The term “metaverse” has become a popular buzzword. With all of the buzz surrounding the Metaverse, many major brands, including Gucci and Nike, have created virtual spaces for users to interact, play, and purchase digital and physical products.
What is the metaverse, exactly? What does this all mean, and who should be concerned? If, as Zuckerberg claims, the metaverse is “the next chapter of the internet,” understanding and defining it is critical to avoiding being caught off guard when (or if) the metaverse tsunami hits.
The Metaverse is a ‘virtual world’ in which users use avatars to interact, shop, play games, and work online. There are several ‘virtual worlds’ that are poised to revolutionize the way interact online. These virtual worlds have their own digital currencies, which can be used to buy and sell products online.
Embodied Internet at Its Core
The metaverse is an embodied internet at its core: a social place where people may communicate via individualized avatars that make them feel more present than a traditional video conversation. It’s synchronous, thus it more closely resembles real life than today’s feed-based social media. Instead of watching what others are doing, you’ll be able to communicate with them in real time.
It will also be persistent, like the rest of the planet. When you return to a metaverse space, you will not have to start over. And, just like in real life, you will be able to participate in a variety of activities with other people, such as attending concerts and other events, playing games, socializing, dating, and, yes, working and shopping.
The metaverse is structured like a network. It is a collection of services that are only loosely connected, both by firms constructing dedicated highways between their services and by individuals forging their own routes between destinations.
That’s why the first avatar-based services, such as Second Life, were not self-contained metaverses. The metaverse is comprised of a plethora of interconnected services just as the mobile internet isn’t made up of a single app and none of your phone’s apps would exist without the presence of a slew of other apps and services.
Significance of the Metaverse
Believe it or not, the rush to the metaverse did not begin with Zuckerberg’s fascination with virtual reality. It is rather influenced by a wide range of factors. People are flocking in droves to avatar-based social gaming platforms; the pandemic has compelled us all to seek out new forms of real-time engagement; and tech behemoths such as Apple, Amazon, Google, and Meta are all looking for the next big thing after the smartphone. Even as these patterns emerge in real time, a few critical questions remain unanswered.
Future AR and VR headset manufacturers are well positioned to profit from the metaverse and enforce laws on it. One of the reasons Meta is so interested in the metaverse, as Zuckerberg has revealed, is that the firm missed out on mobile hardware and is now compelled to follow the rules of Google and Apple’s app stores.