The metaverse definition can be described as a digital environment that is simulated through the use of augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and blockchain technology, combined with social media concepts in order to design spaces for users to interact in a digital space that mimics the real world. That’s a mouthful. In other words, the metaverse is a digital space where users can interact without having to physically go anywhere. They create an avatar that represents them and that is used for these digital interactions in this digital environment.
The term “metaverse” was first used in Neal Stephenson’s 1992 sci-fi novel “Snow Crash”. In the book, the author describes the metaverse as a whole digital world that parallels the real world. The venture capitalist, Mathew Ball defined the metaverse as a “3D version of the Internet and computing at large”. This 3D description is accepted by many experts as the metaverse will make it possible for us to visualize our digital life across the internet. So, in some ways, it can grow to become the digital world that parallels the real world as Neal Stephenson envisioned.
In order to understand how the metaverse works, we can try some comparisons. Those that saw the movie “Ready Player One” might find it easier to comprehend the concept. Only that is easily accessible and more pragmatic. So far, people haven’t started fights in the metaverse. Unlike social media platforms, the metaverse doesn’t only have groups where people can chat via written message, audio, or videocalls, but an actual virtual space where your avatar interacts with someone else’s avatar.
So far, there is no single gateway to access this digital world but some gadgets can allow users to get immersed in a private experience. The Oculus headsets or other VR equipment can make it possible for users to experience virtual spaces, but virtual interaction is only possible through games so far. While video games can be used to strengthen the bond between parents and children, these games are strategic, violent, or otherwise not PG-13. VR videos however can be educational. Like, imagine seeing elephants walking by you or swimming with a whale shark. There are multiple platforms where you can experience extended reality, but not one single portal where people can gather to socialize or interact in various forms. Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta promises to provide this type of platform but others are venturing down that path as well.
However, experts argue against the need for a VR headset to enter the metaverse as the primary way to access it will be via smartphone, even if in a more passive manner. Still, how you connect with it depends on how immersive you want the experience to be. Smartphones already allow us to access 3D virtual worlds, so they will likely continue to be the preferred gateway. Still, without a visual rendering platform, the experience will not transport us into virtual reality. The movie “Free Guy” does a great job of portraying a virtual reality that’s accessible through some type of eyewear.
Experts determined that the metaverse has the potentialto impact the way in which we inhabit the world around us. With a functional metaverse easily accessible, people will have the opportunity to not only use two-dimensional digital space but immersive three-dimensional ones as well. We will be able to occasionally inhabit these three-dimensional spaces through gadgets that will allow us to see ourselves in that digital reality. Digital designers and content creators should expect new job opportunities as 3D modeling and world-builders will be needed in the Virtual Reality industry. The virtual world will provide new economic opportunities that will be created, enhanced, and traded through digital currency, unlike the ones in the real world, money or cryptocurrency, that already has a few real estate agents friendly towards it.
Still, new technologies need to be developed in order to become a part of this metaverse. Simply having your own digital avatar to simulate your presence in this digital world is more complicated in Virtual Reality than it is to post a profile picture on Facebook. At last, just like how the real world is affected by digital hacking, the digital world could be that much more exposed to it. Topics like data privacy, diversity, security, and ethics are all transported into the virtual world through our participation. These and other challenges are still to be tackled which may be why the general public is yet unable to purchase property in the virtualworld.
Through the metaverse, people are allowed to interact with each other and build their dream digital spaces on different platforms. The dream digital spaces can be built to look like anything from haunted houses to commercial districts with virtual office spaces. Those interested in purchasing virtual real estate should browse the four platforms that offer these purchasing opportunities. While Decentraland and The Sandbox are in the commercial spotlight right now, CryptoVoxels and Somnium Space are trying to make a name for themselves as well.
Only the future will tell how the metaverse will grow in time. When the internet came along everyone was speculating about how it will affect the real world and this is likely to happen with the metaverse as well. It’s a new thing that will change our world and we can still decide on how this impact will affect us.