It’s closer than you might think.
We’ve heard a lot about the Metaverse in recent weeks. Facebook changed its company name to Meta, a few years after spending billions of dollars on the virtual reality platform Oculus. So what is the Metaverse? And who wants to go?
The Metaverse is a virtual world where people interact with one another. Sort of like life inside a video game. If you ever played the game Second Life in the early 2000s, you already have a sense of what the Metaverse is like. Users create an avatar of themselves and then participate in the Meta universe using that avatar to play games, meet new people, hang out with people and even have business meetings in the virtual world.
If you’ve ever seen the movie or read the book “Ready Player One”, that’s what most people think when they imagine the Metaverse. Players or users strap on a headset, and earphones to enter the world participate.
New technology is being developed to make the Metaverse experience more immersive with things such as sensors you can strap to your feet to simulate running, spinning chairs that move with your character. There are also tables where users can lie on their stomachs and experience flight by using almost all their senses.
You quite possibly have already entered the Metaverse in some ways. If you took part in a virtual meeting over Zoom, if you’ve created a memoji on an iPhone or Avatar on Google devices or Facebook, you’ve dipped a toe into the Metaverse.
Facebook is all-in on the Metaverse of course and has released some information on the future of Facebook Messenger where users and their avatars can hang out in groups in a virtual setting.
Of course, more experiences like this are not far into the future.
The question is where are people going to experience the Metaverse? Will it all be on the Facebook or Meta platform? Or will Facebook allow other platforms a space at the table? Will we be able, like in “Ready Player One” to take one virtual highway to Messenger and another virtual highway to Roblox? Will there be a connection to the PlayStation or Xbox worlds? Where will Google and Apple be in the Facebook/Meta universe? Will we be able to strap on one headset to experience them all?
Emerging technology such as crypto-currencies and NFTs are certainly positioned to be part of the Metaverse.
And who will be in the Metaverse? Only video-gamers? Probably not. Facebook/Meta is looking for ways to engage younger people who have moved on from Facebook.
The foundation of the Metaverse is well underway.