As the name suggests, “Metaverse” is a combination of two terms: Meta as “beyond”, before something, and “Verse” as an abbreviation of Universe. The name itself speaks of an entirely new dimension of the experience of using the Internet, social networks, and a new dimension of the experience of virtual reality. The text is an attempt to clarify which technologies participate in the creation of the Metaverse and what you get by using virtual reality, artificial intelligence, profiles created on social networks.
How Did We Get to the “Metaverse”
The people in the cinema fled after one of the first movies was screened, fearing the train on the screen was heading straight for them. The release of one of the first shots on the cinema screen seemed so “realistic”.
If you have a slightly more vivid imagination, you could imagine yourself in the plot of the book you are reading or build the world around you, to better enjoy the story you are following.
Since 1929, we have been introduced to technologies that were a precursor to virtual reality, when the first machine was constructed that gave the passenger the feeling of flying a plane. Thereafter, in 1960, a device was constructed that, using light, sound, movement, and smell, drew participants to ride a motorcycle through Brooklyn, New York, and other cities. Innovations from the 1960s and 1970s contributed to the advancement and development of virtual reality to clarify how a computer can provide insight into the virtual world as a window.
Subsequently, the first Head-Mounted Display was created, a device is worn on the head as part of a helmet, with vision settings for one (monocular) or both eyes (binocular). To newer generations, this device is known as the forerunner of what we know as VR glasses.
The experience of life through artificial intelligence (AI) harmonizes thoughts with devices that make our lives easier because they recognize needs and translate them into voluntary actions.
Already, several names and definitions of Metaverse are recognized. You can also find it under the name:
- The Mirror world,
- Magicverse or
- Live maps, but
According to the writings of the media that deal with this issue, it is coming, it is more and more present, and it can radically change our lives! Currently, you can feel the benefits of using the Internet only when you access it. However, with the combination of devices and technology that surrounds us, it will be a complete experience.
What Does Metaverse Look like Today?
The novel Snow Crash by Neal Stephensons is considered a Cyberpunk classic, the originator of the Cyberpunk movement, and an inspiration to many futurists and innovators. Written 30 years in advance, it describes the world in 2021 and the possibilities of living in two parallel universes – literally and figuratively. Although it has its story of the life of avatars in virtual reality managed by people in that real world, Snow Crash was just the basis for the idea to develop and become real.
A single definition is very difficult since the final form of Metaverse does not yet exist. It represents the dream of futurists and virtual reality designers, whose goal is for each of us to have our digital avatar with a duplicate of personality in the virtual world, as well as a duplicate of home, workplace…
The companies that have the most to gain by developing a metaverse define it differently. Facebook, which may have the most interest in creating this technology, sees the thing very simply:
"The "Metaverse" is a set of virtual spaces where you can create and explore with other people who aren't in the same physical space as you."
It is not one product, nor can it be built by one company. The construction of the “Metaverse” is expected in the next 10 to 15 years, and during that time, you can hang out, play with your friends, try on clothes online, do your shopping. It's not about spending more time online, but using your time online meaningfully and wisely. That's what Facebook's creators explain: “We've designed Metaverse not, so you can spend more time online, but to make it worthwhile.”
For example – Fortnite?
We naively think it is just a game. But Fortnite is a stable Universe, made up of a community of players, sponsors, and an audience that grows daily. Competing players share their results on social media – they are superstars! In addition to awards, recognition, and reputation for skills and dexterity in the game, they receive offers from sponsors that are in the millions. This already proves the popularity of the game and the world in which it is built. The prize fund alone exceeded sums that can be imagined.
According to the “Road to VR” portal, Fortnite has grown from a game into a social experience. The new round of financing included an additional $ 200 million investment by Strategic Group Corporation. Last year, Sony already invested in the company Epic, which makes “Fortnite”. All this leads to the conclusion that over $ 1B is invested in this “social experience”.
The company, which was based on building metaverses around today’s most popular game, has sparked greater involvement, building the universe on a non-gamers experience, such as concerts and film promotions.
In February 2019, one such concert attracted an audience of over 10 million spectators. Generations living in today's time are at the crossroads of two worlds: the real and the virtual. They don't seem to have a problem with diving into the latter.
This is not the only parallel world, as other companies are developing their products, raising funds, and developing details, such as HTC's Viveport Verse and the Mastodon social network, which is considered the base of the company's network of service users, which investors have recognized. They are willing to invest in it.
Who Benefits from Metaverse?
Companies that invest in elements of “extended reality”, as the academic community calls Metaverse, are the ones that can lose the most if this story fails and does not get the attention it deserves.
Then why do companies like:
- Sony and
Are investing in Metaverse? Because the ultimate goal is to connect all services and desired actions and transfer them to the sphere of their services, to simplify activities.
According to MIT Press, the academic community explains this theory as “technological determinism”, i.e., that the advancement of technology affects our social life, power relations, and culture, with us as ordinary travelers. The goal of Metaverse is to unite our worlds into one, to facilitate and simplify activities and achieve goals through the cooperation of services offered.
Possible outcomes of the Metaverse are:
- Higher level of privacy in public places,
- Advertisements popping up from every corner
- A small number of companies investing in these technologies have more power than individual countries,
- The virtual world takes precedence over the real, which is not exactly an option that protects the environment.
The latter happens because, although it seems to us like “pure technology”, the use of the device leaves a “carbon footprint” which causes a greenhouse effect, according to the BBC portal.
The Future Has Arrived, What should We do with This Information?
The change was the cause of every (first, second, third industrial revolution) and by the time you get this far with reading this text, it is clear to you that we are at a turning point and a historical moment that surrounds us. Even if you are not interested, you must know the facts about the harmonization of technologies of different companies. They offer services that can be combined and coordinated with others. The combination of these technologies is called “Metaverse”. Even if you don't think so, here are some facts that will convince you that this theory is realistic and possible:
According to a 2021 survey on the use of social media conducted by the Pew Research Center, about 70% of American adults use one of the social networks. In the study, older respondents used Facebook and Instagram, and younger users Snapchat and TikTok. Some respondents even used neighbouring applications like Nextdoor. According to the researchers, these results have remained consistent for the past five years.
Although there is a prejudice that gamers are independent, unfriendly, these games help them connect in the community and exchange experiences, skills, and knowledge. As Sean Campbell writes in his text, about 71% of people consider other players as their friends, with whom they hang out. On the other hand, about 60% of the interlocutors say that they are better people in real life, because of everything they learned while playing “Fortnite”. Although they don't spend time together, gamers still hang out, only in a slightly different form than the older generations are used to.
If you are dealing with technology services that may be compatible with “Metaverse” services or plan to learn more about what it means and what benefits you can get from it, now is the best time to find your place. You can create the brand or space you are building according to the requirements of the new generations (Gen Z), who will create their digital avatar according to market instructions, lead parallel lives in the real and virtual world and make more and more demands. However, you should listen carefully to the younger generations so that your efforts do not fail or turn out to be false.