The metaverse has returned to a focus recently, when Facebook renewed its commitment to a project that merges virtual reality with augmented reality to allow users to inhabit digital worlds together.
But after all, what is this metaverse? Is the term not pure marketing? Is there already one ready to use? If you’ve never heard about the subject or have doubts about what the metaverse is, today TecMundo explains it to you.
from greece to the world
For a start, nothing better than analyzing the word itself. “Meta” comes from the Greek and means “beyond” or “after” something, and the “verse” comes from “universe”. So, we are talking about a digital environment that is an evolution of everything we are used to until now.
So, the metaverse can be called a shared digital universe with varied experiences, totally immersive, interactive and very realistic. We are not talking about graphic realism necessarily, but about more natural tasks and possibilities for action, with the presence of elements that are in everyday life — such as real places, marks that exist physically and more dynamic movements of your avatar.
The place is this collective space that recreates real experiences from the integration of various tools. It’s not exactly a game or a social network, but a broader ecosystem that can include these two aspects if you want.
Deciphering the Metaverse Concept
In a way, all this would be even more immersive in a virtual reality, but this is not necessarily mandatory. In this way, the presence of brands is what most arouses the attention of the brands themselves, as it means greater space for displaying products, promotion partnerships and agreements at high prices.
Think of an MMORPG. Depending on the complexity of that universe, you can create an avatar with highly personalized physical characteristics, perhaps even similar to your real self, wandering through a super varied map to battle, explore and chat. However, there is always a limitation, a certain amount of actions you can do or a direction that the game itself tries to push you — like a campaign, missions with good rewards and so on.
Image: Peera_stockfoto (Shutterstock)
But what if you just wanted to be cool with the map, living peacefully with others? What if, in addition to one or another NPC, all the avatars there were people willing to do that too? Instead of obligatorily becoming a wizard or knight, you could, I don’t know, open a tavern and run it, or become a musician in the village square. I know it all sounds kind of abstract, and it is, but that’s how we can imagine the idea of metaverse closer to what we have today.
Going through an example of what already exists: Fortnite. Of course, he is still a battle royale, the absolute highlight being matches that last until only one player remains. However, think about the amount of custom avatars, brands and franchises that have already partnered with Epic Games or promoting events such as concerts by famous artists (for example, Ariana Grande).
If this expands, perhaps into an area where combat is not a priority and you can just hang out, this could be the first massive and long-lasting metaverse we’ll see.
The origin of the term
The term originated in a book called Snow Crash, written in 1992 by Neal Stephenson. The work has a cyberpunk feel and speaks of the so-called Metaverse as a kind of evolved successor to the internet, with greater possibilities for interaction and avatars with a thousand and one possibilities for action. The term caught on and was adopted by the industry.
So it’s pretty safe to say that the first big experiment in this direction in real life was with Second Life, the phenomenon of virtual experiences launched in 2003. We have already made a video here on Understand to explain what this service was, which still exists and has a very loyal community, and the Second Life it sort of fulfilled all the requirements of the metaverse concept, all that remained was to hold people in the same place.
Image: Gorodenkoff (Shutterstock)Source: Shutterstock
Currently, we can consider that Roblox e Fortnite they are trying to become metaverses, expanding experiments and simulations ever more, but there is still a long way to go. And, of course, we now know that Facebook is in the game with “an eye to the future”. So the timing is no coincidence: the covid-19 pandemic has helped a lot to push these ideas forward, as we are much more at home to carry out work or leisure activities.
Some movies have also imagined this scenario. Works like Tron, Matrix it’s the Avatar James Cameron’s insights into these super-complex and full-of-possibility virtual simulations. Of course there is also the Oasis program, from player number 1, which is originally a book and turned into a movie in the hands of Steven Spielberg. In the environment of this work, you can access the game platform simply to spend some time and take a walk, without being forced to participate in any game.
What can we expect?
And what is the future of it all? Well, it’s still too early to say if so many projects will be able to “get off the paper”, but one thing is certain: many companies out there will say that their platform is a metaverse just to join the bandwagon, so be careful with this type of marketing.
Zuckerberg’s social network has been trying for some years to be something of a “small internet”, concentrating news, chat, videos and what they think would be all it takes for someone to stay online. It hasn’t worked out so well yet, but we’ve recently come to know the last step.
Mark Zuckerberg commented that he wants to build the fabric that connects different digital spaces and overcome physical limitations. One of the initial examples we saw were the Horizon Workrooms videoconferencing rooms, which are still quite crude and limited, but can be adopted for home office workers.
Thus, the blockchain has a very high potential within the construction and maintenance of metaverses, since the decentralization of information and the possibility of implementing its own economy has everything to do with this concept.
In short, the metaverse is still something very abstract and is in danger of becoming one of those words that is nice to say but difficult to see in practice. On the other hand, due to the information and examples that we have today, it can result in some very interesting experiences.
So, what do you think of this metaverse idea? Would you be willing to participate in such a digital environment? What tool would you like to see turning a “world within another”? Let’s talk down there in the comments!