What is the Metaverse?
The buzzword “Metaverse” is currently circulating in media and across the internet. In many cases it is blown out of proportion and described as a magical realm, rather than properly explained. In this article we are going to shed light on what the Metaverse is, why it is important to understand and how you are already a part of the Metaverse.
Is METAVERSE just a buzzword?
Previous buzzwords like AI or IOT have shown us that once a word “buzzes” many people and companies take advantage of that to create buzz around their own venture. That brings a lot of confusion and a lot of individual pieces of information.
Every matchmaking startup that had a database and some excel formulas claimed to use “Artificial Intelligence”. An alarm clock with a Wi-Fi module was suddenly a “smart home device”. While these are two exaggerated examples, they demonstrate that buzzwords often end up not being taken seriously by the masses and are declared a “temporary phenomenon”.
This is where the Metaverse should be treated differently. It won't be a temporary phenomenon and that's why we think it is important to understand what it is or what it could be.
Let us not turn “Metaverse” into just a buzzword. Let’s take time to understand it, evaluate the claim some companies are making and then discover the metaverse together. One step at a time.
How can you understand what the METAVERSE is?
Since Metaverse is derived from the word universe we will stick to that analogy to create a better understanding of the components and their relationships.
Just like there is only one universe, there can only be one metaverse. So, to be honest, every tech company claiming to create THE Metaverse is either lying or simply delusional.
It would be like someone with a website claiming to “own of the internet”.
Apps that call themselves Metaverses are actually Galaxies in it!
"Galaxy" is easy to understand, and we like to keep it simple. It helps to create an easy understanding even though it is not used by companies when they describe themself.
Recently lots of companies transitioned to calling it "...-verse". You will notice this suffix is used a lot but not always in the context of the metaverse.
So, if one company offers a galaxy within the metaverse, there can be several other galaxies around that. This is where the Metaverse comes in:
It enables users of the galaxies to “travel” between these galaxies. Ideally seamlessly but often the travel takes time and effort.
“The Metaverse enables users to travel between different “galaxies” (=Apps) hosted within it”
- Meta (formerly Facebook) = a galaxy for social interaction
- Spatial = a galaxy for virtual exhibitions
- Glue = a galaxy for social interaction & communication
- Minecraft = a galaxy for social-based gameplay
- VISPA = a galaxy for collaboration and knowledge creation
Supporting this definition is Ready Player Me - a cross-platform avatar creator that claims to be “Your passport for the metaverse”.
With thousands of platforms already using their technology the analogy of a universal (or metaversal) passport perfectly fits into our definition of the Metaverse being a connection that can be seen as the frame around different virtual worlds.
What are you in the METAVERSE?
This is where our understanding gets cheesy. In each galaxy within the Metaverse, you, the user, have your own solar system. You are the sun with different planets orbiting you.
A planet in your solar system could be a project you are working on. Everything in your solar system is content or information you have either created or have access to.
You can share access to a planet with a close friend or co-worker, which means that your solar system and their solar system have planets in common. Your Solar System can evolve over time, it can grow or shrink, depending on your projects and creations within it.
If these different galaxies create connections, you can connect your different planets from your solar systems and travel between them without friction.
One of the biggest misunderstandings about the METAVERSE
You do not need a VR Headset to be part of the metaverse.
Ever since Meta has shared their vision of the Metaverse and discussions about it started outside of the tech bubble, people think that the Metaverse is directly linked to the technology of VR or AR. It is not.
When you research the Metaverse, the video game “Second Life” is always said to be a pioneer. Another great example being linked to the Metaverse is “Minecraft”. These examples clearly demonstrate:
Metaverse is not a matter of technology. Just like the internet can be accessed through different devices, the Metaverse can.
Doesn't matter if you are on your cell phone, on your computer or wearing a VR headset.
Is the Metaverse already here? Should I be scared?
Think back 30 years, 20 years, and 10 years.
Assuming that you were already born, did you foresee or anticipate what the internet would be 30 years ago? 20 years ago? 10?
The answer is probably no. And that’s okay. Neither did we. We can neither say: “The Metaverse is currently at 5%” nor can we really predict what it will look like and how life will be.
Most visions seem scary because they are very visual and feel straight out of a Sci-Fi movie. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be optimistic about it. Just like the internet, the Metaverse will create a lot of new and fascinating opportunities. As long as the understanding we have today will come true, with there being ONE METAVERSE and several different Galaxies within, there really is more to be excited than to be worried about.
About the Author:
Chris is our vision keeper and CEO, responsible for the product. For the past 20 years he has been creating and enjoying time in virtual worlds. He is very passionate about the metaverse and optimistic about the future.