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What Is the Metaverse? A New Reality Explained


But all this innovation makes it difficult to predict where the metaverse is heading. The early internet got started through linked web pages and the long-distance communication between computers. This evolved into the media-rich, dynamic websites, social networks, and apps that have completely altered how we work and live. Cryptocurrency and blockchain technology advancements will be critical to shaping the future of the metaverse, according to 70% of respondents.

What Is The Metaverse

Meta Platforms is planning on employing targeted advertising within their metaverse, raising further worries related to the spread of misinformation and loss of personal privacy. Abdulsattar Jaber, a professor at Iraq’s Middle Technical University, found that the new technology used by the metaverse may cause many problems related to the security and privacy of system users. The Metaverse is designed to become a parallel environment to today’s reality, where people can interact, work on projects, create business networks, and trade goods. Building it means creating a 3D space for users where they can enjoy their favorite games, socialize, trade digital assets, and tour real estate agents.

What is Augmented Reality?

Unlike motion-tracked digital avatars, which are kind of janky right now but could be better someday, there’s no janky version of making a three-dimensional picture appear in midair without tightly controlled circumstances. The metaverse aims to provide a way for people to have a consistent, expressible identity across all interconnected worlds. The metaverse will be created by multiple organizations, businesses, developers, and creators in a manner that will be seamlessly interconnected and interfacing.

What Is The Metaverse

You can design 3D assets for other users, create VR games, organize events with paid tickets, and rent or sell property to make money in the metaverse. Other games like Rec Room and Facebook’s Horizon Worlds provide similar experiences that allow you to interact, socialize, and play games with other people through a VR interface. Students can learn immersed in a virtual space, visiting historically accurate places and moments in time. Employees can train and develop their skills in virtual worlds, where no actual resources are being utilized, and, most importantly, there is no real exposure to dangerous situations.


Another indication of status was the ability to access certain restricted environments — a precursor to the paywalls and registration requirements some websites use today. The metaverse remains a domain of niche applications, used by consumers for entertainment and gaming but stopping well short of an all-encompassing virtual reality. So, how do tech companies show off the idea of their technology without showing the reality of bulky headsets and dorky glasses?

And the companies behind those games have ambitions to be part of the evolution of the metaverse. MMOs like WoW share an obvious kinship with metaverses in form, if not function. But there are closer analogues to be found in two post-Minecraft games that are hugely popular with kids. In both Roblox and Fortnite, your avatar, your presence, your customization choices, and your social connections are almost more important than the game itself — or the games, plural, in Roblox’s case. The reality, of course, is probably closer to the messy, sometimes grubby Second Life. Give humans a chance to build a world without restrictions, and they’ll either come up with a branding opportunity or a fetish dungeon.

  • In 2018, he netted his first Roblox paycheck—for $7—though he says his parents didn’t believe it was real because, unable to withdraw it from PayPal, he could only spend it on digital goods.
  • But wait, now Ready Player One isn’t a metaverse and virtual worlds don’t have to be 3D?
  • Since the metaverse already exists in the highly immersive world of gaming, there’s technically no metaverse release date.
  • Currently, some aspects of the metaverse are integrated into existing internet-enabled video games such as Second Life, Minecraft, and Fortnite.
  • Historically, companies have been hesitant to allow their assets to be compatible with a competitor’s ecosystem.
  • As metaverse environments get more sophisticated, tools like the Nvidia Omniverse will be essential for metaverse creation.

It could be the internet’s 3D future, but the metaverse has a long way to go before its potential is realised. It is an independent virtual economy, enabled by digital currencies and non-fungible tokens . Blockchain technology is built to be a far more secure and private way to share information, but every tech has its flaws. In addition, laws regarding What Is The Metaverse digital privacy rights are in flux, and there are many questions about the legality of data privacy in the metaverse. Remember, “internet” didn’t mean much at first either, and eventually people settled on a universal understanding of the term. Certainly, some are drawn to VR to experience heightened escapism or to interact with others virtually.

What is the metaverse? A (kind of) simple explainer

But it was Facebook’s 2021 rebrand to Meta that catapulted the idea of the metaverse into the larger public consciousness. One of the metaverse’s key benefits is supposed to be “presence” — a sense that you’re physically engaging with places and people instead of watching them through a window. Gathering your co-workers around a virtual table in a service like Spatial and Facebook Horizon, for instance, could feel more natural to some people than looking at a grid of Zoom thumbnails. Epic could try to implement a shared item library for its popular Unreal Engine, for example. New AI visual filters could tweak a single 3D model to match different world designs the way existing ones turn selfies into anime.

Digital privacy experts also continue to point out that the metaverse would be the ultimate surveillance tool. Though accessing the metaverse from your smartphone, tablet or computer would mean taking away from the immersive aspect, it’s a good way to test the waters and see what the hype is all about. Essentially, the metaverse is supposed to be a 3D version of the internet that is seen as the logical next stage of development, and would ideally be accessed through a single gateway. Interactive gameplay and simulations could speed up learning and improve outcomes by, for instance, enabling employees to learn how to operate equipment as if in «real life» or to practice a sales pitch for a big-money client. While the basic idea of being able to engage in a virtual online world has been around for many years, a true metaverse where lifelike interactions are possible seems years away.

The concept was an early metaverse experience created by the San Francisco firm Linden Lab, and was one of the first popular examples of the virtual economy as users bought tokens to buy things in the game. A metaverse is a virtual reality simulation that can be used for various purposes, from entertainment and social networking to education and business. It is a 3D virtual world created and maintained by users and can be explored and interacted with just like the physical world.

What Is The Metaverse

The first challenge will be the accessibility of the hardware it requires. Then there’s the need for interoperability – allowing you to take virtual items like clothes or cars from one platform to another. There will be legal and commercial challenges too, apart from figuring who will act as the police out here. Also, there’s no guarantee that people will want to hang out in the metaverse. Within the metaverse, individual users appear as avatars of any form, with the sole restriction of height, «to prevent people from walking around a mile high». OpenXR is an open standard for access to virtual and augmented reality devices and experiences.

What is the Metaverse?

The term “metaverse” first appeared in author Neal Stephenson’s 1992 science-fiction novel Snowcrash, which describes a future where millions of people use virtual avatars to participate in a cyberspace realm. This concept was further popularized in another sci-fi novel, Earnest Cline’s 2011 Ready Player One, in which everyday people strap on VR headsets and log into a virtual world to live out their fantasies. Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of the newly named Meta , estimates it could take five to 10 years before the key features of the metaverse become mainstream. Ultra-fast broadband speeds, virtual reality headsets and persistent always-on online worlds are already up and running, even though they may not be accessible to all.

It is a hypothetical iteration of the internet as a universal and immersive virtual world focused on social connection. As the metaverse grows, it may likely create online spaces where user interactions are more multidimensional than current technology supports. In simple terms, the metaverse will allow users to go beyond just viewing digital content, users in the metaverse will be able to immerse themselves in a space where the digital and physical worlds converge. The metaverse refers to an immersive and persistent three-dimensional virtual realm, shared with many users, that spans various digital platforms and merges with the physical world, where people can shop, work, play and hang out together in real time.

The Windmill Factory, the New York production company which began developing the platform more than a year ago, has done projects for Lady Gaga and Nine Inch Nails. The metaverse is expected to be an equivalent watershed, and lots of businesses want to get ahead of that. “The fact that we’re surrounded by a global layer that’s there at all times,” Mr. Tehranian said, referring to the Ethereum blockchain, “where there’s no central party that determines whether or not something is available or not? ” That, he said, is the antidote to the digital world we already live in — one that he describes as akin to a metaverse but “with dictators” .

Improving the link between the physical and digital world requires a certain level of computing sophistication. It can help with natural language processing to ensure our machines and robotics can understand us. Meta debuted the Presence Platform at Connect 2021, which powers AR/MR Metaverse content using the Meta Quest Pro headset. Concept in the digital landscape, promising exceptional opportunities for billions of people via interconnected Web3 services and technology.

Are We in the Metaverse Yet?

The environment also provides an excellent landscape for developing and testing new technology, like XR mechanics, content moderation, and cryptocurrency. For those interested in investing in the metaverse, companies like Meta Platforms , Microsoft , Roblox , Nike , and Nvidia are all investment opportunities that have or are developing metaverse-related products and services. There’s also been a rise in the buying of land or real estate in the metaverse as an investment, but it is also new and untested as a profitable investment vehicle. Many social media and tech companies such as Meta Platforms and Microsoft are investing heavily in Social VR to create platforms where people can connect socially or work remotely.


Assets within the metaverse are sometimes traded as non-fungible tokens and track ownership using blockchain technology. Epic Games’ vision of the metaverse differs from Meta’s in that it wants to provide a communal space for users to interact with each other and brands — without a news feed riddled with ads. The internet is something that people «browse,» but people can «live» in the metaverse to a degree. The growth of the internet has spawned many services that are leading the way to the creation of the metaverse.

Augmented Reality

Beyond that, people have to be persuaded that this is something they want. The technology through which we access these worlds needs to be at least as comfortable and convenient to use as a smartphone, and as portable, or it will seem like a backward step from the mobile internet it’s supposed to be replacing. And while the science-fiction appeal of such a virtual world might seem obvious on the surface, you have to question how deep the desire to spend time there really goes.

Was the Viral Metaverse Rave Fun? An Investigation

Epic Games, makers of the popular online shooter game Fortnite — with some 350 million users — and the Unreal Engine software for game developers, planned to stake a claim in the metaverse following a $1 billion round of funding in 2021. «In gaming, you see Roblox, Minecraft and other immersive video games — and even Zoom — foreshadow what the metaverse is designed to offer,» said Ben Bajarin, CEO and analyst at Creative Strategies. In her article «7 top technologies for metaverse development,» technology writer Esther Shein explained that industry watchers shy away from codifying the technologies that will power the metaverse. This is in part because the metaverse is evolving and partly because many of the tools driving the metaverse are themselves made up of multiple technologies. In Stephenson’s dystopian view of the future, Snow Crash, people gained status based on the technical skill of their avatars.

Sweeney told The Washington Post that present-day social media has “trapped” companies and users in walled gardens and bombarded them with ads. Roblox designers make money that’s not ad-driven by selling digital goods in their individual worlds and letting the company take a cut. Proponents of new options like NFTs see them as a viable alternative to ad-supported systems, although NFTs have potential negative side effects of their own. A third option, available in the popular virtual world VRChat, is having players or third-party designers upload their own 3D models with a specific set of characteristics.

Following the pandemic, companies are adopting immersive tools for improving workflows between on-site and at-home employees. Many firms pack geo-tagged AR/MR experiences with social features that enable users to communicate with each other. For firms, AR/MR-based Metaverse experience provides a more engaging and accessible marketing route into shared immersive experiences thanks to its less hardware-intensive requirements.

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