While widely first acknowledged at being referenced first in a 1992 science fiction novel by Neal Stephenson, the Metaverse has long been a bit of a mystery to many. Simply put, the metaverse is a virtual reality world that allows users to interact, game, and experience things as they would in the real world. Using current Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) tech, users can immerse themselves in this virtual world and interact with objects and people that are being projected within the world.
A Brief History Of The Metaverse
1989 – Tim Berners-Lee invents the World Wide Web (www.)
1992 – Science fiction writer Neal Stephenson uses the term ‘metaverse’ to describe a 3-D virtual space within his novel ‘Snow Crash’.
2003- Philip Rosedale and his team at Liden Lab unveil ‘Second Life’, an online virtual world.
2006 – Roblox, an online platform that allows users to create and share games with others is introduced.
2009 – Bitcoin, the world’s first successful cryptocurrency and blockchain platform is created.
2011 – Science fiction writer Ernest Cline introduces readers to virtual reality in the novel ‘Ready Player One.
2014 – Facebook acquire virtual reality hardware and platform Oculus.
2015 – Decentraland’s first iteration of an online virtual world is created.
2016 – Pokémon Go, a game that uses augmented reality technology becomes hugely popular.
2017 – The multiplayer game and social hub, Fortnite, is released. It introduces concepts like virtual concerts and tours.
2018 – The popular virtual reality game based on training and trading mythical creatures, Axie Infinity is introduced. It runs on Ethereum.
2021 – Microsoft unveils Mesh, a platform designed for virtual collaboration across multiple devices.
2021 – Mark Zuckerberg says Facebook’s parent company would adopt the name Meta and unveils plans for their Metaverse.
Modern Day Metaverse
The Metaverse in its current state is an incredibly exciting platform that will undoubtedly have a huge party to play in the future of not only various industries, but also we will work in the future.
There are also many various exciting initiatives that are happening as we speak in the Metaverse. For example, this year in March, we celebrated International Women’s Day, and this year’s theme had a special link to the Metaverse.
The theme for 2022’s International Women’s Day revolved around the hashtag #BreakTheBias. Focusing on breaking down biases within our communities, workplaces, schools, colleges, and universities to ensure a gender-equal world. When it comes to the Metaverse, where self-expression, identity, and representation are at the core of its experience, this year’s International Women’s Day theme of #BreakTheBias undoubtedly helps highlight the need for gender equality and ultimately provides an important call to action for positive change. To learn more about this, read our other blog post about International Women’s Day and the Metaverse.
As well as this, we see a new era for commerce with various brands and outlets selling anything from NFTs to e-apparel. While Fortnite may have popularised purchasing ‘skins’ for the user’s online character to wear, other more well-known and established brands are making their claim on the Metaverse. Nike has filed trademarks for countless forms of its own apparel, including shoes, clothes, and accessories. Luxury fashion labels such as Gucci, Balenciaga, and Louis Vuitton now boast their own e-clothes and e-bags on the Metaverse. We are now seeing the introduction of Meta-malls within the Metaverse, allowing a user to shop in VR stores and purchase the latest trends for their avatar.
And this is only the beginning.
One of the most glaring changes that experts expect to see over the coming decade will be how much traditional education and workspaces change. Post-pandemic we already see the vast majority of companies utilising a hybrid working scheme. The Metaverse will only further change the notion of this traditional workspace and education. Training and teaching may increasingly be hosted in virtual 3D settings, accompanied by boardroom and workplace meetings. This will lead to businesses and governments relying on the power and reach of the Metaverse to share information, provide services and collaborate.
The ‘new workplace’ will likely have various surfaces and interfaces that are able to provide a new hub of virtual connections to people, places, and work settings. Modern tools will allow users to create like never before, being able to control 3D objects intuitively within the lifelike virtual space the user occupies. This could all be here sooner than we think, even as quickly as within three years, as Bill Gates predicts. Gates states that workers will increasingly rely on using VR headsets and avatars at work.
As technology advances the world quickly becomes more and more immersed in this virtual landscape, and we can see the industry is at an inflection point. With investment and technological advancement soaring as more businesses wake up to the vast realm of emerging opportunities, this will only grow over the coming years. At its forefront, Facebook has rebranded as Meta and has committed US $10 billion on metaverse technology development.
The Metaverse is here to stay, with the tech industry showcasing its unwavering belief in the metaverse, expecting it will hit $800 billion by 2024 and reach 1 billion people by 2030.