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What is the Metaverse?

In the hypothetical immersive virtual world known as the “metaverse,” users can communicate with each other and virtual objects in real-time. It’s difficult to pinpoint what exactly is the Metaverse, even if you asked some tech mogul like Mark Zuckerberg or Satya Nadella, they wouldn’t be able to tell you exactly what the metaverse is. Is it a video game? Or something similar to AI? Siri? Or Zoom? It’s difficult to say. But perhaps they can tell you that it is the future of us all. 

Nevertheless, the definition defined by The Guardian’s article written by Alex Hern in 2022 can tell us more about what is the metaverse and how important it is to people, society, and the future. It was defined by Hern (2022) as the metaverse persistent network of 3D spaces. Today, almost all programs, digital operating systems, and webpages operate online using the same protocols and technology. The metaverse is a 3D elevation of the internet world that includes much of consumer leisure and socializing as well as augmented reality—unseen virtual simulations in the real world. Nonetheless, it is not the same thing as virtual reality, or to better word it, not the same. Hern has mentioned that he believes that it is significant to keep access points and particular experiences apart from the metaverse as a whole. This is because the metaverse doesn’t equate to virtual reality like how the mobile internet doesn’t equate to apps. But to say that the metaverse and virtual reality are 2 completely different things is also wrong. This is because VR or AR (augmented reality) headsets are a common way to reach the metaverse, yet it is not necessary.

Up until now, the closest thing that can be appropriately defined as the metaverse is Roblox or Minecraft as these identify as consumer leisure-oriented gaming platforms that have already reached ten of millions of people on a daily basis. These platforms also have been tightly integrating millions of different virtual worlds. 

How is the metaverse related to our lives?

The metaverse is indeed related to our lives in several ways. First, the existence of the metaverse enhances socialization, social interaction, and collaboration. The metaverse may offer new opportunities for socializing, interacting, and forming communities. People might be able to connect with others who have similar interests, independently of where they are physically located. It enables users to interact with people from all over the world and share experiences like games, concerts, and educational pursuits. More social contact, education, and creativity might result from this. 

Some examples of socialization are virtual gatherings and events. People can meet and socialize with others from anywhere in the world using the platform that the metaverse can offer for virtual gatherings and activities. A music festival or conference, for instance, may be held fully in the metaverse, with participants engaging and exchanging experiences in a common virtual setting. Or even virtual classrooms and educational experiences which refer to the fact that students might be able to engage in virtual classes and communicate with instructors and peers in a common virtual setting, thanks to the metaverse. The metaverse, for instance, might be used to perform virtual simulations and experiments, offering a rich and engaging learning environment.

These illustrations show how the metaverse, by providing individuals with an innovative method to communicate with one another in a common virtual setting, could improve socializing and collaboration. We may see even more cutting-edge applications that enhance our daily lives in a range of ways as the technology underlying the metaverse develops.

Another aspect of life with the metaverse is entertainment. Unlike other aspects, entertainment during the metaverse would be revolutionary. To paint the big picture, the metaverse is a space where things would be advanced, and extreme and would always amaze an individual. For instance, we would get immersive music experiences. Users could experience virtual concerts and music festivals in an immersive setting that reacts to their choices and activities thanks to the metaverse. The virtual environment, for instance, can alter depending on the genre of music playing, with various interactive features and visual effects that make the experience more interesting. Not only that but also interactive movies and tv shows. The metaverse could provide an opportunity for users to engage with movies and TV series in new ways, for example by creating their adventures or taking on a character’s role. The utilization of VR and AR technology could accomplish this by enabling individuals to enter the narrative and interact with the virtual environment.

And that’s not all of what the metaverse has to offer, for video games lovers, the metaverse could make enhanced video games possible. Gaming might be elevated to a whole new level in the metaverse by developing immersive, interactive settings that respond to the user’s choices and actions. Video games are already a common source of entertainment. A more interactive and immersive experience could be achieved, for instance, by developing a virtual gaming world that reacts to the user’s bodily movements. And this reminded me of a sci-fi movie I watched a couple of years ago in which it perfectly illustrates the metaverse and what our future could be like. 

A great illustration of how the metaverse could take gaming to a new level is shown in the film “Ready Player One,” which uses immersive, interactive environments that react to the user’s decisions and actions. The story of Wade Watts, a teenager who spends most of his time in a virtual environment called the OASIS, is followed in the 2045 setting of the film. Users can connect and delve into a massive virtual universe that is stuffed with challenges, games, and interactive surroundings in the OASIS. Users can use their bodies to control their avatar’s motions and activities in The OASIS, which makes for a more interesting and dynamic experience.

The OASIS’s capacity to react to user decisions and behaviors is one of its distinguishing qualities. For instance, Wade and his buddies compete in a virtual race on a set of obstacles that are dangling in the air in one scenario. The surroundings react to the user’s actions, and the obstacles move and alter in response to the user’s decisions and motions. Overall, “Ready Player One” offers an engrossing picture of how the metaverse could revolutionize gaming by constructing vivid, dynamic settings that react to the user’s decisions and actions. Although building a fully working metaverse is still a ways off, the film gives us a hint of what might be possible in the future.

Any Negative Aspects?

Even if the metaverse has the potential to transform many aspects of our lives, it’s vital to also take into account any potential drawbacks that might result from its broad use. One of the biggest worries is that the metaverse might make current social and economic disparities worse. The benefits of the metaverse’s numerous uses may be enjoyed by those with the means to access and engage with it, while others without such means may be left behind. As people grow more and more engaged in virtual worlds at the expense of real-world experiences and interactions, the metaverse may also result in the growth of brand-new types of addiction and isolation. 

As the metaverse becomes more well-known, there are worries that it can turn into a haven for online abuse like cyberbullying and harassment. The anonymity and distance that virtual settings offer may give people the confidence to act in a damaging way. This might increase online harassment and hurt users by fostering a bad environment. Moreover, the metaverse may get infected with propaganda and false information. It could be hard to tell what is real and what is phony with the ability to produce and edit digital stuff. False information, conspiracies, and other dangerous stuff might spread as a result of this. However, it can present serious obstacles to civic engagement and democracy since people might be misinformed about crucial political and social concerns. 

As a result, even while the metaverse presents numerous chances for creativity and beneficial social interaction, it is essential to carefully consider the risks and difficulties that might exist. As technology advances, it will be crucial to create effective safeguards to make sure that the metaverse continues to be a secure place for all users.

Lastly…

A fascinating innovation called the metaverse has the power to completely alter many facets of our daily life. On the other hand, it’s crucial to embrace it slowly and carefully. Exacerbating social and economic inequities, developing brand-new types of addiction and isolation, and promoting the dissemination of false information and propaganda are just a few of the potential risks and difficulties connected to the metaverse. Society must cultivate digital literacy, diversity, and inclusivity, set ethical standards, and balance the usage of the metaverse with ties to and experiences in the actual world to coexist with it. By doing these things, we can make sure that the metaverse is created and used in a way that is sustainable and beneficial to all. Sooner or later, innovations and technology would also go forward and it is the human minds that need to adapt to this new phase of technological advancement. Therefore, it is always an excellent idea to try to understand what it is, what it can do, and how it can benefit or harm us in which we can use this knowledge to leverage our life with these new and exciting innovations just like how our grandparents and our parents handled the invention of smartphones and the internet. 

Sources 

Dean, S. (2021, June 14). The Metaverse: What It Is, Where to Find it, Who Will Build It, and Fortnite. The LA Times. https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2021-06-14/metaverse-explainer

Fink, C. (2020, March 30). The Metaverse: Our Augmented Future. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/charliefink/2020/03/30/the-metaverse-our-augmented-future/?sh=5cc555f16e75

Lee, J. J., & Hammer, J. (2011). Gamification in education: what, how, why bother? Academic Exchange Quarterly, 15(2), 1-5. https://search.proquest.com/docview/870165905?pq-origsite=gscholar

Lee, T. B. (2021, July 29). What is the Metaverse, and Why Are Companies Like Facebook and Epic Building It? Ars Technica. https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2021/07/what-is-the-metaverse-and-why-are-companies-like-facebook-and-epic-building-it/

Liu, R., & Liang, Q. (2021). Exploring the Metaverse: Opportunities and Challenges of Future Immersive Social Networks. In Proceedings of the 54th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS), pp. 3154-3163. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/9365319

The Guardian. (2022, July 10). Exit the internet, enter the metaverse: your online future is in 3D. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2022/jul/10/exit-the-internet-enter-the-metaverse-your-online-future-is-in-3d