Metaverse, a combination of two words, was first used in Snow Crash, a science fiction novel published in 1992. The word dictates a landscape where one can perform any regular activity with a virtual presence (basically a 3-D model of self, known as Avatar). The scenario might seem blurry right now, but when we imagine the Metaverse, it covers education, games, entertainment, meetings, tours, and everything you can think of. The term became more familiar when Facebook changed to Meta at the end of 2021. Let’s explore everything about the Metaverse and better understand the same.
What does “Metaverse” actually mean?
Two words contributing to form the Metaverse are Meta and Verse. Here, “Meta” is a Greek word that means beyond something. At the same time, the other word, “verse,” refers to the universe. So, the concept focuses on visualizing a space beyond this universe’s reality. A goggle headset is an entrance to this new verse which takes your digital avatar into the new world. The same is the process for your colleagues, friends, and the people you plan to meet in Metaverse.
Think of it this way. We have already witnessed sports games, meetings, video games, video calls, and more on your screens. But, it is all 2-dimensional till now. Metaverse, on the other hand, is going to transfigure this experience into 3-dimensional reality, so we feel ourselves as the internal part of a landscape. Let it be a sports match, professional meetings, hangout among your friends, or anything else, and the Metaverse will consist of everything that our real universe does.
Expected is that Metaverse is going to be the entire next step to the Internet. The only difference is that the Internet introduced a new verse, and the Metaverse will take us inside that world. So, Metaverse cannot be imagined as a competitor of the Internet; instead, it is imagined as the upgradation of the Internet.
How it all started
As we interpreted, Metaverse was first termed in the science fiction novel “Snow Crash” by Neal Stephenson in 1992. The novel talked about a 3-dimensional virtual space where humans could interact and wander with their virtual avatars. The users used goggles to enter the new world.
In 2011, Ernest Cline created a science fiction franchise, Ready Player One, which portrayed a shared VR landscape called “The OASIS.” The novel was released in 2011 and the film “Ready Player One” was released in 2018, entirely based on the novel. The second novel in the series was released in 2020. The novel and movie depict 2045 when the world faces global warming and an energy crisis. So, a VR landscape is a primary escape from the real world. The new world has been portrayed both as an online role-playing game as well as a virtual society.
Even in 2003, the online multimedia platform “Second Life” is also considered the first experience of Metaverse, where the users were invited to create their avatars and meet their friends in a virtual space. Popular video games like Habbo Hotel in 2000, World of Warcraft in 2004, Minecraft in 2009, VRChat in 2014, and Fortnite in 2017 are also said to be witnessing the metaverse experience.
Current scenario of the Metaverse
It wouldn’t be appropriate to say that we have explored a plethora of advancements in this metaverse landscape as we are still in the beginning stage, heading toward the development stage. If we have to talk about a physical entity working continuously on a new concept, nothing but Facebook deserves the title. The company changed its name to “Meta” at the end of 2021 with the vision of a new space where billions of users will roam around with their digital avatars, doing the regular stuff. Not just meeting and chatting around, Mark Zuckerberg aims to develop the Metaverse as a completely alternate universe where one can do shopping, meet friends, hold meetings, go to the workplace, and everything else.
Zuckerberg is investing significantly in the concept to transform it into reality. An investment of $10 billion in compulsory hardware of the idea was observed in 2021. It was the first time that Meta has talked about their spending on hardware, as until now, it accounted for a very tiny proportion of the company’s spending. The $10 billion investment for metaverse hardware is ten times the company spent on buying Instagram in 2012.
Having the numerical statistics, let’s explore the experience in this new world.
Future scenario of the Metaverse
We are not future dictators, but we are technological experts. So, rather than analyzing the stars, it will be easier to guess the future by analyzing the current trends and progress of companies working on the concept. Have a glance at what we might be doing in Metaverse within the coming 1 or 2 decades.
Metaverse real estate
You might be busy buying land in Houston or Phoenix, but some people are buying land on Metaverse. You might wonder how one can purchase land in a world that doesn’t even exist physically. So, let me tell you, the price of land in the Metaverse is nothing less than the price in these cities. So, the question here is, what will one do after buying land in the Metaverse? The answer is that you will do the same thing you do with the land in real life. One can build a house, office premises, outlet, or farmhouse to chill in the Metaverse.
Purchasing and selling are done via NFTs and cryptocurrencies. There are two reasons for purchasing land on Metaverse. The first has already been discussed (building a house, workplace, or anything), and the second is an investment. The land in the Metaverse can bring your massive returns. Let’s give an example to prove the solidity of the statement. Land, which costed around $1000 two years before in the Metaverse of Sandbox and Decentraland, will now cost you about $13,000. No stock, physical property, or mutual bond would have given such returns.
When we see a metaverse dedicatedly to gaming, it can be observed that the concept is not very new. Several games for over a decade have provided the metaverse experience to audiences. Games like Roblox and Fortnite have already attracted users with their new concepts. Still, when we see the future of gaming in the Metaverse, you can be in the middle of a battleground, shooting the enemies with your machine guns and experiencing each bullet passing by you. At the same time, while jumping from a cliff, your heartbeat will go faster.
Grabbing the first row in the concert by your favorite singer might be challenging in real life but not in the Metaverse. Virtual shows have already been in place, but the future might take the craze to the next level. You may see different artists performing on the Metaverse, and distance will no longer be a factor to restrict your attendance at the concert. However, music and dance concerts and entertainment also refer to amusement and adventurous parks. It will not be a big deal that you will be riding a roller coaster with your friend from your couch in the living room.
Not only the hypothesis but authentic brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Roberto Cavalli, and Etro have been seen investing in the metaverse fashion. Possibly, you buy the same hoodie for your avatar in the Metaverse, which you wear in real life.
When COVID made it impossible for academicians to conduct offline classes, the Internet significantly brought them online. Metaverse can take the update a step ahead, where the lecturer and students will gather in Metaverse, with a proper classroom setup and knowledge exchange.
Just like the Internet changed the world’s view, Metaverse will implement the change on an even more significant level. However, we can only expect the revolution after a decade or two; still, it is not too far when we all will meet in the Metaverse and remember the things we used to talk about in virtual space. We have been living in the same world for crores of years, and now exploring an entirely new space will be full of excitement and a new adventure for us.
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