The metaverse virtual universe could revolutionize the Internet

Metaverse, where people can stay connected wherever they are through virtual reality glasses, is believed by Mark Zuckerberg to be the future of the Internet.

Imagine a world where you could sit and chat happily in the same chair with a friend who lives thousands of miles away, or attend an important meeting at the office right on the beach. The Metaverse - a vision of the future that sounds far-fetched - is what the tech giant Facebook sees as the next leap in the development of the Internet.

Metaverse is a science fiction term, mentioned by Neal Stephenson in his 1992 novel Snow Crash. The main content of the book is set in the future, where people use virtual reality glasses to interact in a game-like digital world. This book has long been a favorite of many Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, but in recent months the metaverse has become one of the hottest concepts in the tech industry. Companies pour millions of dollars into development.

On July 26, Facebook announced the creation of a team in charge of realizing Zuckerberg's vision for the metaverse. "This is an important part of the next chapter of technology," Zuckerberg said last week. Within the next five years, he predicts, Facebook will go from "primarily a social media company to a virtual space company".

As with many new technology terms, the definition of the metaverse depends on who you ask. But overall, it involves blending the real world with the digital world. With the help of augmented reality glasses, metaverse allows users to see real-time information right in front of their eyes, from traffic updates to pollution in their living area.

However, metaverse enthusiasts are dreaming of an even larger idea, when virtual universes allow people to feel the digital environment. As employees tire of video meetings during the pandemic, Zuckerberg is particularly excited about the idea of ​​multiple people being gathered together in a virtual room like they're facing each other in real life.

Casino and digital Gucci handbags

The games use a role-playing approach, allowing players to step into the digital world somewhat offering a glimpse of what the final metaverse will look like.

Since the early 2000s, the Second Life game has appeared, allowing players to create their own digital and interactive avatars, shopping for real money. More recently, plots of land in Decentraland – a virtual world game where players can watch concerts, visit galleries and gamble – have been sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars via cryptocurrency. Mana.

Another hugely popular video game right now, Fortnite, is expanding into other forms of entertainment as well, following rapper Travis Scott's performance last year, attracting 12.3 million followers. Fortnite-owning company Epic Games said in April that $1 billion had been raised to help build a "vision of the metaverse".

In May of this year, on Roblox, a game platform popular with children, a digital version of a Gucci bag sold for more than $4,100 - more expensive than the real version.

Technology consultant Cathy Hackl says today's younger generation is more comfortable with the idea of ​​attaching real meaning to virtual experiences and objects.

"My first gig was in a stadium. My son (rapper Lil Nas X)'s first gig was on Roblox. The fact that it was held in Roblox didn't make the event any less. more meaningful," Hackl said.

Potential or counterproductive?

Hackl rejects the outdated vision presented in Snow Crash or Ready Player One of a virtual world where people come just to run away from the brutal truths of life. She also doesn't think the metaverse will keep everyone locked in their homes with virtual reality glasses around the clock.

Facebook has invested heavily in technology that allows people to feel like they're somewhere else, such as the Portal video calling device, the Oculus glasses and the Horizon virtual reality platform. But even Zuckerberg admits that the existing VR headsets are "a bit of a hassle," requiring even greater development to create the kind of experience he once described.

Wedbush technology analyst Michael Pachter said it was difficult to predict whether Facebook could truly transform into a "virtual space company" in five years. "But Facebook certainly has a huge advantage, which is the billions of users it uses across its different platforms every day. If they really offer entertainment options, chances are they'll be successful," he said. ". SkyPirl Rumhaus

Last updated