It is the universe parallel to our own, where we will develop and interact as in real life, indulging in socializing, playing and even working. This is the new Holy Grail of the Internet that people like Mark Zuckerberg want to achieve.
Origins of the Metaverse
The first appearance of the term metaverse was in Neil Stephenson’s book Snow Crash “The Virtual Samurai”. In this visionary novel published in 1992, citizens used digital avatars to explore a virtual world online and were escaping reality.
In Snow Crash, it seemed that the global economy had collapsed and governments had lost most of their power to a small number of mega-corporations. Therefore, the metaverse was their way of escaping reality. The protagonist of the novel, Hiro Protagonist, spends most of his time there wearing his glasses and headphones.
Another example, Steven Spielberg’s movie Ready Player One (2018), conveyed a particular vision of such a concept. There was a virtual world Oasis, into which the hero of the film willingly plunged. However, this parallel world was devoted above all to the game.
Adaptations become reality for Metaverse
At the end of October 2021, Mark Zuckerberg brought the concept of Facebook to the fore when he announced the creation of such a parallel world.
The company even changed its name to adopt Meta’s name and better signify its intention to develop an environment that will be the future of online socializing.
Zuckerberg defined the metaverse as: “You can do almost anything you can imagine. Get together with friends and family, work, learn, play, shop, create”.
For Zuckerberg, the metaverse seems like a natural evolution of Facebook, and they serve the same purpose.
Lifting borders and bringing people together. To this extent, it stands out as a virtual environment where people can wander, meet and interact with people whenever they want.
What does the metaverse universe promise?
Three points seem important for participation in a meta universe.
1. Dive into the meta universe
Mark Zuckerberg made this clear: “Users will need to feel immersed in this universe. So, as soon as you step into it, you find yourself in this universe. All reality perceived and heard during this experience is that of the meta-universe. You can touch and feel objects.
To this extent, we can compare the metaverse to a virtual reality experience that will be deployed on a very large scale. For the record, virtual reality consists of describing an artificial environment created entirely from computer-generated images.
2. An open and permanent world
Anyone should be able to join and instantly leave the metastore at any time. And in this world, we will have our avatar, which can be a copy of ourselves, or an artificial character that we embody. Thanks to this avatar, the person will be involved in competitions, educational activities and even work.
3. Persistent objects
The house you live in, the streets you walk in your favorite neighborhood, the things you own are all there permanently. Artwork displayed in your living room, a specific vehicle, armor that can be used in video games, etc., thanks to NFTs. You can have unique items.
Who is building the metaverse universe?
In addition to Facebook, here are some major companies that will be active in creating metadata:
- Epic Games, creator of popular Fortnite, which raised $1 billion in April 2021 and plans to invest primarily to transform this game into a metaverse;
- Roblox, another publisher that aims to improve its online game in a way that facilitates relationships similar to the ones we have in real life;
- OVR platform covering the whole world: you can buy land, build buildings, create online events…
- Magic Leap, who created an alternate reality platform and hired Neil Stephenson as its chief visionary;
- Microsoft. The Windows publisher wants to adapt the Teams video conferencing app primarily to make it a metadata store dedicated to business;
- In November 2021, Disney announced that it was joining the movement, without giving details about its technological approach.
And many more big companies have announced that they will join this universe.
A combination of high technologies
Metaverse is a process that often points to many years in the future, as many existing technologies will need to mature before such a parallel universe can be deployed.
If tracking accessories and touch systems are part of it, it also needs to improve on everything broadband-related.
In addition to fiber optics, 5G and perhaps even 6G will be key components of such an equation. And it is likely that these technologies will develop rapidly in the coming period.