The term “metaverse” became a common word in 2021. This sparked a global debate about its meaning, who it is, and whether it has been around for a while. However, we don’t yet have a consensus definition of what it is in 2022. This was satirized by the tech website Verge. You must have read about how the metaverse will replace the internet. Perhaps we all are supposed to live there. Perhaps Facebook, Epic, Roblox, and dozens of other smaller companies are trying to take over. Maybe it has something to do with the NFTs.
To explore the potential implications of the metaverse we must first understand what it is. There are three types of thoughts that can be used to describe the attempts at a definition.
The metaverse in theory
- The metaverse as a product or service
The most widely cited description of the metaverse was published by investor Matthew Ball in January 2020. It describes an expansive network of persistent, real-time rendered 3D worlds, simulations, and a dynamic user experience that […] can be synchronized by an effectively unlimited number, each with their own sense of presence.
His definition of the metaverse states that it is a product or service with seven core attributes, including persistence, synchronicity, and interoperability. However, Ben Thompson, a technology strategist, has claimed that this description is not too far from what the internet is or does. It is only “with a layer of 3D”.
2. The metaverse as a place
Shaan Puri, a startup entrepreneur, came up with a new definition. He described the Metaverse as a point in. The metaverse, which is where our digital lives, including our relationships, identities, and assets, become more meaningful than our physical lives, is a moment in time. This view puts the emphasis on the human experience and makes the transition to the metaverse a technological shift.
The metaverse in practice
This third definition is compelling because it focuses only on the people who will build and use this metaverse: people. It is possible to answer questions about the metaverse’s appearance and feel, rather than just pondering its features.
Technologists believe that 2022 will be the year when thinkers and builders will be separated. If so, last year’s technical advancements will result in this year’s first steps towards making a metaverse a reality. Progress can be attributed in large part to ever-improving graphics processing units(GPUs), photographic 3D engines, and AI. It will also reflect the growing use of cloud computing and 5G as well as a more sophisticated and easier-understood Blockchain infrastructure.
Extended reality (XR), however, is a breakthrough in human experience. These technologies include virtual reality (VR), AR (augmented reality), and brain-computer interfaces(BCI), all of which are considered the next generation of computing platforms.
XR is making rapid progress towards mainstream adoption. It is predicted that VR headsets and AR headsets will surpass global gaming console shipments by 2024. XR headsets are expected to revolutionize digital experiences, much like smartphones and personal computers.
It is the topic of heated boardroom discussions, corporate chessboard moves, and increased investment activity.
Today’s metaverse: virtual reality as the “digital escape”
The metaverse will be primarily manifested through virtual reality over the next few years — an alternative digital world that can serve a variety of business and personal purposes. Recent prominent announcements made by Meta Platforms, Microsoft, and Sony all indicate that headsets such as Meta Quest and Sony PSVR will become the preferred choice for users to navigate interactive and social 3D environments.
Virtual reality is all about creating a digital sense that users are present. Experts agree this will help to create an engaging experience and retain them. Mark Zuckerberg asserts that the metaverse, in the form of popular video games, is already there. After the $68.7bn acquisition by Microsoft of Activision Blizzard, and the $3.6billion purchase of Bungie, many tech experts believe that Meta will acquire a major gaming franchise. Meta Quest, the company’s Oculus app (to be rebranded as Meta Quest in the future) was the most popular app store during this holiday season. During that time, Meta could have sold up to two million VR headsets.
This vision preserves the separation between our physical and digital selves. some aspects will never be replaced by virtual reality. Critics argue that the use of a few VR devices and content producers to create the metaverse could replicate or strengthen the “walled gardens”, which exist on the internet today: closed, distinct ecosystems controlled only by one operator.
This contrasts starkly with the future envisaged for Web 3 by supporters of Web3 who believe the metaverse should be used to counter the large tech companies’ power. This should provide an opportunity for internet users and creators to have control over the experience, monetization, and control of the internet.
Long-term metaverse: brain-computer interfaces, the ‘final platform’
The brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) are perhaps the most important vision for the metaverse. All models of XR today rely upon screens and traditional control systems, although some devices also work with the smell and touch senses. BCIs are designed to completely replace screens and other physical hardware. The implanting of devices in the brain with technology like Neuralink is a complex procedure that requires neurosurgery. This idea both intrigues and discourages potential customers. Researchers also use neural interfaces to restore speech impairment in those who have lost their ability to speak or write. The gaming and tech company are both relevant to the metaverse.
The perils of predicting tech developments
The metaverse can develop in many ways, each dependent on an ecosystem that encourages innovation, investment, policy, and research. It is impossible to predict who will win. Notoriously unpredictable. If the metaverse does exist, it will likely expand into experiences we can’t predict. Anyone who says they know what the future holds is probably not able to be curious.