What is Metaverse?
Referring to Wikipedia, A metaverse is a network of 3D virtual worlds focused on social connection. In futurism and science fiction, the term is often described as a hypothetical iteration of the Internet as a single, universal virtual world that is facilitated by the use of virtual and augmented reality headsets (Hardware).
The term metaverse can be traced back to Neal Stephenson and his dystopian cyberpunk novel Snow Crash. The novel was released in 1992, and it’s considered a canon of the genre, along with William Gibson’s Neuromancer, which describes a virtual reality dataspace called the matrix.
As per "The Verge"; There’s no universally accepted definition of a real “metaverse,” except maybe that it’s a fancier successor to the internet. Silicon Valley metaverse proponents sometimes reference a description from venture capitalist Matthew Ball, author of the extensive Metaverse Primer:
“The Metaverse is an expansive network of persistent, real-time rendered 3D worlds and simulations that support continuity of identity, objects, history, payments, and entitlements, and can be experienced synchronously by an effectively unlimited number of users, each with an individual sense of presence.”
Facebook, arguably the tech company with the biggest stake in the metaverse, describes it more 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.”
There are also broader metaverse-related taxonomies like one from game designer Raph Koster, who draws a distinction between “online worlds,” “multiverses,” and “metaverses.” To Koster, online worlds are digital spaces — from rich 3D environments to text-based ones — focused on one main theme. Multiverses are “multiple different worlds connected in a network, which do not have a shared theme or ruleset,” including Ready Player One’s OASIS. And a metaverse is “a multiverse which interoperates more with the real world,” incorporating things like augmented reality overlays, VR dressing rooms for real stores, and even apps like Google Maps.
ATD provided a list of the properties of the metaverse for better clarity:
3D virtual worlds
Unlimited number of users
Individual sense of presence
Continuity of data
On the other hand, the Financial Times article tries to explain the economy of Metaverse saying: Metaverses have existed for decades in the form of multiplayer online games. But we may soon enter an age of immersive experience hardly distinguishable from our real world – fostering new modes of interaction for gamers and non-gamers alike.
Prototype next-generation metaverses such as Decentraland and Somnium Space already show the beginnings of true society, with individuals settling land, interacting socially, exchanging goods and asserting ownership rights. Any society (physical or virtual) needs a functional economy. And in the metaverse, the economy depends on authentication of digital properties, such as one’s metaverse home, car, farm, books, clothing and furniture. To flourish, it also needs the ability to travel and trade freely between realms that might have different laws and rules. (FT.COM)
Since metaverse is the convergence of physical, augmented, and virtual realities in a shared online space, it can be used in any environment where humans want to interact socially and economically. This includes, but is not limited to, games, corporate, healthcare, shopping, entertainment, and travel to name a few.
The metaverse is all about digital identities in a virtual world, with people owning digital assets. Being able to verify the ownership of those assets, and the privacy and security of the users’ details, that’s where Blockchain Technology comes into the picture.
Some key aspects of how Blockchain Technology would support Metaverse are:
Authentication of assets ownership.
Assets Exchange between users.
Interoperability between multiple universes (platforms).
DAO’s for governance.
An additional layer of security and encryption.
- Wikipedia — definition of Avatar
- Facebook rebranding to Meta announcement
- Connect 2021 — Mark Zuckerberg video
- NFTs: The metaverse economy
- New York Times article on metaverse gaming
- If we build the metaverse, will anybody come?
- Variety article on Fortnite live musical event
- ATD (Association of Talent Development) article on the metaverse
- Coindesk article on NFT/Metaverse