future Development of the Metaverse

The History and Future Development of the Metaverse

Introduction

The internet, a global computer interface delivering a variety of communication, application, information, among other things, in an 8nterconnwcted network, brought a new age of looking at things. Since its inception, the digital world has grown and evolved to house numerous concepts that revolutionize the way people interact and live with each other. Excellent examples are Augmented Reality and Virtual reality which ushered in a new way of experiencing things. Video games, for example, that use VR and AR technology allow users to experience, interact, and communicate within the digital world. In this case, the evolution and development of more complex and attractive systems that seem to redefine how people interact within the digital world is imminent. That should bring out attention to Metaverse, a concept that has been envisioned by several tech giant companies in the world like Facebook, which recently rebranded to Meta. So, what exactly is Metaverse, and why is it so fascinating to its visionaries? Therefore, this paper drives deep into the history of Metaverse, discussing its background as well as future developments.

Background/Literature Review

Metaverse is known to most people as a mixture or combination of various elements of technology, including artificial intelligence, augmented reality, virtual reality, and others. People can interact and co-exist within a digital universe (Dionisio et al., 2013). Metaverse is envisioned by its supporters as a platform where users can work, play, and stay connected through everything from conferences to virtual trips around the universe. At its most basic version, Metaverse is a virtual reality in which people from all over the world interact with themselves and the Metaverse itself. It is a virtual reality inside others that up to a whole new experience for users in an online environment.

A Roadmap to an Effective Cybersecurity Framework for Metaverse Technology

Online, people constantly interact with one another, be it a chat program, game, or website. Kuppermann. (2021) identify that Metaverse takes this experience a step ahead, putting users in the middle of the action. Consequently, users are exposed by Metaverse to a more realistic and more robust experience than simply watching a video, chatting, or browsing fails to evoke or translate more often. So, how different is Metaverse from VR? According Nevelsteen. (2017), AR and VR are two concepts that are closely linked to Metaverse. However, it is good to view them as distinct entities that supplement each other 8n a digital world. AR and VR enable users to get a feel of the digital, with VR showing entirely different surroundings letting the user interact with the changing world around them.

future Development of the Metaverse

On the other hand, AR adds more elements to this digital surrounding, letting users interact with them differently. Frey. (2021) points out that one can play an AR or VR fake at any given point without interacting with others. However, Metaverse’s foundation, as envisioned with the likes of Facebook (Meta) brings the human contact aspect into VR and AR. From the same literature, Metaverse becomes a playground for both AR and VR in a manner in which people can share the created virtual universe, be it for fun, leisure, work, exercise, or school.

Therefore, the continued use of AR and VR will stretch a long way in enhancing the Metaverse, making people the reality and the experience within a digital environment as adopted to the feeling they get when playing a video game. In this case, Metaverse can be described as a hypothesized iteration of the digital world, hosting various 3-D virtual surroundings through augmented and virtual reality as well as conventional personal computing (Snider & Molina, 2021). The concept has already been implemented in some limited form in some video games, such as Second Life.

Metaverse

Insight/analysis

The concept of Metaverse dates back to the late 1980s and early 1990s when Neal Stephenson, in his novel Snow Crash, tried to find a word to present a world within a world (Frey, 2021). The ideal of Metaverse, a networked, virtual, visualized to clone the real world, was not completed initially. Initially, William Gibson opted for the term “cyberspace” in his sci-fi stories to refer to a virtual space. In his definition, cyberspace was a consensual iteration or illusion experienced by billions of operators daily across the globe, from learners being taught mathematical concepts to graphical presentations of data obtained from various computer databases. The cyberspace concept gives some form of explanation to the incredible complexities the world expects in the future.

However, there is a tangible difference between Gibson’s cyberspace and Stephenson’s Metaverse (White, 2021). Metaverse, according to Stephenson, is bound within human experiences, cloning it in a different environment but keeping the visual structure and language. Cyberspace, on the other hand, defies human understanding. The description of Gibson evokes hallucinations and abstract rather than replicating human experience in different surroundings. The difference perhaps explains why Metaverse has attracted a lot of attention, becoming a fascinating concept for a wide range of tech enthusiasts, critical academic theories, and other figures on the internet, such as hackers (Ning et al., 2021).

One of the strengths of Metaverse is the ideology is futuristic with the potential to revolutionize how things are done currently. The ideology is anchored on expanding human possibilities, experiences, enterprises, expressions but maintains the actual human experience. Metaverse is a step-up from Gibson’s cyberspace that defies human understanding because it focuses it envisioned as the future, but a familiar one. Post-Snow Crash thinkers have not always been United in their vision throughout history. Most of the initial ideas were skeptical whether Metaverse would be liberatory. An excellent example is portrayed in the feminist comparative literature by Marguerite R. Waller in 1997, who expressed concern on whether the idea of a hypothetical VR metaverse would be an environment for reduction different from a deep-seated, subtle entrenchment or from Western logo-centrism (Lee et al., 2021).

Still, those who have recently taken the idea of Metaverse like Facebook seem less interested in such theoretical and ethical quandaries. Today, along with Meta, formerly known as Facebook, companies like Microsoft and NVIDIA have made much progress towards creating a metaverse (Du et al., 2021). NVIDIA, for instance, claims that they can create an “omniverse” from their graphical infrastructure to link elements of the Metaverse. On the other hand, Microsoft sees the ideology as a tool that can allow people to make meetings more enjoyable and less stressful with the use of avatars enabling a collaborative virtual environment around the world.

Reflecting on the contemporary nature and use of the internet, one can describe it as two-dimensional when browsing and scrolling a string of information in different packs. In contrast, Metaverse can be viewed by people as a three-dimensional version that allows users to walk through their internet exper8nce connected through glasses and headsets powered by AR and or VR. Metaverse is, therefore, an immersive new version of the next-gen internet, likely supported by augmented and virtual reality (Du et al., 2021). Mark Zuckerberg’s interest in Metaverse was influenced by the writing of Matthew Ball, a venture capitalist. He views Metaverse as a platform for managing human labor, experience, and leisure, as well as a successor to the mobile internet. Metaverse offers a wide range of opportunities with companies primarily in the streaming and entertainment industry. The concept can be used to create mirror worlds developed to precisely remember an invented world or reflect the physical would from which one enjoys their encounter because it feels more natural.

To understand what Metaverse is and its future developments might look like, people often trace back to the cyberpunk novel Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson’s 1992 dystopic Earnest 2011 Ready Player One novel (Lee et al., 2021). However, the ideology of Metaverse is way beyond sci-fi, and people should understand that it is not a new thing. Today, children logging in into virtual spaces or chatting over a console platform is just as social as most interactions and experiences in the digital world. In the future, Metaverse promises a considerable overlap of the physical and digital worlds in productivity, wealth, entertainment, specialization, shopping. To put this into perspective, think about how Netflix is able to personalize and suggest movies based on what an individual has watched before or how Uber gives the location data of how far away from your ride us.

Metaverse, at its core, shows the potential of evolution to the current internet. In the future, say ten years from now, people might be walking around with goggles that give them the ability to have the metaverse experience. Those who have watched the movie, Free Guy, should have a snapshot of how Metaverse might revolutionize the internet and the virtual space we know today. For those still unsure about what Metaverse means, Facebook’s recent rebrand has triggered an increasing interest in Metaverse. Mark Zuckerberg’s version of Metaverse entails an image of “virtual everything.” For instance, one can attend a meeting as an avatar with Quest VR headsets and use wearables to privately text friends (Ning et al., 2021).

Metaverse, AR, and VR

With Metaverse gaining traction on the market, the Augmented and virtual reality markets are set to grow in value to $1.5 trillion by 2030 from $46.4 billion in 2019 (Snider & Molina, 2021). The estimates visualize how fast the technology is expected to grow in a short period with big companies already heavily invested in it. Virtual worlds will present challenging opportunities in the future, with cyberspace becoming a new and more interactive 3D space with networking and commerce besides content much like the virtual world in video games such as Roblox and Fortnite. It might be fascinating to imagine video games, media, technology, and entertainment merging the lines among them to form Metaverse (Nevelsteen, 2017). It is simply a new world with endless opportunities built in a sustainable structure that welcomes people, talents, and voices to shape it and promotes the evolution of business models.

Future Developments of Metaverse

The ideology of Metaverse is slowly becoming a reality without the world knowing it. In my view, Metaverse is something that cannot be stopped by the world now because it has already invested too much into it, and thousands of steps have been made towards that direction already to trackback. The gaming world has proven that companies can create a 3D virtual environment to simulate and reflect real-world activities and experiences (White, 2021). There are many innovations and developments happening today towards the direction of creating metaverses.

Notably, Microsoft, which I bet everyone expected Facebook to come top of the list, has gone all-in on Virtual digital avatars, Reality headsets, and virtual workplace (White, 2021). The company seeks to integrate metaverse ideology in its Xbox gaming console and its wide range of products, including the newly announced Dynamic 364 Connected Spaces. Mesh is Microsoft’s vision of a collaborative platform that supports 3D virtual experiences. Together Mode, under Microsoft’s Mesh vision, is set to reduce cognitive overload, especially from lengthy video conferencing. Roblox is another company that is not new to Metaverse and does not seem to give up the vision. At Roblox Developers Conference in 2021, Roblox’s executives delivered their vision to increase the number of active users by redeveloping their gaming and virtual spaces to create a metaverse (White, 2021).

Similarly, Facebook has also taken the headlines with its rebranding and the vision of creating a metaverse. After the acquisition of Oculus, the company invested heavily in VR, selling its 4M Quest Headset in the United States. In recent days, the company seems to be on track to redefine the user experience around its three virtual worlds (WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook). Facebook started with Horizon Workrooms VR Remote Work App back in August and has been investing in developing metaverse elements using new and existing resources since then (Nevelsteen, 2017). Their goal is to deliver Metaverse to a billion people in the next decade, support millions of developers, create and host billions of doors in digital commerce.

Apple, another technology giant, has ventured into Metaverse with Apple glasses set to hit the market around 2023. The glasses are wearables as opposed to VR headsets that bring 3D virtual experiences to users in a connected world. It is hard not recognizing SK Telecom’s ambition to launch its virtual meeting platform inland, in over 80 markets overseas by the end of the year, in a rush to join the metaverse race. Lastly, Nike, a sportswear giant, has also been ambitious about Metaverse (Snider & Molina, 2021). In recent years, the company has had around eight trademark applications for trainers and virtual clothing. Most people consider it a step-up to Nike-branded items available on Roblox and Fortnite platforms. Think of virtual speakers and how Nike intends to market and sell them. The company filed for ‘Cryptokicks,’ another patent that the company intends to use as a non-fungible token for its virtual sneakers.

To sum up, the metaverse ideology is not new to the world. It dates back to the late 80s and early 90s. The idea is set to revolutionize the way things are done around the world, from attending meetings virtually using avatars to interacting in a 3D virtual environment that replicates the real world. In addition, the history of the Metaverse is not that complicated as most people perceive it. Stephenson, in his Snow Crash Novel, first envisioned Metaverse. As a visionary, he wanted to represent a world within a world and thought of Metaverse, a concept that replicates the physical world while maintaining the visual structure and language. The ideology has gained popularity and attention over the years, and today every tech giant is trying to make it a reality. Facebook recently rebranded to Meta, communicating to the public that Metaverse is the future. NVIDIA, for instance, also claims that they can create an “omniverse” from their graphical infrastructure to link elements of the Metaverse.

On the other hand, Microsoft sees the ideology as a tool that can allow people to make meetings more enjoyable and less stressful with the use of avatars enabling a collaborative virtual environment around the world.  Metaverse is something that cannot be stopped now because the world has already invested heavily into it, and thousands of steps have been made towards that direction to track back. As mentioned earlier, the gaming world has proven that a 3D virtual environment can be created to simulate and reflect real-world activities and experiences. For now, it is a waiting game to see who delivers fast among top tech companies around the world as far as Metaverse is concerned.

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