What is the Metaverse

William Meller - What is the Metaverse
The metaverse is a parallel universe or multiple universes running through the internet, supporting persistent online 3-D virtual environments and augmented reality.

Let's imagine it was a tiring day for you. You come home, take an amazing and relaxing shower, and take on some comfortable clothes. You are alone and just want to disconnect from the world. Furthermore, you then put on your headphones with that music that turns your brain off. 

Turn on the video game and there's Mario, restarting that level you couldn't win the last time you played. Each enemy is in the same place, you even remember which bricks to hit and which to avoid, because it could be a trap. Nothing changes, and if all goes well, the princess will be recovered in the end. The same way even after 10 times playing that game.

This game universe is static. It only exists when you turn it on and no matter how many times you interact with it, the phases and characters will follow the algorithm written by someone else.

But imagine that when you turned on the video game to play Mario, the time had passed there just as it did for you. Mario is dehydrated and very hungry, he can't face the enemies with you today, after all, you left him two days without any interaction. Hopefully, no other enemies in the game have done anything to your character, but we are not sure if the princess is still alive.

Of course, this is a very foolish example. He mixes fantasy with second life, and the game in question didn't have that much artificial intelligence. But it is a good demonstration that a parallel universe always happens (always in parallel, obviously) with another universe or with the real world.

In 1992, the novel "Snow Crash" by Neal Stephenson coined the term "metaverse", in which he envisioned lifelike avatars who met in realistic 3D buildings and other virtual reality environments. Since then, different developments have made markers on the way toward a real metaverse, an online virtual world that incorporates augmented virtual reality, 3D holographic avatars, video, and other ways of communication. As the metaverse expands, it will offer a hyper-real alternative world for you to coexist in.

Some iterations of the metaverse involve integration between virtual and physical spaces and virtual economies, and in some limited form, have already been implemented in video games such as Second Life and are happening right now in online game universes such as Fortnite, Minecraft, and Roblox, and the companies behind those games have ambitions to be part of the evolution of the metaverse.  

Parallel worlds or parallel universes or multiple universes or alternate universes or the metaverse, megaverse, or multiverse—they’re all synonymous, and they’re all among the words used to embrace not just our universe but a spectrum of others that may be out there.

Supporters of the metaverse envision its users working, playing, and staying connected with friends through everything from concerts and conferences to virtual trips around the world. 

Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Meta (formerly Facebook), estimates it could take 5 to 10 years before the features of the metaverse become mainstream. But aspects of the metaverse currently exist. 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. 

The tech giant formerly known as Facebook has already made significant investments in virtual reality, including the 2014 acquisition of Oculus. Meta envisions a virtual world where digital avatars connect through work, travel or entertainment using VR headsets. Zuckerberg has been bullish on the metaverse, believing it could replace the internet as we know it.

It is important to note that the “Metaverse” is not owned by anyone person or company. There is no single creator, or developer.

According to Forbes, people are investing heavily in the space, and over 400 million dollars have been dropped on the metaverse’s chosen currency, the non-fungible token (or NFT). These dollars are moving every month now, and all the most expensive NFT transactions in history have occurred only within the last couple of months in 2021. Blockchain platforms are sprouting up all over the place, designed to be the backbone of their own virtual world, where people play games or whatever, and trade NFTs and cryptocurrency.

A total of $106 million was spent on virtual property in the first weeks of December (2021), with purchases of digital lands, luxury yachts, and other assets, according to data from DappRadar.

As the Metaverse concept evolves, there will be online spaces where interactions become even more multidimensional than in today’s existing technology. So, instead of just looking at digital content, you could immerse yourself in a place where the physical and digital worlds merge. It will just take the newer technology to support it. 

Some interesting facts:
  • $10 billion has already been invested in the Metaverse by Meta
  • Around 10,000 jobs will be created in a five-year period
  • The global Metaverse market is expected to be worth $280 billion by 2025
  • The word ‘Metaverse’ means ‘beyond the universe’

This entire Metaverse idea could basically reinvent the whole culture of the world at a large scale, and it is coming, no matter how people feel about it.

Okay, what is the Metaverse in one paragraph?

The Metaverse is a combination of multiple elements of technology, including virtual reality, augmented reality, and video where users "live" within a digital universe where there is no pause and no end, since the word ‘Metaverse’ means ‘beyond the universe’ and it does not have an owner.

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