Facebook is changing its name to reflect its rebranding from a social media conglomerate to a metaverse.
Call it Meta from now on. And if Facebook has decided to use it to give itself a new identity, the term is not uncommon in Silicon Valley, with companies like Microsoft also talking about the convergence of the digital and physical worlds. The popular children's game Roblox describes itself as a metaverse company. Epic Games' Fortnite is also considered part of the metaverse. And it doesn't stop there, music, fashion, the metaverse seems to be an active part of every conversation about the future of all entertainment, and beyond.
Because yes, let's face it, the term "meta" is short for "metaverse".
But what exactly is a metaverse?
To best define it, the term "metaverse" is very broad. In general, people use it to refer to a virtual world that people can access and share via the Internet.
The term is generally used to describe digital spaces made more vivid through the use of virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR). They are a manifestation of real reality.
You've probably been in one of these
Chances are, you've already been inside what appears to be a metaverse. Most video games that have worlds, universes of their own that operate according to a predefined set of rules or order, can be called a metaverse. However, Silicon Valley is striving to make these worlds more realistic, more livable. This deeper interest is probably a product of the time many have spent living their lives remotely, via their laptops, over the past two years.
There are certain rules that make a virtual reality a metaverse
First of all, there is no reset, no pause and no end - a metaverse is undefined. This is what differentiates it from a virtual world or reality. It is a living experience that exists permanently for everyone in real time. The metaverse should also have its own fully functioning economy, open to all.
You can own property in a metaverse
You can not only own property, but also hold assets that will have value in the real world. There is a specific type of metaverse that uses what is called blockchain technology. Blockchain is more simply defined as a decentralized, distributed ledger technology that records the provenance of a digital asset. In other words, users can buy virtual land and other digital assets using crypto-currencies, and these purchases would be recorded.
The metaverse is a force to be reckoned with
For the metaverse to work, all the players in the Internet would have to come together to create unprecedented interoperability of data, digital objects or assets, content, etc. in each of these experiences. The question would then arise as to how many avatars one could have online.
Many works of fiction, such as Ready Player One or The Matrix, take place, at least in part, in full-fledged metaverses. Usually dystopian, these works of fiction show humanity using the metaverse as the real world becomes increasingly unlivable.
In the real world, the metaverse is still in its infancy but already seems to be of great interest to investors. Some even see it as a... revolution!