Metaverse Definition & Meaning

Fortnite’s Ariana Grande concert event was attended by millions and along with customizable avatars and emotes, these events are fostering some sense of “presence.” Facebook’s, I mean, Meta’s recent rebrand and investments, triggered a new wave of interest in the metaverse. It’s all over headlines, corporate news, memes, gaming platforms, and social media. The word’s increased ubiquity is creating an impending sense of doom, as if, at any moment, our physical lives will be engulfed in corporate pixels and paywalled interactions. But Fortnite and Roblox have also been hyping up the metaverse for some time now and the term itself is actually decades old. This kind of wishful-thinking-as-tech-demo leaves us in a place where it’s hard to pinpoint which aspects of the various visions of the metaverse (if any) will actually be real one day.

In comparison, virtual reality is completely virtual and enhances fictional realities. “Emerging metaverse technologies may be nascent, but they offer strategic opportunities — with potential benefits that aren’t limited to virtual worlds. Metaverse will transform the physical world, as well as transport or extend physical activities to a virtual world,” says Gartner VP Analyst Marty Resnick. Such growing consumer demand is motivating further investment by technology companies. Apple bought VR company NextVR in 2020 and plans to launch its first VR/AR headset in 2022.

TechTarget’s in-depth guide to the metaverse breaks down where this nascent technology revolution stands today and where it is headed. Topics include the technologies and platforms that support the metaverse, its benefits and challenges, how to invest in it, its history, why the metaverse is important and its impact on the future of work. Augmented reality involves overlaying visual elements, sound, and other sensory stimuli onto a real-world setting to enhance the user experience. AR can be accessed with a smartphone, and users can control their presence in the real world.

Latency is the enemy of “presence” for participants in XR environments; this is the state one feels when convincingly immersed in a simulated world. The illusion of presence can be disrupted by interrupted streaming content or delayed reaction times. Many technical challenges must be overcome for the metaverse to reach its what is the metaverse full potential. Making progress will require the development of networks and software that can deliver seamless global connectivity, near-zero latency, and startling new forms of data analysis and visualization. The term will not be defined by one single person or company, it will be defined by many, and it will evolve.

A person represented by a hologram—do they have a headset on, and if so how is their face being scanned? And at points, a person grabs virtual items but then holds those objects in what seems to be their physical hands. So, how do tech companies show off the idea of their technology without showing the reality of bulky headsets and dorky glasses?

Of course, there are concerns that the metaverse will make it even easier for people to spend time apart—even in a post-COVID world. And the fact that the digital world is a business environment has brought metaverse into economic discussions as well. Meta- here efficiently conveys the idea of transcending reality (as in metaphysics) and the more current use of meta as an adjective meaning “self-referential” or knowingly distinct from the conventional and concrete world. Although many brands have experimented with the metaverse, it has been challenging to get data on the return on investment. Some companies are diving in, and many are still debating whether there is a payoff in investing in the metaverse. A majority of consumers know and engage with some form of the metaverse, and many expect it to become a significant part of their lives.

Selecting a headset with higher resolution and dpi display can minimize this effect. Similarly, a recent survey of 4,600 business and technology leaders conducted by Accenture found that 71% of executives believe the metaverse will have a positive impact on their organization, but only 42% believe it will be a breakthrough or transformational development. “From now on, we will be metaverse-first, not Facebook-first,” wrote CEO Mark Zuckerberg in his October 2021 announcement of the branding change. That’s an important change because it means users eventually won’t need a Facebook account to use other services in the metaverse. Among other non-Facebook products, Meta has already sold millions of its Meta Quest — formerly Oculus — VR headset units for navigating the metaverse.

Roblox, Epic, Genies, and Zepeto use the term metaverse, while Facebook uses Live Maps, and Magic Leap prefers the Magicverse. Kevin Kelley called it the Mirrorworld in Wired, and Nvidia uses the term Omniverse. Paul Tomlinson, 41, has worked remotely for years, living in rural Maine with his family and managing tax and financial-processing software for a firm that works with municipal and state governments. There’s “nothing sexy” about the job, he says, but it does involve needing to have eyes on a large amount of data at once.

Mentally replace the phrase “the metaverse” in a sentence with “cyberspace.” Ninety percent of the time, the meaning won’t substantially change. Augmented reality glasses face a similar problem, on top of the not-insignificant issue of figuring out how people can wear them around in public without looking like huge dorks. And then there are the accessibility challenges of VR that many companies are shrugging off for now. Meanwhile, Apple’s Vision Pro “solves” the problem of users who have to wear glasses by … selling prescription lens add-ons. The second group uses the metaverse to refer to virtual worlds more generally, where people can meet up for business or recreation.

In the book, the Metaverse is the sum of virtual and augmented realities concentrated on a super long “Street” through which people walk as avatars and can access using goggles and plugging into terminals. Public terminal users are rendered as blurry black and white avatars while those who pay for private terminals are rendered in full color and detail. Since then, the word “metaverse” has been used to describe all kinds of initiatives focused on creating a more permanent virtual reality that bleeds into our physical lives.

definition of a metaverse

Roblox users don’t just show up on the platform, sell something, take their money and leave. Most of them put that money back into the platform’s economy, by spending it on games or avatar customizations that other users create. Plus, a single, interoperable metaverse — one that would let users carry their identities and digital collectibles across platforms owned by different companies — would require serious coordination and cooperation between various organizations. In the time since Facebook’s rebrand, the concept of “the metaverse” has served as a powerful vehicle for repackaging old tech, overselling the benefits of new tech, and capturing the imagination of speculative investors.

definition of a metaverse

The consulting firm GlobalData notes concerns in how governments, notably the U.S., have been sluggish in their approach to cybersecurity concerns such as the rise of artificial-intelligence enabled misinformation, including videos known as deepfakes. For Riccitiello, the most exciting part of the metaverse is what it might mean for our relationships. For now, the metaverse is mostly the hope of a few, a speculation, a fantasy with many gaps to let the chill winds of the unknown to blow through. Mr Sweeney, the head of Epic Games (which makes Fortnite), has long spoken about his metaverse aspirations. To ensure all the copies of the database are the same, the network makes constant checks. Because the metaverse is largely unbuilt, there is little agreement on how it will work.

  • On the digital platform, which allows users to play and create a multitude of games, Hackl’s son and his friends would attend the party as their virtual avatars.
  • About half of both groups believe friendships formed online can be as strong as friendships formed in real life.
  • At their core, fears and concerns about the metaverse are ultimately concerns about scale.
  • Still, he sees himself as a “pioneer,” of the future, and is comfortable in that role.
  • To start, more than 20 percent of the population, on a net basis,1Calculated as the difference between percent expecting an increase and those expecting a decrease in time spent.
  • Big tech firms are jumping into the space, with Facebook Inc (FB.O), Alphabet Inc-owned (GOOGL.O) Google and Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) investing in cloud computing and VR companies in anticipation of its growth.

When I asked my wife if she thought I was recording, she said she had no clue. But that won’t necessarily stop other attention-seekers from following Liv’s lead — they might even embolden each another. “Now I don’t feel bad walking around with the headset during comic con,” Mayo replied to Liv, after the artist who filmed themselves walking around New York Comic-Con saw Liv’s cafe video. And, in the video you already saw atop this post, XR and AI booster Cix Liv went nearly full Glasshole by walking straight into a San Francisco coffee shop and placing an order, without bothering to hide the cafe’s address. By Sean Hollister, a senior editor and founding member of The Verge who covers gadgets, games, and toys.

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