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WHAT EXACTLY IS THE METAVERSE?

WHAT EXACTLY IS THE METAVERSE?

Recently the term metaverse has become very popular after the social media giant Facebook Inc. re-branded its name to Meta to incorporate all their apps, technologies and products such as the Oculus Quest together under one brand. I believe you’ve definitely heard it or read it somewhere on your social media platforms.

So what exactly is the metaverse? The truth be laid out that there is no standard or a universally agreed definition of the metaverse. What proponents of the metaverse do agree on is that it would be the successor of the internet. It would not actually replace the internet completely, rather it would be built on it.

What you regard as the metaverse is only the beginning of it. Currently the metaverse doesn’t really exist, it’s a vision of the future. The technology to power and run a fully functional metaverse hasn’t been achieved yet but the progress is gaining momentum.

Origin of the Metaverse

The term ‘metaverse’ was first coined in 1992 by Neal Town Stephenson an American writer specializing in speculative fiction. In his novel ‘Snow Crash’, Stephenson described the metaverse as “a three-dimensional (3D) virtual world inhabited by avatars of real people?” If you’re wondering what an avatar is check one of the descriptive definitions below.

According to Merriam Webster Dictionary, an avatar is an icon or figure representing a particular person in a video game, internet forum etc. A good example is in video games where you create/set an embodiment or manifestation of yourself to represent you in the game.

Another origin of the term metaverse is in a novel ‘Ready Player One’ by Earnest Cline in 2011. The Ready Player science fiction movie is also based on the same Earnest Cline’s novel. Cline portrays a virtual world named the OASIS which is symbolic to the metaverse.

Some popular definitions of the metaverse

Matthew Ball, an investor and managing partner of VC firm EpyllionCo, describes the metaverse in his 33,000 word-primer series on the Metaverse-‘The Metaverse Primer’ – describes the metaverse as being “like the internet, the mobile internet, processes of electrification and a network of interconnected experiences, applications, devices & products, tools and infrastructure.”

He further defines it as “a massively scaled and interoperable network of real-time rendered 3D virtual worlds which can be experienced synchronously and persistently by an effectively unlimited number of users and with continuity of  data such as identity, history, entitlements, objects, communications and payments.

   Meta formerly Facebook describes the metaverse as “a set of virtual spaces where you can create and explore with other people who aren’t in the same physical space as you.

Mark Zuckerberg the CEO of Meta further describes that “In the metaverse, you’ll be able to do almost everything you can imagine — get together with friends and family, work, learn, play, shop, create — as well as completely new experiences that don’t really fit how we think about computers or phones today.”

So is Meta/Facebook the Metaverse?

Don’t mistake Meta Inc formerly Facebook as the metaverse. It isn’t the metaverse. It’s like saying Alphabet’s Google is the the internet! Isn’t Google the internet! No Google is just a platform (a search engine) on the internet just like Microsoft Bing.

Is Virtual Reality the Metaverse?

Virtual reality products like Facebook’s Oculus Quest have been mistaken to the metaverse but they are not.  VR – “a three dimensional (3D) computer generated environment which can be explored and interacted with by a person.” – is simply a way of experiencing the metaverse.

Then is the metaverse the video games?

Users will play thousands of games in the metaverse but these games aren’t the metaverse.

Examples of games in the metaverse: Fortnite, Roblox, Axie, Dawn of the majesty etc.

 

The truth be told that the metaverse infrastructure is so diverse and vast that it cannot be built by just one tech company but a number of them.

Sources

  1. The Verge
  2. The Metaverse Premier

 

        I hope you found this article informative. For more insights and articles like this tune in our previous and next ones.

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