What the heck is the Metaverse?
- The future of online gaming?
- An uncomfortable update to Zoom?
- Something to do with NFTs?
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what the Metaverse is mainly because we as a society are still deciding what it is and what it should contain. We are guessing what the future of the future will be like and boy do we have some ideas.
Much like the birth of the Internet in the early ’90s, everyone from your University Professor to your Grandmother had an idea of what it would become. Some were right and some were wrong and it will be the same for the Metaverse.
The Metaverse is defined in the Urban Dictionary as:
a 3D virtual world, esp in an online role-playing game
In order to explain what the Metaverse is, the following two aspects will be explored.
Technology in the Metaverse includes both hardware and software. In order to enter into an online continuous virtual world, you need a piece of hardware (eg: VR Headset, Gaming Console, etc.). There are also times where the Metaverse will combine hardware and software to bring the physical and digital world together (eg: Augmented Reality).
The idea is that you would be able to buy, sell and trade virtual goods in the Metaverse. These virtual goods would most likely be Non-fungible Tokens (NFTs), thus limiting their supply and verifying their ownership. Furthermore, the Metaverse is most likely going to be interoperable, allowing you to move your digital identity and associated virtual goods across platforms.
The example I like to use to explain the Metaverse is the activity of going to a cinema with your friends to watch a new movie.
Right now (physical world):
- You get into your mode of transport (car, bus, train, bicycle, etc.) and drive to the cinema location
- You meet up with your friends at the cinema
- You pay for your movie tickets and snacks using your debit or credit card (maybe Apple or Samsung Pay)
- You watch the movie
- You go home
The Metaverse equivalent:
- You sit on your couch at home and put your VR headset on
- You enter the Metaverse as your self-designed avatar, kitted out with the latest Metaverse fashion and accessories
- You link up with your friend's avatars
- You move through the Metaverse to the virtual cinema
- You pay for your movie tickets using a digital currency
- You enjoy watching another remake of an old classic
- You exit the Metaverse, take off your VR headset and go nowhere because you are already home
It may be a dumb example but all we can do right now is guestimate what the Metaverse may entail and how the development of technology will further improve our digital experiences.
Here are two other ‘ideas’ around what the Metaverse may look like or include:
One thing is for sure though, it is becoming more and more evident that our digital lives are just as important as our physical ones. We video conference for work, game online for fun, store our memories in digital photos and video. The list goes on and on.
And if you are still confused, CNET has put together a video comparing descriptions of the Metaverse from Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook/Meta) and Satya Nadella (Microsoft):