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What is the Metaverse?

Facebook has exploded the concept of the Metaverse into the mainstream public consciousness, but what exactly is it?

Facebook’s announcement of their Meta rebranding has exploded the concept of “The Metaverse” into the mainstream public consciousness.

But, what exactly is this Metaverse?

The term was first coined by Neal Stephenson in his 1992 novel Snow Crash, and in the most simple terms describes a virtual world environment within which we can become wholly immersed, typically through Virtual Reality technologies.

It’s a future iteration of the internet made up of persistent, shared, 3D, virtual spaces linked into a perceived virtual universe. The movie Ready Player One is often cited as an example of this future environment.

In his article Who Will Own the Metaverse Marko Balabanovic says the Metaverse is:

“a collective virtual shared space, created by the convergence of virtually enhanced physical reality and physically persistent virtual space, including the sum of all virtual worlds, augmented reality, and the internet”.

It’s also called the ‘AR Cloud‘, “a persistent 3D digital copy of the real world to enable sharing of AR experiences across multiple users and devices” that will ‘infuse meaning into every object in the real world’.

VentureBeat offers this primer, describing it as the next version of the Internet, with massive implications for every industry such as movies.

There are many different visions for how the Metaverse will come about and featuring technologies ranging from Virtual Reality through the Blockchain. We explore each of these, identifying their key attributes and also what common themes and capabilities they define.

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