Facebook is up to a hugely ambitious new idea, and I would forgive you for thinking that sounds like sci-fi gibberish. I’m talking about the Metaverse (or even Metaverse) to come, an evolution of traditional Internet media into something entirely different. Frankly, it all sounds a bit complicated. What is a Metaverse? And why is this so important to the Facebook team?
Technically speaking, Facebook’s Metaverse is a new collection of virtual spaces offering another way to indulge in everyday internet activities. It is presented, as its name suggests, as a kind of universe aware of itself within another. You could call it a virtual reality version of the Internet, but that wouldn’t be quite accurate.
Facebook itself provides this brief summary of what the Metaverse is meant to be:
The “Metaverse” is a collection of virtual spaces where you can create and explore with other people who are not in the same physical space as you.
Of course, it’s oversimplified a bit. In reality, the end goal – the final iteration – of the Metaverse seems to come out of science fiction. This is not surprising: fans of science fiction will undoubtedly recognize this expression in the novel Snow Crash, written by Neal Stephenson in 1992. The Metaverse is presented there as a shared virtual space that succeeds the Internet. -same.
Could the metaverse be the future of the Internet?
The basic concept of the Metaverse is based on using the Internet in a new way. We generally live in communications, videos, news, etc. through the frame of a screen, smartphone or another device with a screen. Virtual reality and augmented reality technology provide the ability to present these activities in an immersive way that does not involve an inherently two-dimensional experience.
Think of it this way: you can talk to a friend online through messages, sounds, or videos. Or, using a virtual reality headset, you can have a face-to-face conversation in a simulated environment. This is the kind of idea that the Metaverse seeks to bring to fruition. Technology informs the exchange; the medium is the message.
In an interview with The Verge, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the Metaverse is “ a persistent and synchronous environment where we can be together, which I think will likely look like some kind of hybrid between the social platforms that we see today, but an environment in which you are embodied ”.
Not necessarily virtual reality
Of course, this is not necessarily virtual reality. It’s not necessarily augmented reality or even 3D. While this is a familiar concept, the ultimate goal is a new alternate reality (and so far totally unknown). This is why Facebook is changing its structure, changing its name and recruiting more than 10,000 people to help bring this extremely ambitious project to life.
Comparisons to Snow Crash’s Metaverse, Ready Player One’s Oasis, or even games like Second Life will be inevitable. We fall back on science fiction and fantasy comparisons because reimagining the Internet is difficult, to say the least. Yet this real-life Metaverse is presented as a new virtual world where communication and collaboration take place in persistent and simulated environments.