Everyone is talking about Metaverse?

We’ve been hearing a buzz word — “Metaverse” over and over again lately. Youtubers are introducing it, podcasters are discussing it, people in crypto industry say they are creating it and the gamers say we are experiencing it. But what is it? Today I am going to share what is the definition of Metaverse and next week I am going to introduce who is the most important players in Metaverse industry.

In the past 2 years, lots of tech veterans and entrepreneurs coincidentally said Metaverse is the next big thing and they are gonna invest more resources on it. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told his colleagues he hopes Facebook will be transformed from a social media company to a metaverse company in 7 years; Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang announced Nvidia’s version of Metaverse — Omniverse for engineers and creators. Microsoft launched its MR (mixed reality) product and provided a great number of headsets to the U.S. army. Tech giant — Apple might have plan to launch their AR device soon. From those tech titans’ vision, we know metaverse will have a very deep and thorough impact over our society and perhaps totally change our world.

This term — “Metaverse” was first coined in a sci-fi novel — Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. Neal just refers to the term as a convergence of physical, augmented, and virtual reality in a shared online space. If you still don’t quite understand what it is, you can go to watch a movie — Ready Player One directed by Steven Spielberg. Ready Player One outline a virtual world which look like a metaverse, but there are some differences. (It could only embody some aspects of metaverse. We will talk about it later.)

In the movie, people can use a VR headset to enter the metaverse-like system — OASIS and engage with users, do different activities in it. By watching this movie, you might have a broader understanding on Metaverse. Therefore, you can imagine it is like a virtual world that people can not only do whatever you can do in physical world but also some things beyond the physical limitations. (Some people believe Metaverse should obey the law of physics.).

What is the definition of Metaverse?

When it comes to metaverse, someone would probably relate it as a virtual world, VR, game or social media. Yes but no. Those terms are only embodying some aspects of metaverse, but not all of them. According to venture capitalist — Mathew Ball’s definition, Metaverse has to be

1. Persistent and there’s no button for you to fast forward, backward, reset, pause or end in the Metaverse;

2. Span the physical and virtual worlds, private and public networks/experiences, and open and closed platforms;

3. Contain its own economy for individual or business to invest, sell, earn and be rewarded for an incredibly wide range of “work” that produces “value”;

4. Have a real-time and living 3D experience that exists consistently

5. Offer “unprecedented interoperability” — users have to be able to take their avatars and goods from one place in the metaverse to another, no matter who runs that particular part of it.

6. No cap to concurrent users, while also providing each user with an individual sense of “presence” — everyone can be a part of the Metaverse and participate in it.

After carefully reviewing the characteristics of Metaverse, what pops up from your mind? For me it’s “Online game”. Some online games definitely have the traits above which make online games have the potential to be a prototype of Metaverse, but the game publishers still have something need to work on. We will discuss this in the next article.

Why does Metaverse matter?

A16z co-founder — Marc Andreessen said “software is eating the world. “ That is 100% correct in the internet era. Looking our lives now, we look up info via google, shop online in Amazon, watch movie in Netflix, book tickets thru Expedia and order food via Ubereats. Cheaper microprocessor and widespread mobile internet just make all of online application come true. In the past 20 years, internet plays a critically important role in our lives and lots of tech giants are created because of internet.

And then people start to think what is the successor of internet? Is there any brand-new way that people can interact with each other and the world differently? Metaverse could be the answer. If so, you could see there are huge opportunities for enterprises monetizing from creating different applications, such as payment system, identity verification, advertisement, entertainment and so on in the metaverse industry.

Creating a metaverse is time-consuming and It’s hardly possible to provide a completed version of Metaverse when it’s just rolled out. Lots of applications, services and protocols will be slowly developed by different companies, so the constant improvement and gradual optimization are highly likely to be expected.

The Metaverse won’t be controlled or owned by one corporation like OASIS in Ready Player One. It is an infrastructure like internet. Companies rely on it but can not control it. Companies in the industry need to work with each other to make it inclusive and open.

We can imagine Metaverse is gonna devour the world in the near future and create next FAANG-level tech monsters.

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Jimmy Hsu

Marketer who likes to understand the world better by reading.