Welcome to Metaverse
The concept of metaverse has been gaining more and more attention since October 2021, when Facebook rebranded itself “Meta” and released a video in which CEO Mark Zuckerberg says, “I believe the metaverse is the next chapter for the internet.” But what is metaverse?
What is metaverse?
According to Intel, the term “metaverse” was first introduced in 1992 by Neal Stephenson in his fiction novel Snow Crash. In the book, metaverse describes the virtual world in which the story protagonist socializes, shops, and vanquishes real-world enemies through his avatar. Today, the metaverse is on its way to turn into a (virtual) reality.
As a futuristic yet new and unfamiliar concept, the term “metaverse” isn’t clearly defined yet. Google and Oxford Languages define it as a virtual-reality space in which users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users. Meanwhile, according to Merriam-Webster, in its current meaning, metaverse generally refers to the concept of a highly immersive virtual world where people gather to socialize, play, and work. Both definitions aren’t very specific, but they generally describe the idea of the metaverse.
Today, the best examples of what metaverse looks like are video games. Several games, such as Minecraft and Animal Crossing, are already incorporating user-generated content, large user bases, and entire detailed worlds. This merging of the physical world, augmented reality, and virtual reality in one shared space online is what the beginning of the metaverse looks like.
Do we have the suitable physical infrastructure to support metaverse?
A concept as bold as the metaverse requires powerful computing capabilities. To enable these capabilities at scale, the infrastructure and technological capacities that are available now will need major upgrades fundamental areas like power (that reliably supplies the needs of the servers, storage, networking, and cooling required to run the metaverse), connectivity (that ensures metaverse experiences are delivered smoothly, rapidly, and across multiple devices in different locations), and sustainability (to minimize the environmental impact of the metaverse). When it comes to a concept that is expected to be ubiquitous and involve millions of people globally, proximity (to minimize latency and ensure that content and other assets can be stored at optimal points in the metaverse) is another area to improve.
The internet we currently have wasn’t designed to deliver experiences as massive and extensive as the metaverse. Today, even the most massively communal gaming experiences are limited by how many users can join and play at any given time, partly due to processing demands and partly due to network limitations. According to experts, edge data centers which are strategically located across the globe can be the answer.
Will metaverse be our future?
With the concept of metaverse gaining more and more attention, one question has been raised. What does our future look like? Will the world completely turn to avatars that virtually work, socialize, go to events, and shop full-time?
This may sound alien, but if you think about it, we’re already halfway there. The world has turned into a culture that relies heavily on technology, social media, and online connectivity. Augmented reality, virtual reality, and the combination of both known as extended reality are no longer unfamiliar. What's more, technologies are advancing and infrastructure is improving to meet this rapidly changing world. Combining all those will be what the metaverse will look like in the future, and it does seem very likely and feasible.