The metaverse is a simulated digital universe–a network of interoperable technologies that fuses aspects of augmented (AR) and virtual realities (VR), social media, live streaming, and online gaming. Users interacting within this digital universe experience an enhanced virtual presence while participating in the evolution of human interaction and digital communication.
Web3 vs The Metaverse
Though the terms Web3 and the Metaverse both embody elements of a burgeoning decentralized social sphere and internet variant, these digital realities are used to describe different concepts within a broader virtual universe. Web3 is used to describe an emerging online experience where users control their online identities and the monetization of personal content, whereas the metaverse is an augmented reality supporting entrepreneurship, commerce, and social interplay.
The Evolving Metaverse
Developers and users across the globe are converging within the metaverse and working together to collectively define the experience. Within this environment, interconnected 3D virtual ecosystems support augmented and virtual facsimiles of businesses and communities. Media and familiar real-world devices become immersive and interoperable instruments that seamlessly interface with other unique commodities developed within the metaverse, simulating real-world commerce.
For example, ‘Pixlr Genesis’ owns an extensive collection of NFT art that is created and sold by many different artists. Pixlr Genesis is expected to become a community in which users converge to experience the largest decentralized art museum within the metaverse. Though each element in this experience has a unique genesis story, all the moving parts have the ability to fuse together and create a seamless experience within this virtual universe. No one entity is creating, nor reaping huge profits from the unfolding metaverse.
Mark Zuckerberg believes it is the “next frontier in social connection .” In October of 2021, the Facebook CEO formalized his confidence in the metaverse by changing the company name from Facebook to Meta. Zuckerberg and Meta CFO David Wehner publicized plans to help shape the metaverse via the creation of 10,000 new jobs in the EU and announced a $10 billion dollar financial commitment to Meta ‘Reality Labs’, the hardware division producing their virtual-reality headsets.[4,5]
Other forward-thinking corporations across the globe are expanding their operations––and sphere of influence––into the nascent ecosphere. Graphics processing unit pioneers NVIDIA launched NVIDIA Omniverse™, the world’s first simulation platform supporting real-time collaboration between developers constructing the metaverse. Globally recognized brands like Nike, Inc. are filing trademark applications as they prepare to enter the metaverse and American media outlet TIME is launching a newsletter devoted to the metaverse, within the metaverse.[7,8]
The metaverse is a pliant, vast creative canvas receptive to unforeseen social utility and imaginative use cases. If the community succeeds in reducing barrier-to-entry issues centered around global internet access, UX (user experience), and UI (user interface), the metaverse will be poised to transform communication, socialization norms, and commerce around the globe.