What is a Metaverse?
A metaverse is a virtual world that exists beyond the physical world. It is an online ‘place’ where people exist in digital forms and interact with each other in virtual environments and where they can meet, play games, or shop.
It can be experienced through virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR).
The long answer:
The prefix, meta, means “beyond.” When combined with “verse” (from universe), it refers to a virtual space that exists beyond the physical world.
It is a type of online virtual world in which people can interact with each other in digital forms. These digital forms are known as avatars. In a metaverse, they allow people to do things such as play games, shop, and explore different digital environments.
Moreover, a metaverse can be experienced through virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR). It is typically made up of three layers:
- Physical layer: the physical environment, such as the home, in which the user is located.
- A digital layer: the digital environment in which people can interact such as a virtual shopping mall, meeting room, garden, or café.
- Social layer: made of the people using the metaverse.
The concept of the metaverse is not new. However, it has only recently become more popular and available. This is thanks to advances in technology and the creation of more immersive and interactive virtual worlds.
History of Metaverses
The idea of the metaverse can be traced back to the science fiction work of Neal Stephenson in his novel Snow Crash, published in 1992. He used the term “metaverse” to describe a collective virtual shared space, made up of a digital world. In the novel, the metaverse was a representation of the real world, where people could interact and collaborate in a virtual space.
The concept of the metaverse was further developed by academics and technology experts, such as Mark Pesce, who explore the potential of a virtual shared space.
This led to the development of virtual worlds, such as Second Life, a virtual world launched in 2003, which allowed users to interact with each other in an immersive 3D environment.
In 2018, Ready Player One, directed by Steven Speilberg and based on Ernest Cline’s novel of the same name, added to the growing interest in the metaverse. The film is set in 2045, where much of humanity uses the OASIS, a virtual reality simulation, to escape the real world.
Recent Metaverse Development
In recent years the development of virtual and augmented reality technologies, such as the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Microsoft HoloLens have further increased involvement in the metaverse by allowing users to explore and interact with virtual environments and inhabit virtual worlds.
The metaverse has also seen the emergence of new forms of entertainment. These include virtual concerts, conferences, and meetups. They are often held in virtual worlds, allowing users to experience an event as if they were actually present.
Virtual reality technologies have also enabled the creation of virtual spaces for businesses and organizations. Here, businesses can conduct meetings, training, and other activities in a virtual environment.
Furthermore, the metaverse is an ever-evolving concept. Proponents believe the potential of the metaverse is vast and is likely to be used in new and innovative ways as a more powerful tool for collaboration and entertainment.
Types of Metaverses
The metaverse is made up of three different types of virtual worlds:
- Virtual reality: a type of metaverse created with headsets and devices that allow the user to experience a virtual world as if it were real.
- Augmented reality: a type of metaverse that is created with the use of augmented reality glasses and devices that allow the user to experience a virtual world that is overlaid with the physical world.
- Gamified worlds: immersive and engaging ways people can compete.
How a Metaverse Works
The metaverse requires a network of servers to store and process data and exists on the cloud. Ultimately though, it is a complex system combining hardware, software, and content.
Ultimately, the hardware is made up of various devices used to access the metaverse, such as computers, phones, and virtual reality headsets. The software is applications and programs used to create and interact with the metaverse. Content refers to various digital assets used to create the metaverse, such as 3D models, audio, and video.
Example of a Metaverse
The Sandbox game is a way for players to explore the power of the metaverse. It is content is user-generated, meaning players are in charge of their own virtual world. As a result, they can customize characters and social features, and create their own unique and vibrant virtual worlds.
The Sandbox is set in a 3D world where players can create their own avatars, clothing, and accessories. They can explore a variety of environments, and interact with others. Players can also build structures, craft items, and even create their own mini-games.
The game also features a variety of tools that can be used to manipulate the landscape and create environmental effects. For example, players can add water and objects to create rivers, lakes, and even volcanoes. They can also use the game’s editor to adjust the terrain, add objects, and craft custom items.
The game enables players to connect with other players in a virtual world. They can create their own clans, join up with other players to form powerful alliances, and compete in tournaments.
The Benefits of a Metaverse
Some benefits of a metaverse include being able to interact with others and experience virtual worlds. This can lead to a more immersive and engaging experience, and potentially to a more connected social experience. It allows users to create and share digital assets, such as 3D models, audio, and video, and enables users access to a variety of digital services, such as shopping, banking, and entertainment.
Challenges of the Metaverse
Challenges of the metaverse include the security of the data that is stored and processed in the cloud and keeping it safe from unauthorized users. There is also the issue of the need for more regulation and oversight and laws to protect users and ensure that the virtual world is a safe and secure place. This can lead to unethical practices, data breaches, and other problems.
Social Media and the Metaverse
Many social media platforms are now allowing users to create and explore virtual worlds, and they are also allowing users to interact with each other in a virtual world. This has led to the development of new types of metaverses, such as the Facebook metaverse, which is a virtual world that is created using the Facebook platform.
What is Facebook Meta?
Facebook Meta is a virtual world that is created using the Facebook platform. It is a type of metaverse created with the use of 3D models, audio, and video. It is used to create a more interactive experience for users of the Facebook platform.