Since Facebook announced its name change to Meta on October 28th 2021, this is a concept which is being talked up by some as the future of the internet. But what exactly metaverse is?
Neal Stephenson used the term ‘metaverse’ for the first time in his 1992 novel – Snow Crash. That refers to the vast 3D virtual world inhabited by real people’s avatars. You can walk in it, interact with others like you do in real life.
So basically, the metaverse is a new concept combining augmented and virtual reality technology in an online platform where you can create and explore with other people who aren’t in the same physical space as you. Metaverse has land, buildings, and avatars that can be bought and sold. So far the metaverse is also active in the economy in the context of using cryptocurrencies. It’s not necessarily about spending more time online — it’s about making the time you do spend online more meaningful.
Why Facebook changed their concept into Metaverse ?
According to Zuckerberg, although Facebook is an iconic social media brand, Facebook’s brand image never really describes what he and the rest of the team do. “Today we are seen as a social media company, but in our DNA we are a company that builds technology to connect people. And the metaverse is the next frontier, just like social networks were when we started.”
Instead of being on a computer, in the metaverse you might use a headset to enter a virtual world connecting all sorts of digital environments. This virtual world could be used for practically anything – work, play, concerts, cinema trips – or just hanging out. Even though there are so many ideas about what the metaverse might be, most visions see social human interaction as the core. Facebook has been experimenting with a VR meetings app called Workplace, and a social space called Horizons, both of which use their virtual avatar systems. The explosion of interest in NFTs, which may provide a way to reliably track ownership of digital goods, could point to how a virtual economy would work.
It could get confusing for many because when people reference the metaverse, they treat it like a single product or platform. Yet, we know of so many ‘metaverse’ platforms already, so what does Mark mean when he says no company is building the Metaverse independently?
The metaverse isn’t a single product one company can build alone. Just like the internet, the metaverse exists whether Facebook is there or not. Well, we can describe the metaverse in two ways. One is a direct parallel with the internet as we know it today, and the other is multiple products that act as online spaces where people can interact in immersive ways. So, let’s say the Metaverse (Capital ‘M’) is the internet; metaverses (small ‘m’) are platforms developed by Facebook, Microsoft, Nvidia, and co that give context and provide specialized products required for specific use cases. For instance, Meta’s Horizon Home is a metaverse world coming soon, which provides a recreational environment for online avatars to interact in social contexts.
Meanwhile, Microsoft’s Metaverse seems more suited to an enterprise environment where people in industries offices get work done virtually. There are also blockchain-based worlds, like Decentraland, which lets you buy virtual land. So all these ‘metaverses’, which can be paralleled as apps/sites on the internet, are products or services which will all exist on the Metaverse, the parallel version of the internet.
So now that we know what the Metaverse is let us look through the things you would need (maybe even just hypothetically) to get prepared on some level for the not-too-distant future of the internet.
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