When Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announcements in the summer of 2021, when his company changed its name to Meta and set its course to become a metaverse, the term “metaverse” became a buzzword.
Zuckerberg was soon joined by other technology giants such as Microsoftwho also claim to be planning to create their own metauniverses. The media immediately covered the topic and increased the noise. It seems that some large corporations want the idea of a metaverse to sound like their breakthrough in the future. But what if this breakthrough has already happened?
The problem with the word Metaverse
The term metaverse is confusing. The metaverse is usually defined as a virtual space where people can gather to play games, chat or even have business meetings. Sounds like something we’ve read about in Ernest Klein’s sci-fi novel Ready Player One or seen in his film adaptation of the famous Steven Spielberg. This is a vague concept of second life in the digital space, provided to people by technology corporations through VR kits. With all this speculation, it is no wonder that the idea of a metaverse has become a memas technology leaders usually do not bother to explain the practical aspects of this.
Zuckerberg uses the term metaverse, but can’t explain exactly why we should all dive into it. This is most likely because he is just using it as a marketing tool. It is a known fact that the rebranding of Facebook came after the company became widespread criticized from the public. Many technology experts in the media and marketing now see the Meta situation as an attempt by the company to distance itself from the negative aura of Facebook.
Another problem with the current use of the word “metaverse” is that it erases decades of history of VR innovation that came long before Meta. The truth is that the metauniverse already exists, while Zuckerberg’s metauniverse is currently a vague concept in the making. Technologically existing metaverses may not yet be ideal versions of a metaverse, but they are likely to grow faster than the Meta project and achieve stronger results because they spent time on a single goal while Facebook tried different things.
The metaverses we already have
If the metaverse is a virtual space where people can lead a second life, similar to the one they have in the physical world, we already have that. Take video games, for example. They are immersive digital worlds where people can communicate. Think of the popular royal battle Fortnite from Epic Games. Its gameplay requires communication between the users themselves, but there is more. Fortnite has been a gathering platform for several years, even before the pandemic made people look for new ways to communicate online.
In February 2019, Fortnite Held the first live virtual concert on its platform with electronic dance music star (EDM) Marshmello as headliner. In April 2021, Travis Scott successfully organized a show in the digital world of the game, and later Ariana Grande he tried his hand in creating your own version of the same experience. In the summer of 2020, there was a series of talks at Fortnite on the Black Lives Matter movement.
Virtual reality parks add more detail to the picture of what a visit to the metaverse may be in the future. Immersion in VR attraction means using more interface tools than a typical non-VR gamer. It allows whole body interaction and provides a much more stable experience. The experience of virtual reality parks is more like that of the physical world than the experience of traditional video gameplay.
With video games today, you can explore virtual worlds, including fantasy ones. Can VR provide any benefit beyond that? To be able to. In addition to entertainment, virtual reality allows us to take steps in education, medical training, mental health and research.
VR is becoming increasingly popular as training tool for medical specialties. It also shows prospects for use in medical examinations. For example, surgeons at George Washington University Hospital use VR for lung inspection of patients with COVID-19.
VR is a a promising educational tool, placing students in an immersive learning environment that is more engaging than a regular classroom or reading a textbook. For example, students can explore architecture or historical events in digital spaces without geographical constraints. museums have met the possibilities of VR for a while, hoping to make their exhibitions available around the world, and there is great potential for this kind of experience to become a complete metaverse in the near future.
The concept of the metaverse seems fresh, but this is largely due to its new-speaking nature. In fact, the VR and video game industries have been working on different meta universes for some time. Of course, in order to achieve the perfect experience of the metaverse, we will still need better equipment, but it seems that there are many things in VR and games that deserve attention.