What is...the Metaverse?
You may have been hearing the word Metaverse tossed around a lot lately. But what exactly is the Metaverse, and how will if affect you?
What is the Metaverse?
You may recall back in 2021 Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook's parent company name would be changed to Meta. This change is deeply tied to the concept of the Metaverse, not to be confused with the Multiverse (which is a hypothetical group of multiple universes).
Simply put, the Metaverse is a virtual and digital space where people using Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) tools can immerse themselves completely. It's like the Internet2 (squared).
How do I use the Metaverse?
As of right now... you can't. Not really anyhow. The Metaverse isn't real yet. Many companies offer a Metaverse-like experience with users having avatars, VR, digital goods available for purchase and online communities dedicated to replicating an immersive experience, but ultimately, these worlds are isolated within their individual platforms.
Many experts cite the online game platform Roblox, as a primer for what the Metaverse could look like. A space where friends, family, and strangers from all over the world can come together to create, celebrate, and connect.
Why is the Metaverse in the news?
In addition to Zuckerberg's 2021 announcement about the rebranding of Facebook corporate to Meta, Microsoft cited the Metaverse as a reason for their proposed $69 million acquisition of game company Acitvision Blizzard. The Metaverse is Silicon Valley's newest buzzword and many corporations are banking on it being the way of the future. But many skeptics argue that it's not an inevitable evolution of humanity and technology, and that we should be cautious of this promised future as more studies show that increasing time spent online can lead to feelings of intense isolation.
The Metaverse offers so many possibilities that it's difficult to understand just how it may change our lives. One thing we know for sure is that as we inch closer towards building a true Metaverse, we'll encounter obstacles and successes that we can't even begin to imagine.