You may remember Second Life, a 3D, immersive, digital equivalent of the physical world. In 2007, roughly a million people were drawn to Second Life and created their own digital avatars in this VR game. They meet and interact with other people via their avatars and handles. And they buy real estate, visit virtualized landmarks and monuments, travel to places, and even own and trade in Second Life’s virtual currency (Linden $).
Second Life was regarded as the VR version of the internet, but it also gave us a first glimpse of the metaverse.
We also got a sense of the metaverse in movies such as the Oscar-winning Avatar, the Matrix series, Ralph and the Internet, Wreck-it Ralph, Ready Player One, Free Guy, Summer Wars, and Gamer.
Decoding the Metaverse
Google search trends (worldwide) for the term metaverse in the past year
The term metaverse was coined by writer Neal Stephenson in his 1992 sci-fi dystopian novel Snow Crash. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, is a 2011 novel that follows a similar plot and is set in the nearish dystopian future where people are forced to escape their unpleasant lives into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS.
Will Zuckerberg’s ‘metaverse’ change everything?
The metaverse as it’s currently envisioned will take decades and billions of dollars before it comes to fruition. While the concept has the potential to revolutionize almost every industry and unlock trillions in value, there are a lot of questions that remain unanswered, such as who will govern the metaverse? How will its contents be moderated? What will its existence do to our shared sense of reality?