Firstly I advise you to read my article about Web 3.0. The metaverse is just an integral part of the new Internet, tentatively called Web 3.0.
History of the metaverse
And we’ll start from the beginning. The term “metaverse” was coined itself, as befits the science fiction writer Neil Stevenson. In the 1992 cyber-punk novel Avalanche, the metaverse was a three-dimensional virtual reality that swept the entire world. Stevens’ metaverse is the next stage in the development of the Internet, combining physical, augmented and virtual reality.
People worked and spent their free time in it. The main character, for example, in real life was an ordinary pizza delivery man, and in the metaverse he was a very cool ninja hacker.
The word “avatar” also comes from Stevenson’s novel. People connected to the metaverse using avatars and could do everything the same as in the real world: travel, communicate with other users, work, search for information. , People had the opportunity to escape reality and live in a virtual world, sitting at home.
Elements of the metaverse appeared in the gaming industry and cinematography long before the hype that came in 2021: the films The Matrix, Blade Runner, or, for example, Ready Player One. The massively multiplayer online game Oasis became the analogue of the metaverse. Among the games, one can note the game Second Life, which is no longer even a game, but a three-dimensional virtual space with elements of a social network. Over 1 million active users decide for themselves what to do within this metaverse. There are signs of the metaverse in games like Warhammer, Minecraft, Cyberpunk 2077, Fallout, Fornite, Final Fantasy and many others.
Definition of “metaverse”
Like Web3, the concept of “metaverse” has not acquired an approved definition yet. The Wikipedia website says that the word “Metaverse” (derived from the Greek μετά- “between, after, through” and the word universe) means:
“A constantly operating virtual space in which people can interact with each other and with digital objects through their avatars, using virtual reality technologies.”
Venture capitalist Matthew Ball, author of a huge essay on the metaverse, defines it as:
“A vast network of persistent, real-time rendered 3D worlds and simulations that maintain the continuity of identity, objects, history, payments and rights and can be experienced synchronously by an almost unlimited number of users, each with a unique sense of presence.”
On the Meta site, the definition sounds easier:
“A collection of virtual spaces that you can create and explore with other people who are not in the same physical space as you.”
Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, says that the metaverse:
“Something like an online playground where you can play Fortnite with friends one moment and watch Netflix the next.”
But the simplest expression was Mark Zuckerberg. He is a the creator of Facebook, now Meta. He says:
“The metaverse is a“ massive internet”.
These are all opinions of famous personalities and experts, but you will watch this video to the end to form your own vision of this phenomenon.
Ball’s 7 Metaverse Principles
So, in order to formulate our definition, let’s figure out the principles on which the concept of “metaverse” is built. Matthew Ball formulated 7 core principles:
- Be consistent. No pauses or reboots – this is an immanent, endless world.
- To exist synchronously for everyone and in real time.
- Have no limit on the number of users.
- Have a fully functioning domestic economy. People can not only spend money in it, but also earn money, open their own business, invest and sell.
- Tie together real life and virtual. It is not so much a world separate from the present, as its augmentation, an addition.
- Provide users with “unparalleled data compatibility”. So that if you bought clothes for your Fortnite avatar, you can use them in any other game or app.
Be open to any authors and content makers who can create their own “experiences” within the metaverse.
I see that we need to create a new Internet to implement all these principles. And for all this, a blockchain is needed as a basis.
Let’s talk about why the metaverse is becoming popular right now, because as we already found out, this is not a new concept.
- Pandemic. The first reason for the popularization of the metauniverses is the pandemic. It drove people into their own apartments, to work remotely, social distancing and isolation from society. Here the idea that you can visit any place without leaving your home, interact with other people and lead a more or less fulfilling life came up perfectly.
- Democratizing the economy. The next reason can be called the demand of society for the democratization of the economy. Indeed, in the metaverse, it doesn’t matter what country you are from, what kind of education you have and whether you belong to the elite stratum of society. All avatars are equal, all have equal access to virtual goods. At least those from below have a chance for a social lift. All this will level out, of course, but there is a chance for a more democratic distribution of resources.
- Logical upgrade. Well, the third reason was a logical upgrade of existing social networks – a child of Web2.0. Technologies and devices have appeared that allow you to make a leap in the development of interaction between users. Blockchain and VR glasses, a decentralized economy and ultra-high-speed Internet appeared. Therefore, the metaverse is the updated social networks from the world of Web3.
Well, Mark Zuckerberg with his “love” for the metauniverses and the world’s leading brands, which all have begun to dive into the world of the metauniverses and NFTs, are a natural consequence and catalysts for development, since they go where there is demand, users and, most importantly, money.
What does it take for the metaverse to become a truly massive phenomenon, not only in the headlines, but also in reality? Rather, in virtual or augmented reality:
- Devices. Smartphones have become the catalyst for the development of social networks. So in the case of the metauniverses, it is necessary to establish mass production of devices for interacting with the metauniverses: VR headsets, tactile gloves, projection systems and various sensors.
- Net. We remember that the metauniverses must work constantly, in real time and provide access to millions of users at the same time. This requires high bandwidth and decentralized data transfer.
Calculations. In addition to speed, the power of the equipment is also needed. Physics processing of objects, rendering, coordination and data synchronization between artificial intelligence, projections, motion capture, etc., etc.
- Platforms. At this stage, the existing platforms are in their early stages and have a long, but possibly quick way to go before they become usable.
- New standards. For the development of the metauniverses, as in its time for the development of the Web 2.0 Internet, new formats, services, engines and other mechanisms for interaction between people will be needed. They must support copyright, data export / import, rendering technologies, AI and physics.
- Payments. The metaverse is not just a new generation of social networks, it is a whole new economy, in which there should be new decentralized payment services and other financial instruments that can cover the needs of the new virtual world.
- New content. For the metauniverses to become mainstream, they must be filled with new types of content that can be specially created, sold, bought, stored, and so on. A new system for managing digital assets within the metaverse.
- User behavior. And most importantly, people must learn to do all this en masse. A new scheme of interaction between people, companies, brands should be established. I do not know how long it will take for this, but all this is much closer than it seems.
This was the theoretical part of the “metauniverses”
Disclaimer: This article is not investment advice. Assess the risks yourself before making any investment decisions.