What Is The Metaverse And Should You Care? Everything You Need To Know
In the past few months, you may have started hearing news outlets and social media talking about the metaverse. If you have no idea what that word means, you are not alone! The metaverse is hard to explain because it doesn’t necessarily exist. At a high level, it is a dream for the future of the internet and a creative way to bucket some current trends in online culture, including the rise of real-time 3D worlds.
Keep reading for everything you need to know.
Defining the metaverse:
So, what exactly is the metaverse? According to The Verge, there’s actually no universally accepted definition – except maybe that it is a fancier version of the internet.
Venture capitalist Matthew Ball, author of the extensive Metaverse Primer, describes it as:
“…an expansive network of persistent, real-time rendered 3D worlds and simulations that support continuity of identity, objects, history, payments, and entitlements, and can be experienced synchronously by an effectively unlimited number of users, each with an individual sense of presence.”
Facebook, the tech company with the biggest stake in the game, describes it more simply:
“The ‘metaverse’ is a set of virtual spaces where you can create and explore with other people who aren’t in the same physical space as you.”
When we can expect to see it:
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta (formerly Facebook), estimates it could take up to five to 10 years before the key features of the metaverse become mainstream. However, certain aspects of the metaverse currently exist! Ultra-fast broadband speeds, virtual reality headsets, and always-on online worlds are already up and running, even though they may not be mainstream yet.
Examples of the metaverse:
The tech giant has already made significant investments in virtual reality, dating back to 2014 when they acquired Oculus. Meta envisions a virtual world where digital avatars connect through work, travel or entertainment using VR headsets.
Mark Zuckerberg has been a huge advocator for the metaverse, believing it could replace the internet as we know it, stating:
“The next platform and medium will be even more immersive and embodied internet where you’re in the experience, not just looking at it, and we call this the metaverse.”
Microsoft recently unveiled its plans for bringing mixed reality, including holograms and virtual avatars, to Microsoft Teams in 2022. The tech giant is also working on 3D virtual connected spaces for retail and workplaces. Additionally, The U.S. Army is working with Microsoft on an augmented reality Hololens 2 headset for soldiers to train, rehearse and fight in.
Epic Games is the company that developed Fortnite. Tim Sweeney, their CEO, said:
“It’s no secret that Epic is invested in building the metaverse.”
Epic has partnered with celebrities and entertainment companies to hold virtual concerts by artists like Ariana Grande, release movie trailers, and even host an immersive re-imagining of Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 historic “I Have A Dream” speech.
The company is also developing photorealistic digital humans with its MetaHuman Creator. This ability could be how you customize your digital self in future open-world games.
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