“Metaverse” is quite possibly one of the hottest words on the internet right now, and it seems like almost every company — from fashion brands to technology giants — is investing big money to ensure they have a presence in the virtual world. Facebook, one of the biggest companies on the planet, is now focused almost exclusively on being a Metaverse hit.
It’s possible you’ve already had a taste of the Metaverse without even knowing it, especially if you’ve played games like Fortnite, Minecraft, or Roblox in the past. But the Metaverse is more than just a place to play games. In this AAG Academy guide, we’ll look at what makes up the Metaverse today, where it’s headed in the future, and why it’s so important.
The term “Metaverse” encompasses a variety of things today, so it can get a little confusing, but the simplest way to think about the Metaverse is a collection of virtual spaces and applications. That includes the virtual worlds you might visit inside the games we mentioned above. It includes the worlds you might visit while wearing a virtual headset. It even includes the real world when virtual elements are applied, like in mixed reality applications.
The Metaverse is essentially the future of the internet — one that’s much more immersive than the internet we’ve all grown up with, where instead of simply visiting pages, you visit virtual spaces. These could incorporate cities, parks, landmarks, theaters, arcades, and even new planets. They could even incorporate virtual offices and other workplaces, where colleagues can meet and collaborate without actually leaving their homes.
The word “Metaverse” was first coined three decades ago by author Neal Stephenson in his novel Snow Crash. Back in 1992, Stephenson described the Metaverse as a virtual place where human beings could escape when they needed a break from the real world. And that’s almost exactly what it has become today, except it’s about more than just escapism. It can also be a place to work, learn, communicate, and more.
One of the key things to note about the Metaverse is that in the coming years, it is likely to play a large part in Web3 — the next generation of the internet, in which things like the blockchain and decentralization are fundamental. Another large part of that is a cryptocurrency, which is why lots of Metaverse cryptocurrency projects already exist today.
Metaverse cryptocurrency is simply any cryptocurrency coin or token that has some kind of application in the Metaverse. This could include paying for virtual assets, like outfits or even real estate; accessing certain platforms or services, or paying to host a virtual world. Some of the most popular Metaverse cryptos right now include:
The most obvious benefit of the Metaverse is its ability to connect people who may otherwise be unable to meet. You might have a friend who lives thousands of miles away, for instance. Seeing them in person could be incredibly difficult, but thanks to the Metaverse, you can meet in a virtual world to play games, attend events, or just to chat.
The Metaverse also lets us explore places we couldn’t explore in real life, like brand-new cities and landmarks, and even new planets. It lets us fly spaceships, walk with dinosaurs, and experience new things that may not be accessible to most of us in normal life. It even lets us learn in new ways that are far more immersive than reading from a textbook.
Let’s say, for instance, that you need to carry out a repair on your car. Rather than watching a YouTube video or reading from a manual, you could pop on a pair of smart glasses and be guided through each step of the process, as if an experienced mechanic was standing right next to you, telling you what to do. That’s possible with the Metaverse.
There are also huge and obvious benefits for those with disabilities, who may be unable to leave their homes to experience new things. And because the Metaverse is virtual, the possibilities are almost endless. In the future, it’s likely that everywhere you could ever want to go is accessible in a virtual world of some kind.
There are some risks involved with the Metaverse as well. Many of the risks we already face with Web2, like the potential privacy and security pitfalls, will carry over into Web3. You will still need to be mindful of how your data is used, how you store sensitive information like login details, and how you protect your finances. And you will likely still need to be careful about where you go, in the same way, we try to avoid visiting dangerous websites today.
Some experts warn that many of the shady tactics many internet companies employ today when it comes to things like data collection will be even more rife in the Metaverse since many of our interactions will be much more personal. It’s possible that some Metaverse will keep tabs not only on our interests, but our conversations, the places we visit, and lots more.
Others believe there is also a risk of Metaverse addiction. We’ve already seen how humans can become addicted to smartphones, games, and social media — and it’s likely similar effects will be seen in the Web3 era. We will also have to deal with the risk of harassment and assault, which has already surfaced in the Metaverse today.
There are lots of different ways to experience the Metaverse today, and you don’t necessarily need any special devices. Although using a virtual reality (VR) headset to visit new and exciting worlds is incredibly cool, any smartphone, tablet, computer, or game console will let you experience more accessible Metaverse applications, like Roblox, The Sandbox, and Decentraland. You can also play games like Axie Infinity and Fortnite.
In addition to developing their own Metaverse apps and games, businesses can use Metaverse in lots of different ways. Fashion brands like Nike, Dolce & Gabbana, and Prada are already creating virtual assets and outfits that can be worn in the virtual world. Artists are hosting virtual events, architects are building virtual cities, and sports teams are building virtual stadiums where fans can explore and watch live sporting events.
Here is a list of Metaverse examples that you can enjoy today:
You can join the Metaverse today by using one of the many apps and games we’ve listed above. Some Metaverse titles, such as Horizon Worlds, require a virtual reality headset, but most are available on a smartphone, tablet, computer, or game console.
Yes, the Metaverse is much more than just a video game. Although game developers are some of the biggest proponents of the Metaverse today, we’re also seeing the technology used elsewhere, like in education, the business world, and even in the military.
Yes, it is perfectly safe to be in the Metaverse, but users should follow the same precautions they would normally take when doing things online. That includes not sharing sensitive information or using untrusted services.
There are already multiple Metaverses, and we’re likely to see lots more in the coming years.
Many Metaverse applications, such as Fortnite, Roblox, Pokémon Go, Decentraland, and The Sandbox are free to use. However, you may choose to pay for things like accessories, outfits, or services inside those games.
This article is intended to provide generalized information designed to educate a broad segment of the public; it does not give personalized investment, legal, or other business and professional advice. Before taking any action, you should always consult with your own financial, legal, tax, investment, or other professional for advice on matters that affect you and/or your business.
Be the first to get our newsletter full of company, product updates as well as market news.