What is the metaverse?

If you’re reading this page, I’m guessing you’ve heard the term Metaverse and have been left scratching your head. Metawhat? There’s no doubt since Facebook announced their corporate name change in late 2021 – there’s been a surge in interest in the term. What does it mean?

In truth the Metaverse is currently a fluid and flexible term. It means different things to various people and companies. In fact, we’re so early into the journey, it’s more than likely the term itself will be superseded; think about the Internet, and how itself was formerly referred to as cyberspace – a phrase that now seems outdated and clunky. As technology evolves and changes, so does the terminology. Indeed, Wired write that you could probably even switch out the term Cyberspace for Metaverse most of the time – and you’d still be in the roughly right spot when trying to understand what it all means.

So what is the Metaverse? Lets look at Facebook, arguably responsible for true current surge in Metaverse interest. In Facebook’s Vision For Meta video – they look at the future of where they want to head as a company. The Metaverse is demonstrated as an immersive online experience or world which its users can seamlessly participate in. Ever seen the movie Ready Player One? That’s a Facebook-esque vision of the Metaverse.

Much like the Internet, the Metaverse is a connected platform of services that would in theory allow a diverse array of activities: hanging out with friends, watching a movie, attending a show or checking out the latest news. The Metaverse would allow users to seamlessly move from one activity or application to the next – taking a persistent online presence with them as they go.

You could argue that we’re already there is some part with the Internet. You can of course move from shopping at your favorite store, to hanging out with friends on social media, at the click of a mouse. The key difference with the supposed future of the Metaverse is that this would be experienced in a rich and immersive way. Where the Internet is experienced through a 2D medium, say a desktop computer or phone, the Metaverse would be through immersive, and maybe tactile interfaces.

This is where the likes of AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality) come in. And it’s also where some perspective needs to come in too. To fully realize that sensory surround future – we’re still a long way from the technical reality when it comes to the hardware. Current VR devices are clunky, expensive and extremely limited in application; certainly at least in regards devices available to the public.

Which is where we come in. We’ll be detailing the story of the Metaverse as it unfolds. Developments in AR and VR, hardware and software, interesting news updates as companies and society grapple with this huge and nascent concept.