What Is the Metaverse? A fictitious alternate internet known as the Metaverse uses immersive virtual worlds, augmented reality, and virtual reality. It will enable people to work, play, communicate, learn, shop, and do much more in a single virtual experience, even though it hasn’t yet materialized.
Major brands like Nike, large computer companies like Microsoft, Apple, and Google, game creators like Epic Games, and even retailers like Walmart are fighting for control over the development of the Metaverse or access to lucrative virtual marketplaces. Even Facebook, known for changing its name to Meta, did so to highlight its commitment to building the impending Metaverse.
As seasoned technology reporter Eric Ravenscraft reported in Wired a few weeks ago, Facebook announced its name change to Meta and decision to focus on the upcoming “Metaverse” months ago. Since then, the definition of that phrase has remained unchanged.
I recently spoke with Kristi Woolsey, an associate director at BCG Platinum, a firm I adore, to understand more about the “Metaverse,” presuming that it will probably impact our lives in various ways, some of which are presently inexplicable. Furthermore, I thought many of you are perplexed by these and other technological developments. I admire how Woolsey tries to steer clear of “technobabble” and uses plain, accessible English while speaking.
What Does Metaverse Mean?
The phrases “meta” and “universe,” which are combined to form the term “metaverse,” were first used in Neal Stephenson’s science fiction novel Snowcrash in 1992. The word was used in that book to refer to a fully immersive virtual world that could be accessed via goggles and where users could communicate with one another using custom avatars in a setting similar to the real world.
A user could access the real Metaverse, which doesn’t just exist in science fiction, using augmented reality, virtual reality, and more conventional tech like desktop PCs and cell phones.
The Metaverse would be based around a virtual world, or virtual worlds where users are represented by custom avatars, in contrast to the socially based web2 or even the hypothetical decentralized web3, where the internet is experienced through websites and communication is facilitated by services like Zoom and Discord.
What Can You Do in the Metaverse?
The fundamental idea behind the Metaverse is that it will allow you to use a VR headset to join a virtual world where you can interact with people, play games, acquire new skills, shop for real and virtual items, and pretty much do whatever else you can do on the internet right now. You can freely move between the many dynamic 3D worlds that make up the Metaverse for work, entertainment, and other purposes.
Can You Experience the Metaverse Today?
Despite the lack of formation of the Metaverse, many of its constituent parts currently exist. Some companies still refer to their products as “metaverses” nowadays. Epic has referred to its battle royale game Fortnite as a metaverse since it allows avatar-based user engagement, connects with significant media businesses, and even conducts virtual concerts and other events. To make a kid-friendly metaverse, Lego and Epic worked together.
VR Chat is another game that gives players a taste of what it might be like to explore the Metaverse in the future. In this game, players can explore various virtual worlds, make their virtual personas, and interact with one another via VR headsets or a less intense PC experience. Other games like Rec Room and Facebook’s Horizon Worlds provide comparable experiences that allow you to interact, chat, and play games with others utilizing a VR interface.
How Do the Oculus Quest and VR Headsets Fit Into the Metaverse?
Virtual reality, which offers the potential for a more immersive experience, is an essential element of the Metaverse. The Metaverse will likely be accessible from various devices, including PCs and cellphones, but the experience will be primarily focused on virtual reality and perhaps augmented reality.
Companies like Facebook and Microsoft have accelerated the development of the Metaverse, and Facebook, in particular, has made substantial investments in virtual reality. The Oculus Quest, also known as the Meta Quest, is an example of low-cost standalone VR hardware that will make Facebook’s Metaverse vision a reality. Access to the Metaverse is not now made possible by it, and it won’t be required in the future either.
While you wait for the Metaverse to go live, you can taste what it’s like to interact with an immersive virtual environment by downloading the Oculus Quest. You may use it to explore Facebook’s Horizon Worlds and various other virtual worlds because it is a standalone VR headset, which eliminates the requirement for a costly PC.
Why should leaders care?