Metaverse: The Next Version Of The Internet

The term metaverse is quickly becoming a buzzword in technology and business - so much so that social media giant Facebook recently rebranded itself to "Meta" to signal its embrace of the futuristic idea. But, what exactly is metaverse?
In this post we will explore the meaning of the 'metaverse,' and related terms you need to understand it. 

What is Metaverse?

Firstly, there is no single agreed definition of metaverse. Why? because it's still just an idea. Its a vision of digital spaces which will be more lifelike with the help of virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and Blockchain.
Metaverse is a broad term that generally refers to shared virtual world environments which users can access via the internet. It will create online spaces where people's interactions will be more multidimensional than current technology supports.
The tech company Facebook(now Meta) which seems to have the biggest stake in the metaverse, describes it like: "The ‘metaverse’ is a set of virtual spaces where you can create and explore with other people who aren’t in the same physical space as you."
Metaverse could be used for practically anything - work, meetings, concerts, cinema trips, play - or just hanging out. Rather than just viewing digital content, people will be able to immerse themselves in a space where the digital and physical worlds converge. 

Augmented Reality And Virtual Reality

AR overlays visual elements, sound, and other input onto real-world settings to enhance the user experience. In contrast, virtual reality is entirely virtual and enhances fictional realities.
The simple diffrence between AR and VR is that Augmented reality, as the name suggests, is merely adding effect to the user's real-life experience. While, Virtual realty produces an entirely computer-generated simulation of an alternate world. VR simulations can create almost any visual imaginable for the player using special equipment like a headset device.
Though Meta’s announcement is the biggest splash in this space, early versions of the metaverse projects already exist and are active. For example, Fortnite and Roblox video games, and Decentraland - a virtual social world, can all be considered part of the metaverse already.
Source: Decentraland 
During Facebook Connect keynote, Zuckerberg said that "the best way to understand the metaverse is to experience it yourself, but it's a little tough because it doesn't fully exist yet."
Different aspects of Metaverse include:

1. A shared social space where avatars can represent users

The way on social media network, users are represented by their username (or Insta handle) or thumbnail picture; same way in the metaverse applications, users are represented by a customizable avatar that has the ability to move, speak, and/or perform animated actions. Virtual reality today have enabled users to truly embody their fantastical avatars, seeing through their virtual eyes and using hand-tracking controllers to gesture and interact with virtual items.

2. A persistent space for the avatars to inhabit and interact with

A virtual world that mimics the space constraints and land scarcity of our real world.

3. Ownership of virtual property the way we have in physical property

People are already using NFTs as a decentralized way to buy digital assets, independent of any controlling authority or corporate server. The NFT concept can also allow virtual goods to be moved freely between metaverses.

4. The 3-Dimensianonl telepresence through VR and AR

This is seen as the final step in achieving a complete metaverse state. The advances in virtual reality and augmented reality will enable us to break out of our flat screens to a 3D world where we can actually feel a sense of reality with other avatars occupying the same location. "It'll feel like you're right in the room together making eye contact, having a shared sense of space and not just looking at a grid of faces on a screen," as Zuckerberg said.
Initiatives like VRChat and Meta's own Horizon Worlds and Horizon Workplaces already are strong examples of how this could work.

Who owns Metaverse?

CEO of Fortnite publisher Epic, Tim Sweeney and Meta CEO Zuckerberg have maintained that they’re just building one piece of a larger interconnected metaverse, analogous to an individual social network on the current internet. “The metaverse isn’t a single product one company can build alone. Just like the internet, the metaverse exists whether Facebook is there or not,” says Facebook.
Interestingly, often roped into metaverse conversations Roblox and Epic Games' Fortnite, some say are way closer to making the metaverse happen than Meta. Both of the games are seen as persistent virtual worlds, with millions of gamers that gather to both play and socialize. There is persistence in objects (clothes and skins) and payment (Robux and V-Bucks). Ariana Grande concert event of Fortnite's was attended by millions, along with customizable avatars.
Other tech giants talking up the metaverse include Microsoft and chipmaker Nvidia. "We think there’s going to be lots of companies building virtual worlds and environments in the metaverse, in the same way there’s been lots of companies doing things on the World Wide Web,...It’s important to be open and extensible, so you can teleport to different worlds whether it’s by one company or another company, the same way I go from one web page to another web page.” says Richard Kerris, VP of Nvidia’s Omniverse platform.

Why NFTs are considered key to Metaverse? 

Non Fungible Tokens(NFTs) are a way of recording the ownership of a specific virtual good. Making and transferring virtual assets is a big part of the metaverse, thus NFTs are seen as the financial architecture for the metaverse. For example, if you buy a virtual T-shirt in Metaverse Platform A, NFTs are the way to create a permanent receipt and it also allows you redeem the same T-shirt in Metaverse Platforms B. The firms like Polygonal Mind are building a system called CryptoAvatars that allows you buy 3D avatars as NFTs and then use them across multiple virtual worlds.


Interest in the metaverse is anticipated to grow substantially as companies, investors, and tech enthusiasts want to be part of what could be the next big thing. Meta, for example, has already invested heavily in Augmented reality and Virtual reality, developing hardware like its Oculus VR headsets, while AR glasses and wristband technologies are in the works.