What is Metaverse? How can you join and are we one step closer to the infamous Black Mirror episode? In this series, we will be discussing Metaverse’s expected impact on multiple industries…

The almost-human CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, introduced the new virtual world Metaverse, the rebranded version of Facebook. Our home and business environments, which were united due to the pandemic, are now oriented towards a completely different reality. A lot of concerns were raised after the announcement, “are we disassociating even further from reality?”, “the Black Mirror episode is here”, “do we need another platform that will disconnect us from our personal, physical relationships?” and the list goes on…

Metawhat now?

The metaverse is a digital reality that combines aspects of social media, online gaming, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and cryptocurrencies to allow users to interact virtually. Augmented reality overlays visual elements, sound, and other sensory input onto real-world settings to enhance the user experience. In contrast, virtual reality is entirely virtual and enhances fictional realities. If the contemporary internet experience is two-dimensional—meaning you browse and scroll through it on a screen—the metaverse is 3D. You’ll be “walking” through it via connected headsets or glasses.

However, the origin of the word goes way back. The word was coined in a 1992 dystopian sci-fi novel, Snow Crash, written by Neal Stephenson. 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. 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. It is important to note that some of Zuckerberg’s contemporaries are concerned that the real-life metaverse—the “next-gen Internet”—could become a dystopian nightmare.  

Humanity’s obsession with creating different realities started manifesting in 2000s thanks to the everlasting technological developments of the era. In 2003, the world met Second Life, a sub-universe where you can pretty much do whatever you want with your avatar. Second Life remains an open-world social network with avatars. The metaverse might resemble a VR version of Second Life.

Why is it so important?

The venture capitalist Matthew Ball, whose writing on the metaverse has influenced Mark Zuckerberg, describes the metaverse as a “successor state to the mobile internet” and a “platform for human leisure, labor, and existence at large.”

As the metaverse grows, it will create online spaces where user interactions are more multidimensional than current technology supports. Instead of just viewing digital content, users in the metaverse will be able to immerse themselves in a space where the digital and physical worlds converge. 

The most important thing to know is that the metaverse is not real. Zuckerberg has made it very clear that for him, the metaverse is a goal and for many investors, engineers, academics, and futurists, it’s been a long-time goal.

They say it’s the future! The future is inevitable, so it has to be good, right? Stay tuned for part 2, where we’ll discuss what Metaverse means for fashion?