💌 Subscribe to my newsletter: Digital Innovation Review

👨‍💻 And add me on LinkedIn

What is the Metaverse?

In recent weeks there has been more and more talk of Metaverse, a term certainly brought to the fore by Mark Zuckenberg with his own Facebook rebranding in Meta, but which has begun to move from science fiction to reality in the last year.

This term coined by Neal Stephenson in the cyberpunk novel Snow crash (1992), is used to indicate a three-dimensional space within which individuals can move, share and interact through personalized avatars.

The etymology of the word derives from the combination of meta, which indicates areas of reality similar to those to which the prefix meta is affixed, and verse to indicate a reality.

Since Facebook changed its name, the press and the hype for the metaverse have grown and now the image in the public imagination is somewhere between the Matrix, Ready Player One and Pokemon Go, but let's actually see how this trend could develop.

The two directions: Virtual Reality or Augmented Reality?

Where to look already in our present for an example of a multiverse? In videogames one above all Fortnite that has the numbers and the structure to become the testing ground of the multiverse, another example could be No Man Sky, which has built a procedural universe that creates new worlds inhabited by unique fauna and flora only when a player visits it for the first time giving him the opportunity to give names to the places and living beings he discovers and to build bases and travel in the infinite space.

The metaverse will probably have two directions: the first, the more immersive and dystopian one, is the one currently represented on a small scale by the aforementioned video games, the second, softer and more acceptable, is that of augmented reality, which could replace smartphones and smartwatches in the near future. Microsoft has focused heavily on the augmented reality sector and its solutions are market leaders for the first applications in the business environment.

So there is a future of virtual reality and augmented reality. The metaverse is the next logical step in that progression, and it's both exciting and troubling.

The possibilities of what we can experience within the metaverse will only be limited by the human imagination. We will be able to share experiences with people who are on the other side of the world, or even travel to different universes with different physical laws without ever leaving our homes.

Devices such as Ocolus (whose company belongs to Meta) or HTC Vive already allow immersive experiences and the first VR arcades are starting to appear. Microsoft's Hololens focuses entirely on the business world and the Redmond augmented reality platform is already very interesting for certain uses as can be seen from the video and allows both augmented and virtual reality at the same time.

Opportunities and risks

Who benefits from all this hype for the multiverse? First of all, payment instruments and digital certifications such as cryptocurrencies and NFTs. The possibility of selling unique digital objects with a certification of ownership via blockchain allows investment opportunities also for brands, especially those of luxury and clothing.

In fact, it is today's news of theacquisition by Nike of a company that sells and designs virtual footwear through NFT and many luxury brands intend to create an exclusive and completely virtual shopping experience as indicated by the agreements between Balenciaga and Fortnite or between LVMH and League of Legends, or Valentino and Marc Jacobs available on Animal Crossingfinally also Gucci has created a line of purely virtual accessories and sells them at higher than physical prices.

We also note the sale, again via NFT, of virtual real estate properties, as in the case of the purchase from $450,000 to be Snoop Dogg's neighbor in the metaverse.

The opportunities through NFTs and the blockchain are truly unimaginable and we are probably just getting started. It is a new market with no dominant players yet and it will be the battleground of the big names and not just techs, if part of our tomorrow belongs to the metaverse we will probably see it within a generation.

Here is some interesting news about the multiverse and its development:

The world is changing and those who are successful learn to innovate their own products along with their own processes and at people.

On me

subscribe to the newsletter

Every two weeks, an insight into the world of Digital Innovation

© 2023 Andrea Zurini