyone can understand.
From the various definitions that have been given to the term and the history of the word, we can all agree that metaverse is a fusion between two worlds, the real and virtual world.
Therefore, we can simply define it as a virtual space that is available as an addition to the real world like augmented reality, but the space can exist on itself, which means like virtual reality.
This virtual space is shared by the users who also continue helping it grow.
This means that in a metaverse world, you can own virtual goods, including real estate and other objects, and you can sell them in exchange for virtual currency for the specific universe or even sell them for real money.
Who coined the term?
As aforementioned, the term metaverse has been around for at least two decades, even though it has only become quite popular in recent years.
This term came to be thanks to Neal Stephenson, who used the term in his 1992 novel, Snow-Crash. In his book, characters use avatars to explore the world in order to escape the harsh reality in the real world.
Fast forward about 30 years later, giant tech companies like Facebook, Roblox, Microsoft, and Epic Games are planning to come up with their own to help people escape their realities.
Will we ever live in the metaverse?
If there’s one thing that the world over the years has taught us is never to underestimate what modern technology is capable of.
If you would’ve told someone in the 1970s that a phone would be used to browse the internet or one could simply connect with people from all over the world via social media, they probably would’ve told you that you’re dreaming.
Fast forward 30 or so, tears later from then, and all those things are a reality now.
Therefore, it is only logical to say that it is pretty possible to live in the metaverse in the near future.
It will probably not be like in the movies or science fiction books, but it will be something close.
As of now, many challenges are making the existence with no barriers possible such as the feasibility of having too many participants, latency issues, as well as language barriers.
Still, living in a meta-world is more than possible, especially after the Covid-19 pandemic, which has accelerated the need for it even more.
Who knows, maybe in the next few years, we will be sharing experiences such as music concerts in our avatars instead of actually attending the event.
Real World Examples
Over the years, there have been various examples of the metaverse, especially in the entertainment industry. A perfect example is a novel by Ernest Cline, Ready Player One, which was later adapted into a movie.
To be exact, the novel is set in the future, 2045, and people find a way to escape the real world that has been destroyed by war, climate change, and poverty.
They take refuge in a fictional role-playing game known as OASIS, where they dive into the virtual society that has even its own currency.
In another dimension, Fortnite is another example of the metaverse. Right now, it’s more than just a game, and in 2020, the platform proved so when 12.3 million people attended a concert by Travis Scott that was held within Fortnite, making it the most significant event in the history of the game.
Another example is IMVU. It is a virtual life in 3-D simulation whereby people create avatars that reflect their style and interact with other people’s avatars, shop, and hang out with other people.
People on this platform can also earn real money by coming up with virtual products that they can sell for a price.
Other examples of metaverses include Somnium Space, Facebook Horizon, now called Horizon Worlds (still in beta version), avatar movies, and more.
What is the metaverse in Facebook?
Recently, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that he’s changing the name of Facebook to Meta as a start to the vision that Facebook has been moving towards, hoping to revolutionize the internet for everyone.
Facebook has been investing in metaverse in recent years, and just recently, they brought around 10,000 engineers to help build a metaverse.
One thing that the company has come close to creating a metaverse is Facebook Horizon which was launched in 2019. Two years later, Facebook launched Horizon Workrooms in August 2021.
This feature allows co-workers to wear headsets and hold meetings in a virtual room. In this meeting, the workers appear in cartoonish 3-D versions of themselves.
Therefore, metaverse in Facebook is just the company creating a virtual reality world to revolutionize the internet experience for all its users.
What is the metaverse in Crypto?
For metaverse to be successful, it will require financial services, permissionless identity, and high-speed exchange.
Data from millions of people will be stored and then served to them. While the current currency is effective in the real world, the kind of exchange that many metaverses will require will be more suitable for cryptocurrency.
In fact, several companies that have developed virtual worlds such as The Sandbox and Decentraland have integrated cryptocurrency so that their gamers can create various virtual structures, including casinos and theme parks, and then monetize them.
For example, in Decentraland, the currency used there is referred to as MANA, and it is powered by the crypto Euthereum blockchain. While no one is pretty certain how the metaverses will look like, one thing that is certain is that cryptocurrency will be of importance.
What is the metaverse in Roblox?
Roblox and Fortnite are two of the biggest competitors in the metaverse space as of 2021.
Millions of players from both games hang out with each other playing the games and attending concerts whenever possible. While the two games are focused on different game modes, they are still competitors in the meta world.
Roblox users have their own avatars representing them, and Roblox just announced that it would overhaul its system to make the avatars even more attractive and give more freedom to the players.
One will even be able to create avatars of monsters as well and customize them as much as they want. Then, one can go ahead and sell the avatars they make and earn royalties from their sales.
What is the metaverse in Epic Games?
Back in April 2021, various companies gave Epic Games $1 billion to help the company accomplish its goals for the future, and those goals aligned with metaverse.
As aforementioned, Fortnite is one great example of current metaverses in the world. Fortnite is from Epic Games, and the investment will help even improve the metaverse in Fortnite and other games from the company such as Fall Guys and Rocket League.
Tim Sweeney, the CEO of Epic Games, intends to create a metaverse where people can interact in real-time and one that will have its own economy and where platforms will all be interconnected.
What is the metaverse in gaming?
The term metaverse is often used to describe gaming worlds such as Roblox and Fortnite. In metaverse gaming worlds, users in the games have characters who can interact with other characters in the game that are controlled by other players.
While the metaverses in the gaming world are not perfect yet, these companies, such as Epic Games, are investing millions to make metaverse a reality.
They may not be as articulate as science fiction authors and movie makers have portrayed, but they will definitely be something close to that, and many people will be willing to give it a try.
Will the metaverse ever be a reality?
Well, we can’t say this for certain, but from what history has taught us, the possibility of metaverse coming to reality is very high. In the metaverse, you’ll be able to attend a virtual concert, take a trip online, create artwork, and even try our digital clothes. Furthermore, metaverse could make working from home even more fun, whereby all workers meet in a virtual office.
Companies such as Facebook, Epic Games, and Microsoft are investing in the metaverse, and when such great companies start investing in something, it can only mean that metaverse coming to reality is even closer than many people think.