Facebook is changing its name to solidify its rebranding making the shift from a social media conglomerate to a metaverse.
And it is not only Facebook, the term is not uncommon in Silicon Valley, the likes of Microsoft also having mentioned converging the digital and physical worlds. The popular children’s game Roblox describes itself as a metaverse company. Epic Games’ Fortnite is also considered to be part of the metaverse.
And it does not end there, music, fashion, the metaverse seem to be an active part of every conversation about the future of all entertainment, and beyond.
But what exactly is a metaverse?
Metaverse is a broad term. Generally, when people use the term, they are referring to a virtual world that people can access and share via the internet.
The term is generally used to describe digital spaces that are made more life-like by the use of virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR). They are a manifestation of actual reality.
You have probably already been in one
There is a good chance that you have already been inside what appears to be a metaverse. Most video games that have worlds, universes of their own, that function on a set of predefines rules or order, can be referred to as a metaverse. However, moving forward, Silicon Valley is moving to make these worlds more realistic, more liveable. This deeper interest is probably a product of the time many have spent living their lives remotely, through their laptops, over the past two years.
There are certain rules that make a virtual reality a metaverse
First and foremost, there are no resets, no pauses and no ends — a metaverse is indefinite. This is what sets it apart from a virtual world or reality. It is a living experience that exists consistently for everyone and in real-time. The metaverse is also expected to be its own, fully functioning economy and would be open to all.
You can own property in a metaverse
Not only property, but you can also own and retain assets that will have value in the real world. There is a specific type of metaverse which uses what is known as a blockchain technology. Blockchain is most simply defined as a decentralized, distributed ledger technology that records the provenance of a digital asset. In simpler words, users can buy virtual land and other digital assets using cryptocurrencies, and those purchases would be recorded.
There would have to be a collaboration
To make a functioning metaverse, all of the internet would have to come together to create unprecedented interoperability of data, digital items or assets, content, and so on across each of these experiences. There would also arise the issue, then of how many avatars could one have online?
Many works of fiction, the likes of Ready Player One or The Matrix happen, at least partly, within full-fledged metaverses. Generally dystopian, these works of fiction show humanity using the metaverse as the real world becomes more and more unliveable.
That detail to metaverses, however, is still a far-off reality, although, there is no telling for how long.