What Is the Metaverse?

The phrase metaverse is the newest buzzword to attract the attention of the technology industry — so much so that one of the most popular online platforms is renaming to reflect its adoption of the future concept.

Four person playing virtual reality goggles.
Photo by Lucrezia Carnelos on Unsplash

Facebook is far from the only technological visionary with ideas on how the metaverse should develop.

Zuckerberg's latest statement that he is changing the name of his firm to Meta for short. It may be the most significant development in the metaverse since science fiction author Neal Stephenson invented the word in 1992 for his novel Snow Crash.

However, many big tech company technologists with views about how the metaverse, which will combine virtual reality and other technology, should be built.

And those who have been contemplating it for some time are concerned about a new world dominated by a social media behemoth that may collect even more personal data.

How Is the Metaverse Defined?

Imagine it as the internet brought to life, or at the very least portrayed in three dimensions.

In a nutshell, it's a world of infinitely connected virtual communities where people can meet, work, and play via virtual reality headsets, augmented reality glasses, smartphone applications, and other devices.

"It's the next step of connectedness," she explained, "where all of those things join together to create a seamless, parallel universe in which you live your virtual life in the same way you live your real life."

What Can I Do in the Metaverse?

Things like attending a virtual concert, taking an online trip, seeing or creating artwork, and trying on or purchasing digital apparel are all possible.

Additionally, the metaverse might be a game-changer for the work-from-home shift that has occurred in the aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak.

Instead of interacting with coworkers via a video call grid, employees might collaborate in a virtual workplace.

Facebook has released Horizon Workrooms, a meeting software for businesses with Oculus VR headgear, albeit early reviews have been mixed.

The headsets cost $300 or more, placing many people out of reach of the metaverse's most cutting-edge experiences.

The original creator of Ocolus VR, John Carmack is skeptical about the metaverse.

Users who can afford it will be able to flit between virtual worlds established by various corporations using their avatars.

"A large part of the metaverse experience will revolve around the ability to teleport between experiences," Zuckerberg explains.

Tech businesses are still figuring out how to integrate their web platforms.

For example, rival technological platforms must agree on rules, ensuring that people in the Facebook metaverse do not coexist with people in the Microsoft metaverse.

Is Facebook Committing Entirely to the Metaverse?

Zuckerberg is betting heavily on what he believes will be the next generation of the internet, thinking it will be a significant element of the digital economy.

Critics worry if the possible shift is an attempt to divert attention away from the company's current issues, including antitrust investigations, testimony from former whistleblower workers, and worries about the company's handling of disinformation.

Frances Haugen, a former employee, has accused Facebook's platforms of endangering minors and instigating political violence after duplicating internal research documents and submitting them to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.

They were also made available to a selection of media sites, including The Associated Press, which published multiple articles about how Facebook put business over safety and concealed its studies from investors and the public.

Is the Metaverse an Official Facebook-Only Project?

Definitly no. Other companies such as Microsoft and chipmaker Nvidia are two more firms promoting the metaverse.

Additionally, video gaming businesses are assuming a leadership role.

Epic Games, the famous video game Fortnite, has received $1 billion from investors to fund its long-term goals for constructing the metaverse.

Consumer companies are also attempting to capitalize on the trend.

Coca-Cola and Clinique have marketed digital tokens as a gateway to the metaverse.

Is This Another Means of Accessing More of My Data?

Zuckerberg's acceptance of the metaverse runs counter to a basic premise of its most ardent adherents.

"We want to be able to travel freely on the internet, but we also want to be able to move freely without being followed and monitored," said Steve Jang, managing partner at Kindred Ventures and an expert in cryptocurrency technology.

Facebook appears to be pursuing a metaverse expansion of its business model, which is built on personal data to sell targeted advertising.

"Ads will continue to be a significant element of our strategy throughout the social media components of our business, and they will almost certainly be a significant part of the metaverse as well," Zuckerberg stated during a recent corporate earnings call.