Is Metaverse the next iteration of the internet? The phrase has been widely discussed over the last few years. Though not many have been able to describe what exactly it is with a precise definition.
The term Metaverse can be quite tricky, it was framed by Neal Stephenson in his 1992 science-fiction novel, Snow Crash. The author describes a virtual world where people could interact with each other and with virtual objects in real time.
Now it’s being described as a three dimensional evolution of the internet. It enables people to fully immerse themselves in interconnected virtual experiences that they have agency to control and shape.
Although the concept of the metaverse has been around for decades, it only gained serious attention in the past few years as new technologies have emerged that may finally allow it to reach its full potential. Throughout this article, I will discuss the drivers for the metaverse, offer a new perspective on it, and discuss how individuals can take advantage of it.
Driving Force behind Metaverse
The emergence of the metaverse is driven by advances in VR, AR, 5G, AI and blockchain.Widespread adoption of virtual and augmented reality devices could enable people to enter digital realms. The global reach of 5G would create an interconnected world accessible from any device. AI advancements would enhance the production and consumption of virtual worlds. And blockchain could give individuals ownership rights over digital items and a means for monetary transactions within the metaverse.
As a third dimension of the internet, the metaverse can be seen in some ways as the next iteration. In the “proto-metaverse,” we can already see some experiences that are powered by gaming. Many of these gaming prototypes, such as Roblox or Fortnite, are filled with millions of Gen Z players who spend hours playing their favorite games every day.
Potential of Metaverse
While this proto-metaverse phase is impressive, we’re still a long way from achieving the vision of a metaverse that plays a central role in our lives, as the internet does today.
There is potential for the metaverse to host non-gaming experiences as well. The metaverse is still in its infancy, but it offers the possibility of fundamentally changing the way we interact with each other and the world around us.
Like the internet, virtual worlds may become a place where people engage in commerce, cultural experiences, and social hangouts. In the same way the internet does today, the metaverse could become a dominant platform for communication and interaction as more and more people connect to it.
Benefits Of Metaverse
Recently, the Web3 metaverse has gained traction as a decentralized, crypto-enabled concept. It has been common for users of popular Web2 metaverse platforms to complain about anti-creator platform policies, limitations on identity portability, and creator assets being locked on the platform.
The Web3 metaverse is a virtual realm based on decentralized technology, like blockchain. This offers users more control over their own activities and ownership of assets. With no centralized authority controlling what people can do or what content is accessible, this could potentially create a democratic atmosphere where users have the opportunity to express themselves and establish the kinds of experiences they desire.
Even with these noble intentions, Web3 metaverse platforms have seen limited adoption and are operating in a fairly centralized manner, despite their promises of openness and autonomy.
Many corporations have entered the metaverse in the past few years. Large global brands like Nike and Gucci invested heavily in setting up their presence in the metaverse, as well as chart-topping artists like Travis Scott and Lil Nas X hosting massive metaverse concerts with millions of concurrent users. While corporate commitment shows the potential of the metaverse space, it also highlights the lack of accessibility for individual creators to enter the space currently.
For the metaverse to realise its potential as our future, it has to be accessible to all. Unfortunately, the entrance requirements for individual creators to make their metaverse space and presence are excessively imposing; with most branded experiences costing between $75,000 and $150,000 in known platforms. Some of these experiences could even be as expensive as a million dollars. To create their own without external help, individuals need significant financial support or possess an expert aptitude in 3-D design, graphics design, coding and community management.
For most creators, this path simply isn’t feasible, but I believe we’re at a turning point. As new technologies emerge, innovators continue to work on pushing the metaverse to its full potential. We will see the launch of platforms in the near future that give individual creators the tools they need to achieve their visions—without spending a lot of money or time.
We will begin to see the promises of the open metaverse realized when metaverse experiences are truly accessible, transparent, and customizable.