Originally based on the 1992 sci-fi novel The Snow Crash, a metaverse (a portmanteau of meta and universe) denotes an Internet-like experience, with an immersive form of virtual reality, in which users socially interact using a wearable headset. Metaverse is a fusion of several elements of technology, including virtual reality, augmented reality, and video, in which users live within a digital universe. Properties are bought and sold through a platform called a metaverse, which is a digital platform that uses virtual reality and augmented reality to create a virtual world.
Users are able to engage in a variety of experiences within the metaverse, such as virtual avatars, who live within a virtual space. Metaverse users may access online content and virtual space as an individual, as a digital avatar.
To access an actual metaverse, users would need AR glasses or some other AR tech in order to get the full effects of 3D-presence with other avatars. The idea is that the metaverse platform provides the link between virtual and real worlds.
A metaverse is a network of large-scale, interoperable, 3D-rendered virtual worlds, rendered in real-time, which can be experienced simultaneously and continuously by effectively an infinite number of users, with a personal sense of existence, and with the persistence of data, such as identities, histories, rights, objects, communications, and payments. Because many massively multiplayer online games link millions of players sharing features with the Metaverse, but provide access to non-persistent instances of the virtual worlds shared only by a a few dozen players used the concept of virtual worlds of the multiverse to distinguish them from the metaverse. Some also use the term metaverse to denote virtual worlds where players are allowed to wander and interact with other players; e.g., worlds in which developers may construct buildings, parks, signs, and things that do not exist in reality.
The term metaverse is composed of the prefix meta (meaning “beyond”) and the stem verse (a backformation from universe); the term is commonly used to describe a future iteration of the Internet consisting of persistent, shared, three-dimensional virtual spaces connected to the perceived virtual universe. In its widest sense, the metaverse is understood to be a graphically-rich, somewhat realistic, virtual space in which individuals can work, play, shop, interact — in short, to do things that humans enjoy doing together in real life (or, possibly more importantly, do things on the Internet). Interestingly, the metaverse gives various users power over virtual spaces and solutions, thus creating an economics of creation.
As we saw in games like Fortinet and Microsoft’s Minecraft, companies are able to build the metaverse and run servers, monitor users, and set rules for a virtual world. A virtual world, like the aspects of Fortinet, which can be accessed via PCs, gaming consoles, or even phones, can be a metaverse. In the future, another example might be one of many decentralized worlds comprising part of the metaverse, where digital assets and currencies circulate among each other just as fiat currency and physical goods are traded among people living in different countries in the real world.
In practical terms, a metaverse would exist where one user can walk into a massive virtual shopping mall, which could be experienced by as many people as a virtual space can accommodate, buy a single digital object, then a few weeks later sell that same digital object within an entirely different virtual world – or maybe Twitter, eBay, or Open Sea. As the metaverse grows, the metaverse will provide an alternate, hyperreal world to live in.
The metaverse, however, is an entirely different playthrough, since it allows users to own virtual assets and experiences. Virtual spaces cannot physically be occupied in the real world, users within a metaverse may establish them as a virtual destination for travel, and a space holder can impose restrictions on who may be allowed in, and what, if any, fee users have to pay in order to obtain access or occupancy. Ownership of lands in the metaverse is transferred through NFTs, or unique tokens used to represent virtual assets, such as unique collectibles, or, in this case, properties.
Interoperability and portability are the defined features of a metaverse, meaning that you must be able to transport your non-real-estate virtual properties–your avatar, your digital artwork, your magic wand–from one virtual world to the next.
In her 1992 novel The Snow Crash, the metaverse is a virtual-reality world portrayed as a market-like, planet-encircling marketplace in which virtual real estate could be bought and sold, and where VR headset-wearing users inhabit three-dimensional avatars, whose forms they have freedom to choose. Author Neal Stephenson is credited with coining the term metaverse in his 1992 sci-fi novel Snow Crash, where he envisioned realistically rendered avatars meeting each other inside real-life 3D buildings and other VR environments.
In broad terms, technologies making up a metaverse may include virtual reality–characterized by persistent virtual worlds that continue to exist even when you are not playing–as well as augmented reality, which merges aspects of both the digital and physical worlds. The metaverse may someday resemble Ernest Clines colorful imaginary oasis in Ready Player One, but until then, you can turn to games like Fortinet and Roblox, VR social media platforms like VR Chat and Alt space VR, and virtual workplace environments like Immersed to get a taste of an immersive, connected metaverse experience. Right now, most platforms feature virtual identities, avatars, and inventories tied to just one platform, but a metaverse could let you build an avatar that you can bring anywhere, as easily as you could copy a profile picture from one social media site to the next.