We are going to try to explain to you what exactly the Metaverse is, that concept of a virtual world for which Facebook or Google, Nvidia, and Microsoft are deciding to bet to such an extent that Facebook has changed the name of its company to Meta. It’s not a new concept, and we’ve already seen flirtations with it in the literary and film world, with movies like ‘Ready Player One’ or ‘The Substitutes’.
At Xataka Basics we are going to try to explain it in the simplest way possible so that nobody gets lost in technicalities and we can all understand the approximate idea of what it is. In addition, we will also try to tell you some of the possibilities that it will offer, and give you an idea of how much is left and what is needed for this concept to become a reality.
What is the metaverse?
The Metaverse is a virtual world, one to which we will connect using a series of devices that will make us think that we are really inside it, interacting with all its elements. It will be like actually teleporting to a whole new world through virtual reality glasses and other accessories that will allow us to interact with it.
Virtual worlds are nothing new, and there are a large number of them, especially in the video game industry. You create a character or avatar, and you enter that world to live adventures through your computer. However, the metaverse does not seek to be a fantasy world, but a kind of alternate reality in which we can do the same things that we do today outside the home, but without leaving the room.
The term metaverse comes from a 1992 novel called ‘Snow Crash’, and is a term that has taken hold to describe visions of three-dimensional or virtual workspaces. This metaverse, therefore, means a virtual world in which we can interact, and which has been created to resemble an external reality.
As for the precise concept of the metaverse that Facebook and other companies are betting on. The idea would be to create a parallel and completely virtual universe, which we can access with virtual reality and augmented reality devices, so that we can interact with each other within it, and from the outside with the content that we have inside.
The key to this metaverse is that it can be immersive, or at least much more than current virtual reality is. Yes, we will have glasses that are possibly similar to the current ones to immerse ourselves in it, but also sensors that record our physical movements so that our avatar within that metaverse does the same.
It even remains to make the devices we use can interpret our facial expressions so that our avatar in the metaverse can recreate us, and so that the rest of the people with whom we are interacting can understand how we feel. Come on, body language is also part of these virtual interactions.
Another of the main ideas of the metaverse is that we have total freedom of creation, both to make our avatar similar to our physical person and to give it a different look, and also to create the environment and our businesses and rooms to our liking.
Think about what the Internet is like now. It is full of virtual communities, and social networks that we access from different devices. We interact with more people virtually than physically. Well, the metaverse would be to go one step further to narrow the physical and virtual worlds, mixing them both in a new universe managed by the company that manages to impose its metaverse.
What can the metaverse offer?
The metaverse can offer us the next great evolutionary leap of the Internet… or come to nothing because it fails. It is still very early, and companies like Facebook are only beginning to create the infrastructures and the first concepts that lead to a future where there are devices capable of taking us there. So it’s more of a concept, a blank canvas, than a reality that we can connect to today.
In his vision, Facebook hopes that the metaverse can offer as many opportunities as the real physical world, with the possibility of creating our businesses in it. Imagine being able to walk through the streets of Xataka city, and being able to chat with the virtual avatars of other people, who have opened some stores and offered us to try on and buy virtual clothes, a virtual car, or a virtual apartment.
It can also have practical applications, such as work meetings where everyone shares a virtual office by connecting from their homes, and they don’t even have to worry about getting ready for the meeting. It doesn’t matter if you’re in your pajamas or disheveled, what other people will see is your avatar, your virtual character.
A metaverse could also have its economy, with some kind of virtual currency that we can buy with our real money, or earn in some way within the interactions it offers. Perhaps even jobs can be created. “What does your nephew do? He is the manager of a virtual store in the metaverse.”
And finally, looking for something closer and more human will also allow us to interact with people who are physically far away in a more realistic way, looking at our virtual eyes and our gestures reproduced by the sensors of the virtual reality helmet that we wear. We will be able to talk to each other, we will be able to walk through virtual worlds, and it will not matter where we connect from. We can even express ourselves as we feel that we are, and not how we are physically.
Facebook hopes that the metaverse that prevails will be its own because other companies will almost certainly propose others. Then they will be the ones who control and benefit from everything, from the economy and from all the businesses that are carried out within.
It is also to be expected that the metaverse is full of micropayments. For example, paying to change our avatar’s clothes in the same way that we pay for our clothes. And starting to think seriously, maybe pay to be able to perform certain intimate actions with other people, to be able to use certain materials when creating something within the metaverse, and I don’t know. Paying for more things than we pay for today.
In any case, these are assumptions. Today the metaverse is a concept, an idea, and a blank canvas. It will have many possibilities, but everything will depend on the desire to create it, the path followed to do so, and how accessible it is for everyone. Because that is another of the keys, that we can all enjoy it.
When will the metaverse be real?
Currently, the metaverse is just a concept that is beginning to be built. The company Meta, formerly known as Facebook, has presented the idea and announced strong investments to make it real. But it remains to be seen if other companies join in the effort to create the technologies that make it possible.
Because we still don’t have the technologies that can make that concept real. We don’t have virtual reality devices that make us move as if we were inside that universe. The entire infrastructure is also missing in terms of design. It is a universe that wants to be created, but it still has no regions, streets, or anything, only some virtual rooms that are being used for the first tests.
Over the next few years, we will see how new devices are launched that seek to connect us with this new virtual reality. The idea is that in the future they will be very complete and affordable, but until that is real, they may still not allow large interactions and be quite expensive.
Therefore, we are still a long way from being able to connect all of us to a metaverse in which to interact. They still need to develop that virtual universe, and also develop the technology that makes it possible for us to connect to it. It is also necessary to make that when it exists, this technology is affordable for everyone.
However, over the next few years, you will probably hear and read about this metaverse a lot, since it is to be expected that various companies will start to develop everything necessary to connect us to it. It is an interesting concept and full of business possibilities for companies, so little by little we will see how it is shaped.
Sharlene Meriel is an avid gamer with a knack for technology. He has been writing about the latest technologies for the past 5 years. His contribution in technology journalism has been noteworthy. He is also a day trader with interest in the Forex market.