Among the various directions that the future is taking, more or less courageous or risky, there is something that is going to happen soon, and it’s already taking shape before our eyes: the metaverse. A broad concept that introduces a very new way of experiencing the digital world.
What is the Metaverse?
“Metaverse” is a term that has actually been around since the 90s, but it started to be on everyone’s lips especially from 2021, when Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, announced the rebranding of the Facebook company in Meta Platforms, hinting that the future is now focused on creating their metaverse.
By metaverse we mean a virtual reality in which in future it will be possible to live almost any kind of experience and sensation of real life. You will probably enter the metaverse through virtual reality devices, such as Oculus viewers (acquired by Facebook in 2014, which allow you to see in 3-D within the virtual world). The idea, however, goes further, and in the near future technology will be able to give space to all five senses, offering the possibility of smelling, tasting, or touching objects.
Inside the metaverse we will have our physical presence, a virtual body similar to the real one, our avatar. And in the metaverse there will be places where we can do anything. Virtual offices where to work, meeting places to play or interact. The playful aspect can be translated into 3D sports competitions, or simulated wars. Entertainment can have an innovative dimension. You can build or buy a house. You can dance, you can touch each other. Or it will be possible to prevent this from happening, as recently announced by Facebook as a point of attention: users must be able to set up a personal space that cannot be violated.
Who will populate the metaverse? Basically anyone who wants to be there. People will be there in the form of avatars. Companies in the form of buildings, or services offered, within virtual reality. Real estate agencies will be able to offer their experiences within the metaverse, for example, such as normal entertainment activities such as bowling alleys or amusement parks.
When does the Metaverse launch?
The technologies are not yet advanced enough to make a full version of the metaverse, but Meta Platforms predicts that they will be within 5 to 15 years from now. A sort of complete metaverse could therefore arrive between 2025 and 2035.
In the meantime, there are already realities that allow a first taste of what will be. There is Decentraland, which already has over 300,000 monthly users, its own official cryptocurrency (MANA) and a market where the purchase and sale of objects is carried out, which in fact represent NFTs. There is Sandbox, also with its own official cryptocurrency (SAND) and an already active real estate market (LAND). And there is also Horizon Worlds, the virtual reality game promoted by Facebook and officially inaugurated in December 2021.
Will we soon live entirely in the Metaverse?
It is the ethical question that the world will soon begin to take more seriously. Because it is obvious that it will always be a free choice, as today it is a free choice to live without a smartphone or an account in social networks. But when everyone will be in the metaverse, it will be necessary to measure what obstacles we will have in not having anything to do with it. Furthermore, we will have to deal with the increasingly strong similarity that there will be between the experience in the real world and that in the virtual world: the more these two worlds will look the same, the more individuals could lose motivation to live the real world, spending more and more time in the metaverse, between games that never have breaks, identities that can be much more successful and needs more contained (you don’t need a large apartment to live comfortably, just a well-equipped room).
Behind every great technological progress there is the human challenge to live it and manage it in a balanced way. Taking the advantages and being aware of the risks. This is and will always remain among our prerogatives. Provided you always have a clear mind on the subject, not too heavily influenced by the opinions and trends of the world.