In this article we are going to shed some light onto the Metaverse and why it is important to understand what it actually is. We want to discuss the naming and meaning itself and use an analogy to help you understand how different apps, providers and companies fit into it. We have noticed that there is a lot of buzz around the Metaverse. But there is no common understanding and naming for different aspects.
Without a common understanding, we can not contribute to what is evolving.
This will be our understanding, which does not have to be the right one or the only one, but we figured it’s something worth sharing. So, you are ready to be part of the discussion. Enjoy the read!
TLDR The Metaverse is more than just a buzzword, and you should take time to understand it. There is only one Metaverse, but a lot of “galaxies” within.
You are an integral part of the metaverse, you can shape it the way you want it and create your own “solar system”. You do not need a VR headset to get access to the metaverse. There are visions, which can seem scary. But no one can foresee the future. Be optimistic, not scared.
Is METAVERSE just a buzzword?
There is a lot of buzz around the Metaverse right now. Everyone is talking about it and it is part of many discussions. But with every buzzword there comes a lot of confusion. 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. Every matchmaking startup that had a database and some simple excel formulas claimed to use “Artificial Intelligence”. An alarm clock with a Wi-Fi module was suddenly a “smart home device”. While these are just 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 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 prefer to use this analogy to create a better understanding of it; or at least share our own interpretation.
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". If you look around and read articles, you will notice this suffix is used a lot but not always in the context of the metaverse.
We will stick to "Galaxy" for now.
So, if one company offers a galaxy within the metaverse there can be several other galaxies around that. And different users can “travel” between these galaxies. Ideally seamlessly but more often than not, the travel takes time and effort.
Here are a few different galaxies within the Metaverse:
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
Further proof for our understanding is how Ready Player Me - a cross platform avatar creator - defines itself as: “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 this connected thing 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. For a simple understanding you are the sun around which different planets orbit.
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 coworker, which means that your solar system and their solar system have planets in common. (This is where we clearly deviate from astronomy - but we have to.) Your Solar System can evolve over time or shrink, but since the metaverse just like the universe doesn't have an “end”, that is no problem.
If these different galaxies create connections e.g. for seamless transfer between them, you can connect your different planets from your solar systems and travel between them without friction.
One of the biggest misconception about the METAVERSE
You need a VR Headset to be part of the metaverse. Ever since Meta has shared their vision of the Metaverse and the Metaverse has started to be discussed outside of the tech-bubble, people think that the metaverse is directly linked to the technology of VR or AR. We don’t agree.
When you research about the metaverse, the video game “Second Life” is always said to be a pioneer of the metaverse. 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.
Just like in games, there are different ways to access and different levels of immersion. A triple screen can be as immersive as a VR headset. So please, when you think and talk about the metaverse, don’t just picture people wearing VR headsets using handheld controllers.
This is great news. It means you don’t have to invest in a VR headset just now but can use your devices to be part of it.
Is the Metaverse already here? Should I be scared?
We will answer this one with a question. 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 years ago?
The answer is probably: “To be honest, 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, with there being ONE METAVERSE and several different Galaxies within, will become reality 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.