With the onset of terms such as Web 3.0, Blockchain, or the decentralized internet, one more term is widely taking over the market of tech enthusiasts, and that is "Metaverse". The term is quite controversial because of the non-existence of a proper and worldwide accepted definition, except for the fact that this might be the new fancier version of the internet.
This word was first used by Neal Stephenson, in 1992, in his novel Snow Crash, where it referred to a 3D virtual world inhabited by avatars of real people. Today, both the tech giants, Facebook and Microsoft are staking claims over Metaverse. Let's find out why it’s becoming the hot topic of the generation.
Metaverse supports the online 3-D virtual environments, where the users can live in the digital universe, which is made possible through virtual, augmented reality headsets and videos.
Mark Zuckerberg described the Metaverse as “an embodied internet”, or an upgraded version of the internet where people can have “different experiences which are not possible on a 2D app or a webpage.” These Metaverse visions overlap with the concept of Web3, which provides decentralized internet services, where users retain more personal control over the data they put online. One of the major benefits that fancy the concept is the presence that people could feel as they physically engage with places, people, and things in real-time, instead of virtually through a window.
Metaverse is also helping in changing the way we deal in online transactions and activities while making the procedure secure. With ever-increasing satisfactory unemployment rates and the constant increase in the demand of the developed and larger economies, Metaverse can prove to bridge the gap and avail right opportunities to the right people. Under the Metaverse, potential employees who choose to live outside the cities will be able to participate in the “high value” economy through tangible activities. As more consumer spending shifts to tangible goods, services, and information, we will also see changes in where we live, the infrastructure we build, and who does what jobs.
Talking about how the concept has already taken over the tech market, we can see its implications majorly in the field of Virtual Games and Virtual Reality. The video game, Second Life, launched in 2003 was the first game that took over this idea, and a social-based game, Minecraft depicts an advanced implementation of Metaverse in the gaming world. It is a virtual universe beloved by kids, the Microsoft-owned Minecraft is essentially the digital equivalent of Legos, where players can create their digital character and build whatever they desire. Roblox was a platform, founded in 2004, which houses scores of user-generated games, including role-playing offerings like Bloxburg and Brookhaven, where users can build homes, work, and playout scenarios. Active Worlds and Fortnite are the names of other early MUD games.
The development of Metaverse was mainly focused on building a better experience in Virtual Reality due to the benefits of establishing immersion in virtual environments. Mark Zuckerberg, while declaring the notion of creating his commitment to creating a metaverse ecosystem, renamed Facebook as "Meta Platforms" in 2021.
Metaverse has even been redirected to use by organizations to increase overall work productivity. In the educational sectors also, for an interactive environment of learning, in the real estate and other such long-term result services, for a virtual tour. From NFL to Air Jordan to Ariana Grande are some of the biggest Fortnite crossover events so far.
But on a larger scale. it seems to be just adding a replacement of the internet and not completely abolishing the latter. A virtual dressing room might be a good switch instead of shopping through the virtual screen. It then, would not require a complete cloth store, but this doesn’t mean that the virtual dressing room will take over the offline or website cloth stores.
A good point to compare might be the mobile internet, which had a lot of app-based resources which seemed to replace the traditional websites - but it did not disable the desktop-based options, either.
The importance of collaboration and a consistent live experience means that we will need to trim the existing standards. Today, for example, there are dozens of image file formats: .GIF, .JPEG, .PNG, .BMP, .TIFF, .WEBP, etc. And while the web today is built on open standards, most of it is closed. Amazon, Facebook, and Google use the same technology, but they are not designed for a transition. In addition, these companies are incredibly resistant to sharing their data. Such movements may increase the total value of the "digital economy", but also weaken their critical network.