Metaverse 101: An introduction to the Metaverse
Updated: Jun 25, 2022
Today we return to our Metaverse 101 series of posts, themetabite’s evolving guide to the Metaverse. If you're new to the Metaverse, this is the place for you. We explain the fundamental building blocks of the Metaverse, how they interact with one another, and where they might take us.
So, what is the Metaverse? Here at themetabite we define the Metaverse as: ‘the ‘hyperconvergence of the physical and digital worlds’, that is, the merging of the real world and virtual worlds to the point at which they become indistinguishable from one another.
Because it doesn't yet exist, a least not in any broadly recognisable form, the Metaverse can be described in both abstract and concrete terms. In abstract terms, we can describe some of the characteristics of the Metaverse, such as:
Boundaryless – the Metaverse is endless and there are no barriers between physical and virtual worlds. The popular Minecraft game has a ‘world border’ that is 30 million metres in each direction. This makes the area of a Minecraft similar in size to that of the planet Neptune or, five times the size of Earth. Without the world border it is theoretically possible to create a world 50 times larger than the Sun.
Persistent – the Metaverse is always there and cannot be turned off. Just like today’s internet, there will be no single off-switch for the Metaverse. The internet is a distributed system and shutting it down would require every internet service provider, or ISP, on the planet to shut down simultaneously. Some authoritarian governments have succeeded in blocked internet access to citizens e.g., during both the Arab Spring in Egypt and the military coup in Myanmar. Even then, redundant connections, and the distributed nature of the internet, make it incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to shut down completely.
Immersive – visitors to the Metaverse experience it in a realistic and sensory way. Today this is achieved through devices such as VR googles, smart glasses, mobile devices, haptic gloves, and even haptic suits – with the Teslasuit’s full-body haptic feedback system, companies like Virtureal are recreating everything from “the brutal impact of a bullet to the body, to the delicate and complex sensation of standing in a downpour.” In the future, technologies such as brain-computer interface, will do away with the need for these types of devices altogether.
Synchronous – visitors experience the Metaverse at the same time, that is, there is a ‘Universal Metaverse Time’, or ‘UMC’. Current massively multiplayer online role-playing video games, or MMORPG’s, such as World of Warcraft, can involve tens of thousands of players generating lots and lots of data. This data needs to be synchronised to ensure that the simulated in-game physics are realistic, and in-game information, such as battle damage, is recorded in real-time.
Interactive – the Metaverse allows interplay between users, objects, and spaces in both virtual and physical worlds. Today, platforms like Meta’s Horizon Worlds and Mesh for Microsoft Teams, allow users to interact with one another in both social and work settings, virtual worlds like Decentraland, allow members to attend concerts, gamble at a virtual casino, or play mini-golf, and games like Roblox allow people to create games for users via their Studio developer tool.
In the next post in this series, we will explore the Metaverse in more concrete terms, including the exploration of future potential use case examples for the Metaverse.
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