What It Is – 3
Think of the metaverse as a cross between the web, gaming, mixed reality (VR/AR), with a touch of crypto. These ideas have so far existed and evolved independently. The metaverse is what happens when they all come together.
Gene Park in Washington Post: “The most widely agreed core attributes of a Metaverse include always being live and persistent — with both planned and spontaneous events always occurring — while at the same time providing an experience that spans and operates across platforms and the real world. A Metaverse must also have no real cap on audience, and have its own fully functioning economy.”
The Conversation explains the distinctive features of the metaverse:
There are three key aspects of the metaverse: presence, interoperability and standardization.
Presence is the feeling of actually being in a virtual space, with virtual others. Decades of research has shown that this sense of embodiment improves the quality of online interactions. This sense of presence is achieved through virtual reality technologies such as head-mounted displays.
Interoperability means being able to seamlessly travel between virtual spaces with the same virtual assets, such as avatars and digital items. ReadyPlayerMe allows people to create an avatar that they can use in hundreds of different virtual worlds, including in Zoom meetings through apps like Animaze. Meanwhile, blockchain technologies such as cryptocurrencies and nonfungible tokens facilitate the transfer of digital goods across virtual borders.
Standardization is what enables interoperability of platforms and services across the metaverse. As with all mass-media technologies – from the printing press to texting – common technological standards are essential for widespread adoption.
Swathi Moorthy wrote in MoneyControl: “[It] could be that you could be watching a movie with your friends in a virtual theatre, transacting using cryptocurrency, or doing an interview in your digital avatar, sitting across the interviewers, in a space that resembles an office with lifts, cafeteria and workers milling about. It might be a totally different world… [The] metaverse, where you will be interacting in real time in the digital universe as you do in real life, requires technology that works in real time and at scale that can handle not just a hundred or a thousand but millions of people. This translates to massive computing infrastructure, which is a challenge that companies need to solve.”
Richard Waters wrote in the Financial Times: “Rather than plunging users straight into a full VR world, the metaverse could well take shape more gradually. Using augmented reality to project aspects of the metaverse on to the physical world, for instance, would see it take shape first as a partial digital overlay. The final product could be an ultimate “walled garden”, a place where a single company benefits from the total immersion of users. If Facebook and other big internet companies build their own — and particularly if they each sell their own proprietary hardware to access these zones — then the result could be a collection of isolated worlds, forcing digital citizens to pick where they spend the bulk of their time. On the other hand, the metaverse could comprise a set of more closely interconnected worlds, some of them controlled entirely by their users. This would be a place where people could take their personal data, digital goods and favourite services with them as they move from place to place.”