What is the Metaverse? The Basic Principles of An Increasingly Digitized World

January 10, 2022

Where did the concept of the Metaverse originate, and who will be the builders of the new frontier?

Without a doubt, the Metaverse has been a trending topic in the worlds of technology, media, and marketing. Some of the concept’s popularity can be connected to Facebook’s rebrand to “Meta”, but many of the core ideas have been around for years before the social media giant made the title switch. 

There is no doubt that the Metaverse, a complicated and, at times, the controversial concept will be important to understand and appreciate as it becomes more intertwined with our day-to-day lives. But what is the Metaverse, exactly? 

Here’s everything you need to know. 

The Metaverse Defined, In Layman’s Terms: 

Simply put, the Metaverse is a future existence that allows elements from our physical world to transcend into the fully digital. By combining elements of virtual reality, augmented reality, digital assets, and video, the Metaverse will allow users to exist in a fully digital universe via connected glasses and headsets – or via tech we don’t yet have a name for. In this virtual space, users can work, play, learn, network, and attend concerts and trips from around the world. 

Because the core technology behind the idea is still new, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, estimates it could take five to 10 years for the Metaverse to launch and become mainstream. However, aspects of the Metaverse currently exist today. Multiplayer social games like Fortnite, Roblox, and Minecraft are a few examples of virtual worlds where players can attend concerts, dress their avatars, and connect with others in a digital space. 

Where Did The Idea Come From?

The term “Metaverse” was coined by author Neal Stephenson in his award-winning novel Snow Crash. The 1992 novel details a dystopian society where people use digital avatars to enter a virtual reality world as a means to escape the real world. 

Unlike Stephenson’s Metaverse, where real and virtual worlds are separated, the Metaverse envisioned by today’s Metaverse supporters interweaves our physical and virtual worlds as an addition to our physical existence, not as an escape. The result will be a digital world that can do everything that’s possible in the real world – and more.

How will it work?

According to Metaverse expert and visionary Matthew Ball, there are several key elements to the Metaverse: 

  1. It does not end and can not be paused or reset – Unlike a video game, The Metaverse will continue indefinitely and can not be turned off. 
  2. It exists all the time, in real-time – Although there will be pre-scheduled events, the Metaverse will be synchronous, change in real-time, and will exist persistently for everyone.  
  3. There is no limit to how many users can be a part of the Metaverse – It is essential to truly be the Metaverse, everyone within the world will have the opportunity to attend any place, event, or activity at the same time. 
  4. The Metaverse will have its own fully functioning economy where users can buy, sell, invest, and work. Both individuals and businesses will be able to be rewarded for work that produces value to others. 
  5. The Metaverse will be filled with content created by the users themselves. Independent individuals and organized groups will operate and populate the content and experiences in this world. 

Although it may be years until the fully realized vision of the Metaverse comes to fruition, we are seeing many key building block steps occur right now. 

In this era of technological advancement and innovation, there are sure to be exciting opportunities. Beyond all else, every step we take into the Metaverse will change how we connect, communicate, and unleash our creativity – we will see you there! 

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