You may have heard the term “metaverse” recently, especially after Facebook announced its rebranding as “Meta” and its vision to create a virtual space that will act as a parallel to the real world. But what exactly is the metaverse and why should you care?
The metaverse is a collective term for a set of digital spaces that you can move seamlessly between, using different devices such as your phone, computer, or virtual reality headset. In the metaverse, you can socialize, play, work, learn, shop, and more, with people from all over the world, in immersive and interactive ways. The metaverse is not just one platform or game, but the sum of all virtual worlds, augmented reality, and the internet.
The concept of the metaverse is not new. It was coined by sci-fi author Neal Stephenson in his 1992 novel “Snow Crash”, where he described a computer-generated universe where people could interact through avatars. Since then, the idea of the metaverse has inspired many creators and developers to build virtual worlds and experiences that blur the boundaries between reality and fiction.
Some examples of metaverses that already exist are:
- Roblox: a popular online game platform where users can create and play millions of games with their friends.
- Fortnite: a battle royale game that also hosts live events such as concerts, movie screenings, and collaborations with celebrities and brands.
- Decentraland: a blockchain-based virtual world where users can buy, sell, and create digital assets and experiences using cryptocurrency.
- Yachting Metaverse: a virtual space dedicated to yachts and the yachting lifestyle, where users can enjoy virtual tours of boats, events, salons, and more.
The metaverse is not just for entertainment or gaming. It also has many potential applications for education, business, health care, social good, and more. For example:
- Students can learn about history by watching it unfold in the metaverse or explore other planets up close.
- Workers can join meetings remotely where they feel like they are in the same room with their colleagues or clients.
- Patients can receive medical care or therapy through virtual reality devices or holograms.
- Activists can raise awareness and funds for causes they care about through digital campaigns or events.
The metaverse is not a distant future. It is already here and it is growing fast. According to some estimates, the metaverse economy could reach $800 billion by 2024 and $13 trillion by 2030. The metaverse is also attracting huge investments from tech giants such as Microsoft and Meta (formerly Facebook), as well as startups and creators.
The metaverse is an exciting opportunity for innovation, creativity, and connection. It is also a challenge for regulation, privacy, security, and ethics. As we enter this new era of social connection, we need to be aware of the benefits and risks of the metaverse and how we can shape it for the better.