In 1992, science fiction author Neal Stephenson used the term metaverse in his cyberpunk novel Snow Crash. While the idea of a metaverse is not new, the future is here. As Facebook rebrands as Meta and Microsoft announce its intention to launch into this new space, we will embark on innovative worlds that allow us to engage in new ways. Whether socially, economically, or professionally, the metaverse promises to expand horizons and push the boundaries of technology as it speeds headlong into the great unknown.
As with any new future vision, many people wonder what they can expect from the metaverse and if they will engage in the space at all. If the metaverse is an idea new to you, you are not alone. It may help you to understand some primary properties that are to be expected from the metaverse as you determine how, when, and if you leap into its new worlds.
Metaverse Is A Virtual World
An essential characteristic of a metaverse is that it is a virtual world. With your computer, mobile device, gaming console, wearable technology, and any other device, you can explore the metaverse immersed in 3D graphics and high-quality sound. This immersion makes you feel present in the virtual world, which enhances your experience whether you’re watching a professional digital baseball game or simply exploring.
Metaverse And Virtual Reality
To enter the metaverse, you must be equipped with a virtual reality headset. This equipment brings the virtual world to life, even if you are still standing in your living room at home. Virtual reality tricks your senses into believing what you are doing and seeing in the metaverse is real, creating the same feelings and responses you would otherwise experience in similar situations in the real world.
Metaverse As A Social Experiment
The metaverse is billed as a social platform for people to engage with others without the boundaries and limitations of the real world. As a person in the metaverse, you are an avatar who can make friends and have adventures with other people. This social aspect of the metaverse is central to Meta’s (Facebook) platform of networking, connecting, and eventually interfacing with the internet. Microsoft is pursuing the metaverse as a better way to connect for professional reasons, upgrading virtual meetings and business-related experiences through virtual reality.
Metaverse Is An Escape
Metaverse allows users to build and visit a virtual world while sitting in the comfort of their homes. New virtual buildings can be constructed and remain in place the next time the user visits. You can even own a virtual property in the metaverse, maybe living next to your favorite movie star. The user’s digital creations and generated content build the metaverse much as it does on other social media platforms.
Using the metaverse to socialize with others and create new spaces is appealing in this post-pandemic society. Professionally, appearing as a hologram at your board meeting instead of financing the travel to get there may be the next best business tool we have. If, when, and how you plan to engage with others in the metaverse is, for now, strictly up to you.