Last Thursday, 28 October 2021, Facebook officially rebranded itself with a new name, Meta, which focuses on the metaverse.
The word Metaverse is not a new term, especially to those who have been keeping up with technology, virtual and augmented reality and even science fiction. The term “metaverse” has been around since the early 1990s, with a number of fiction novels about the topic. Most of which is set in a fully fledged metaverse – an alternate digital world which is indistinguishable from the real physical world. Most notably, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, with a film adaptation released in 2018.
So What is the Metaverse?
Metaverse is a broad term. By definition, it is “a virtual-reality space in which users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users.” Or in other words, shared virtual world environments that people can access via the internet.
It can also refer to digital spaces which are made more life-like, with the help of virtual reality or augmented reality. There are also people who use the term to describe gaming worlds, where players have a character that can walk around and interact with other players. Such games are more commonly known as “Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games” , MMORPG for short.
There is also another specific type of metaverse which utilizes blockchain technology to allow users to buy virtual land and other digital assets using cryptocurrencies.
Why is Metaverse becoming popular?
It has been described as the next step toward the development of the Internet.
Currently, people interact online by visiting websites such as social media platforms or sending messages via messaging applications. The idea behind the metaverse is to create new online spaces in which people interact more multidimensionally, allowing them to immerse themselves in digital content rather than just viewing it.
A major reason for the growth of interest in the metaverse is the Covid-19 pandemic. As more people started working and attending school remotely, there has been an increase in the need to make online interaction feel more realistic.
Who is getting involved?
Investors and companies are expressing interest in the concept of the metaverse. In July, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company will transition from being a social media platform to a metaverse in 5 years or less.
Microsoft has also mentioned converging the digital and physical worlds, while popular children’s game Roblox describes itself as a metaverse company. Another game within the metaverse is Epic Games’ Fortnite.
Additionally, musicians can perform virtual concerts on these platforms. According to Epic Games, millions of people watched Ariana Grande perform virtually in Fortnite last month.
Fashion giants have also experimented with making virtual clothing that avatars can wear in virtual environments.
Source: The Straits Times