Updated: Jan 7
The “Metaverse” is being hyped by tech companies as the future of all digital media. For many, it is something just heard in movies such as The Matrix and Wreck-It Ralph. But, what is the metaverse exactly?
The Metaverse can be described as a virtual social media space, where you can have a persistent online persona across the internet. Think “Facebook” but across the internet, rather than just one website. This one persona would serve as your “digital self” whenever you use your phone or any device. In fact, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has already stated that his primary goal is to bring the Metaverse to fruition!
We have seen the beginning of the Metaverse within video games like Fortnite and Roblox, in which users exist in a constantly evolving virtual space where new forms of marketing can be introduced. Roblox is currently the premier example of this, where users have an Avatar that can be taken across the entire service. This includes online shops, games, and areas to explore. It’s an infant metaverse, sewing the starts of what we might see expanded on in the future.
Due to Covid-19 forcing many to stay at home, the metaverse idea started gaining a lot more traction as many had to turn to their devices to work and communicate. With everything going digital instead of in-person, many started relying on their online personas more than they had before. Brands like Gucci and Nike are already in the midst of creating virtual communities, content, assets, fashion, art, experiences, and worlds for the metaverse.
Will the metaverse be the future of all media? This remains to be seen, as much of the technology that the metaverse relies on is still in its early stages. Virtual Reality, or VR, is one of the primary pieces of the metaverse which has not caught on, as the gaming community once hoped and is scarcely used in a work setting like Facebook prophesized.
In terms of the accessibility of raw graphics and processing power, Roblox works due to its simplicity, with its graphics containing many jagged edges and Lego-like surfaces. This style of graphics and easy accessibility has made Roblox widely appealing to a younger audience. The metaverse has a lot of work ahead if its goal is to appeal to “everyone”. For the metaverse to be attractive, it needs to be visually striking, which is not affordable or possible with the current state of our tech.
While the Metaverse is a fun idea and buzzword to throw around as we reel from the impacts that Covid-19 has had on our society, the technology is not there yet. In some ways, neither are the people who can even access this form of technology.
The internet is an amalgamation of people all across the world. Making a single online world that is visually consistent for everyone will take years, if not decades of work. Like VR, before it, the metaverse is an exciting idea. Sadly, the current truth of this tech is far less exciting than we could picture in our heads.
The metaverse could very well be the next biggest thing for entertainment, let’s give it another 10 years or so!