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First described in the novel Simulacron in 1968 then named in 1992 by Neal Stephenson, Metaverse became one of the trending words during the last months of 2021, and is very likely to become “Word of the Year” in 2022. But what is the Metaverse ?
What is the Metaverse ?
The Metaverse is characterized by a virtual reality created digitally and similar to a video game. Having a virtual life that is different from our real life is the prominent goal of putting one or more Metaverse online. You can thus connect to a parallel universe which does not take into account the material and emotional characteristics which we live on the planet earth.
Understanding the Metaverse.
In the first place, meta means beyond, higher or greater, and verse is used to mark the resemblance to a universe. Beyond the universe, it is from this etymology that this word comes. In 1992, Neal Stephenson first used the word in his novel Snow Crash.
At that time, humanity conceptualized what a parallel universe was, and thirty years later we already have the means to live it; a virtual reality headset truly projects you into a parallel universe to make us experience sensations through digital technology.
Obviously, sensations are limited and nothing beats the human body which allows us to live with our five senses. The virtual headset lets you experience sounds from a world created by developers who digitally fabricate environments.
The Metaverse is a collection of creations which, at this time, are not yet fully defined. Indeed, this process mixes both:
- Artificial intelligence under the power of computers and algorithms used,
- The virtual world, an ability to make our brain believe that we are in a virtual world,
- The gaming side, characterized as a kind of video game,
- Blockchain and cryptocurrencies which are the trading currencies to make the process even more unique and real.
A world linked to blockchain and cryptocurrencies.
In most video games, you may earn points, gold coins, or a unit of value that allows you to interact with the game and make transactions. In the parallel universe, blockchain provides broad economic and financial foundations that can make this “universe” even more realistic.
Really feeling in the game is one of the aspects most highlighted by the Metaverse, for this the transactions carried out must be able to be done in a fluid way without the player having to remove his virtual reality mask and make an exchange or enter their credit card to add currency to their game.
Cryptocurrency is one way to solve this problem, since it is a virtual asset. This makes it easy to transact online using a virtual wallet and a private security key. Validating your identity just by being in a Metaverse is obviously the goal that developers and creators want to achieve.
Rise of the Metaverse explained.
Much more than a simple trend, virtual universes are talking about themselves and spreading faster and faster. If the Metaverse has been around since 1992, it is Facebook in particular which provides more and more answers to questions asked by users.
Today, Mark Zuckerberg markets virtual reality headsets that immerse you sensorially and provide unique experiences through video games. To make our body movements in the game even more realistic, sensors and all kinds of technology would be placed on the physical body in order to know what the video game body is going through. So it is only recently that you can feel the sensation of being immersed in this new universe.
The four Metaverse pillars.
In order to be considered as a metaverse, many agrees the project should have:
- An open world,
- A sustainable world,
- An immersive world,
- A world of value and digital scarcity via NFTs.
The value given to any object in this virtual world is possible due to the presence of Non Fungible Tokens (NFTs), the particularity of which is to attribute to an unique object an authentic and non-reproducible value.
Much of what we call the Metaverse today is ultimately just video games where you play as a hero and complete missions. The Metaverse in all its splendor is a universe that immerses us with maximum immersion. This is what Mark Zuckerberg is achieving with his phenomenal project.
Facebook made the decision to change its name to appear under the name Meta. In addition to wanting to redo the facade and public image of the platform, M.Zuckerberg wants to mark the world with an imagined future under the influence of technology. Meta will thus be better referenced on search engines. When you search for Meta in an internet search bar, you will see many applications appear which have already implemented extremely developed virtual realities.
The metaverse is in full swing, here are the projects we are currently seeing:
- Exclusible already features luxury brands offering NFTs in order to interact only in a metaverse.
- OVR is a virtual world in which it is possible to buy plots of land as if they were NFTs, which gives ownership of a piece of Metavers.
- Decentraland or even The Sandbox, games in which it is possible to buy plots of land using NFTs in order to immerse yourself in a universe. Some companies run events that can only be accessed through Metaverse.
Trending metaverse FAQs.
Here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the Metaverse:
How do I access the metaverse ?
Facebook’s metaverse does not exist yet. When it will be, it can be accessed via VR headsets, augmented reality smart glasses, and in limited ways, on desktop and mobile devices.
Are there any regulations related to the metaverse ?
Metaverse is too young to be under the jurisdiction of traditional regulations, but Facebook is taking a step towards compliance. It works with several educational and legal institutions to make sure they are diligent.
What are the defining features of the metaverse?
The Metaverse is persistent, real-time, infinite, interoperable, and self-sustaining.
Who will run the metaverse?
Metaverse would be like a “materialized internet” run by multiple decentralized actors, such as players or example.
What business opportunities does the Metaverse offer?
The Metaverse will be a huge economic engine. There will at first have plenty jobs opportunities to set it up, such as content creators, Augmented Reality (AR)/Virtual Reality (VR) programmers, etc. For example, in the European Union (UE) alone, Facebook plans to hire 10,000 workers to build ‘metaverse’. In the future, users will also be able to make money with the Metaverse.
Virtual worlds are not created to escape life on earth. This is indeed what will prevent a certain part of the population from adopting this kind of digital tool. Some might only have social interactions through the Metaverse, withdraw into themselves, and end up losing interest in the simple things in life and nature.
However, the ambitious create an interest in immersing themselves in such universes that make us forget the senses and the essence of life, through novelties and opportunities to experience extraordinary moments. It is up to everyone to live their experience, develop their purpose and decide to move forward as best they can.
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