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  • Nikhil Vaish

What is the Metaverse?

Updated: Oct 4


Image: Richard Horvath on Unsplash

There has been a lot of hype about the Metaverse; especially among advertisers and marketers. In fact, last year, Facebook even changed its name to Meta. Contrary to what some people might think, Facebook does not own the metaverse, nor did it come up with the name.


The metaverse was coined in 1992 by Neil Stephenson, in his sci-fi novel “Snow Crash” where he imagined a virtual reality world that succeeded the internet. In the novel, people create digital avatars of themselves and use these to travel through this virtual online world, as a way to escape a dystopian reality.


Similarly, the idea behind the commercial metaverse is to create a virtual online world that is highly immersive and engaging, using virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and interactive video.



In this metaverse, like in the real-world, we will be able socialise with friends (visit cafes), do business (conduct meetings & collaborate), play games (participate) and experience entertainment (attend concerts), all in a virtual environment.


Think of it as Star Trek Holodeck meets The Matrix.


To start with, you need to understand that the metaverse does not yet exist. It is not an actual place that you can visit, like a website. Even the definition of the metaverse remains disputed and nebulous.


Some people claim it will be like the internet; a series of public spaces that anyone can visit, with no single company or platform owning it. Others argue that we will have a series of competing Metaverse’s controlled by companies like Microsoft, Meta and Disney. Yet others say that the metaverse already exists in the virtual world’s within games like Minecraft and Roblox.


The truth is that nobody really knows what shape or form the metaverse or metaverse’s will eventually take, beyond the fact that everyone agrees it will be a fully virtual world.


In fact, it might not even be called the Metaverse by the time its real…remember when the internet was called the ‘information superhighway' (and people thought Al Gore invented it).


Next installment: “What can you do in the metaverse, today?”

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