In recent months, you may have heard about something called the metaverse. On October 28, 2021, Facebook Inc. announced that it was restructuring and assuming the corporate name Meta Platforms Inc. because it wanted to be known for its “metaverse” focus. Meta’s focus will be to bring the metaverse to life and help people connect, find communities, and grow businesses.
What is the metaverse?
“Metaverse is a shared virtual 3D world, or worlds, that are interactive, immersive, and collaborative.” Just as the physical universe is a collection of worlds that are connected in space, the metaverse can be thought of as a bunch of worlds, too. ”
“It refers to shared virtual worlds where land, buildings, avatars, and even names can be bought and sold, often using cryptocurrency. In these environments, people can wander around with friends, visit buildings, buy goods and services, and attend events.”
Some companies are already building out the metaverse. EpicGames‘ Fortnite, Microsoft‘s Minecraft, Facebook‘s Horizon, and many more are contributions. One important point about the metaverse is for it to be an open economy and not controlled by one company. Today, many companies purposefully create products and services that aren’t compatible with any of their competitors’ products. For example, today you won’t see a DC character in a Marvel movie. You aren’t able to play a Nintendo game on an Xbox or PlayStation. That will need to change in the metaverse. The metaverse will be a place where all IPs can live together.
Where does metaverse all begin?
Science fiction by Neal Stephenson, famously coined the term “metaverse” in his 1992 novel Snow Crash, where it referred to a 3D virtual world inhabited by avatars of real people. Lots of other science fiction media include metaverse-like systems (some of them predating Snow Crash). But Stephenson’s book remains one of the most common reference points for metaverse enthusiasts, along with Ernest Cline’s 2011 novel Ready Player One.
Why does the metaverse matter?
Even if the Metaverse falls short of the fantastical visions captured by science fiction authors, it is likely to produce trillions in value as a new computing platform or content medium. But in its full vision, the Metaverse becomes the gateway to most digital experiences, a key component of all physical ones, and the next great labor platform.
The value of being a key participant, if not a driver of such a system is self-evident. There is no “owner” of the Internet today, but nearly all of the leading Internet companies rank among the 10 most valuable public companies on earth. And if the Metaverse does indeed serve as a functional “successor” to the web. Only this time with even greater reach, time spent, and more commercial activity. There’s likely to be even more economic upside. Regardless, the Metaverse should produce the same diversity of opportunity as we saw with the web – new companies, products, and services will emerge to manage everything from payment processing to identity verification, hiring, ad delivery, content creation, security, and so forth. This, in turn, will mean many present-day incumbents are likely to fall.
What Tech companies are involved to build metaverse?
The metaverse can be divided into two distinct platforms:
- Building a blockchain-based metaverse, using NFTs and cryptocurrencies. Platforms like Decentraland and The Sandbox allow people to purchase virtual parcels of land and build their environments.
- The second group uses the term “metaverse” to refer to virtual worlds more generally, where people can meet up for business or recreation. Facebook Inc. announced in July it was creating a product team to work on the metaverse.
The top 5 companies building the metaverse:
1. Nvidia Corporation
2. Microsoft Corp.
3. Roblox Corp.
4. Facebook Inc.
5. Unity Software Inc.