Tony Parisi
Published in
3 min readAug 23, 2023


For the last almost two years I’ve been trying to lay down guidelines as to what this thing everyone is calling the Metaverse is NOT: not a video game, not for a select few, not controlled by a single corporation, not tied to a single device, in fact not specific to any type of application. But thus far I have steered clear of trying to define what the Metaverse IS.

I’ve been working in this space for nearly thirty years, during which time I’ve developed several Metaverse-related pieces of software, created several firsts in content and user experience, and worked at a string of startups and big companies building various bits and pieces of the Metaverse over multiple generations of technology. I think that qualifies me to opine on this topic. A bit. And it’s why I wrote The Seven Rules of the Metaverse in the first place. But again, that was primarily about what the Metaverse is NOT.

Now I’m ready to start leaning in with thoughts about what the Metaverse IS. And that’s what this new string of postings is about.

But before we get to the WHAT, we really need to explore the WHY. Because that will inform everything else going forward.

WHY would we Metaverse? Why should we?

What is it that we are trying to accomplish when we use a computer? When we get online? And why would any of that be better when experienced immersively i.e. in 3D aka in the Metaverse?

Mark Pesce and I spent a lot of time getting into this aspect of it in our podcast series, A Brief History of the Metaverse. The show was much less about technology than it was about media theory. Which, by the way, is how I have always approached the Metaverse anyway: as media. This isn’t technology, or an app. It’s a medium of communication.

While we left the series open-ended, asking more questions that it answered, we did land on a handful of things that all this Metaversey stuff has in common, be it in literary antecedents, pixelated sprite art on Commodore 64’s connected over dialup, or AAA-quality virtual reality on the latest console:

We Metaverse to connect, communicate, and create.

Connect: etymologically it means to bind together. Communicate: to share. Create: to bring into being.

Whether it’s to play, learn, get a job done, tell a story or sell each other stuff, in the end it all boils down to one or more of these three fundamentals. Coming together to share things that we make; making things together and sharing with others.

Every day, more and more of these endeavors take place online, virtually — rendered to various digital media in order to be stored, sent to one another, experienced together, annotated, improved upon; intermediated via digital infrastructure that delivers it to us at our whim. And our ability to make these virtual activities truly mirror those in the real world, or create ever more fantastical but convincing digital worlds, is becoming increasingly possible because 3D is now a universal media type. File formats like glTF make it possible to share not just images and sound, but objects and places. And every computing device is now capable of rendering 3D content in real time, with dedicated VR and AR hardware promising to make these experiences even more indistinguishable from the “real.”

And that is WHY.

Part One of this series of short posts is here.



Tony Parisi

Metaverse OG. Entrepreneur. Investor. Co-Creator, VRML & glTF. Head of XR Ads/E-Commerce, Unity Technologies. Pre-apocalyptic author. Music. @auradeluxe