The metaverse is a virtual world. Some people think it is the future of the Internet, like Mark Zuckerberg, the boss of the social network Facebook. Recently, he even renamed his company “Meta”, as in… metaverse.
Origins of the Metaverse
“Meta” comes from the Greek and means “beyond”. A metaverse is therefore a universe beyond the physical world, a virtual world. The term is used to describe persistent and shared online spaces, accessible through 3D interactions. The idea first appeared in science fiction novels in the late 1960s.
As early as 2003, the video game Second Life made it possible to move with one’s avatar in such a universe. Today, game platforms such as Roblox offer the same type of experience, but in a more sophisticated way. Our avatar can interact with the virtual environment, but also with other users, wherever they are in the world.
In the future, we will be able to do almost anything in the metaverse: see a match or a concert, visit a museum, take a course, go shopping, etc. And the experience will be even more immersive. And the experience will be even more immersive thanks to virtual reality headsets, which allow you to do without a screen.
Concretely, a metaverse is a fictitious virtual world connected to the Internet and allowing a user to travel in virtual spaces, to share and exchange with other users.
How will the Metaverse work?
As explained above, the metaverse will be in a fictional world. Thus, the environment that will be proposed can be a true copy of real life but also a totally different world. It will be possible to interact with other users as in a video game and therefore to play and discuss with them. This is called immersion because all users will be immersed in a world that is different from the real thing.
As with the Internet twenty-five years ago, it is difficult to predict all future uses. But we can predict the widespread use of virtual videoconferencing. A professional meeting in the metaverse really gives the feeling of being together, because it also allows body language to be transmitted – eyebrows raised, gaze directed, gestures – because some headsets have cameras.
In terms of entertainment, there will be more and more virtual concerts, where the artist, equipped with a motion capture suit (the process used in the cinema), will perform in a 3D setting where the imagination will be the only limit. The public will be able to move around the “room” as they wish and get closer to the artist. Likewise, the tourist sites will offer a mirror version in the metaverse. A visitor will be able to wander around the Sistine Chapel, away from the crowds, whenever he or she wishes. One can already climb to the top of Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, or visit the International Space Station as if one were there. These experiences give a taste of what will be possible without leaving home.
The development of metaverse is still in its infancy, but with the acceleration of developments, the billions invested in this space and the huge impetus given by COVID, it will soon become a more important part of our lives. Even Bill Gates estimates that within a few years most work and meetings will be done in metaverse, instead of physical meeting rooms and business trips.