The Metaverse is an idea that Mark Zuckerberg described in a keynote at the Connect 2021 conference. Some people think it already exists, while others believe it’s the next evolution of the internet. There are many different ways to define the Metaverse, but it’s also clear that the virtual world is blurring the lines between the real world and the virtual world.
What Is the Concept of Metaverse?
Metaverse is a term that originated in the cyberpunk genre, describing a virtual reality dataspace. The term was coined by Neal Stephenson in his dystopian novel Snow Crash in 1992
Stephenson’s vision of the Metaverse is not so different from that of massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs, or more commonly, MMOs). If you have ever used Second Life, then you have seen the possibilities of a virtual world where users can customize realistic avatars, meet with other players, create virtual items, own virtual property, and exchange goods and services.
Protometaverses are virtual experiences that can be described as Second Life. There is a question as to why the prefix is there. Each is a digital island with its inhabitants and virtual assets never leaving it. The next version of the internet will be called the Metaverse, and it isn’t a virtual experience —it’s the next version of the internet.
“We’ve gone from desktop to web to mobile; from text to photos to video. “The defining quality of the Metaverse will be a feeling of presence — like you are right there with another person or in another place. Feeling truly present with another person is the ultimate dream of social technology. That is why we are focused on building this,” Zuckerberg said in his Founder’s Letter following the announcement.
Properties of Metaverse
Venture capitalist Matthew Ball describes the properties of Metaverse on his website :
- Massively scaled
- Real-time rendered
- 3D virtual worlds
- Unlimited number of users
- The individual sense of presence
- Continuity of data
What Will Power the Metaverse?
In the Metaverse, we’ll use diverse forms of technology, including cloud infrastructure, software tools, platforms, applications, user-generated content, and hardware. We’ll also use a variety of user experiences, including entertainment, gaming, commerce, social interactions, education, and research.
When Will the Metaverse Arrive?
Zuckerberg also says that the transition to the Metaverse will happen in the next decade, but it could happen sooner if foundational elements are already in place.
With the infrastructure behind today’s internet allowing massive quantities of people to gather in virtual environments, like when more than 12.3 million players tuned in for a VR concert in Fortnite featuring Travis Scott, it’s clear that this infrastructure is very impressive. It’s likely, however, that this infrastructure will need to evolve further to support the metaverse industry experts envision.
The two leading producers of virtual reality headsets are Oculus and Meta. Microsoft has been supporting enterprise use cases with its HoloLens mixed reality smart glasses since its first release in 2016.
The Metaverse is a ubiquitous computing experience that uses traditional devices like computers and mobile devices while also enhancing the experience with emerging virtual and augmented reality.
Blockchain technology has disrupted the financial services industry since the Bitcoin network came into existence in January 2009. It can be used to enable the continuity of data in the Metaverse.
The ability to verify the ownership of digital assets using blockchain technology has led to the creation of NFTs, or nonfungible tokens. There are already 3D virtual reality platforms that take advantage of them.
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Are We Approaching the Era of IR 5.0 with Metaverse?
While the Metaverse is still years away from becoming a reality, key technologies in the realm of augmented reality have already become mainstream. In addition, the Metaverse raises a whole range of legal questions as well.
We had all the elements of related technologies in the Metaverse such as VR, AR, AI, Cloud, IoT, Blockchain. Any new era that emerges from IR 4.0 will have embraced some of these technologies entirely. But we have yet to define exactly what IR 5.0 is and how we live in this era?
Initially, I defined IR 5.0 as breakthroughs in power, food, and transportation. People can be transported halfway around the world in a matter of hours. Or new civilizations are formed on other planets such as Mars.
But probably before reaching the unreachable places, there is a better way to achieve it – via Metaverse! Nothing seems to be impossible with Metaverse. It allows the people to feel the reality of the upcoming vision earlier.
[Source: Metaverse – The Future of Internet]