What is the Metaverse?
In 99.99% of cases, you can replace the word “metaverse” with “internet”, which means the same thing, as long as the term is used correctly. I think analyst Doug Thompson put it very well when he pointed out that “we use this word for the feeling that everything is going to change.” So if the metaverse is just the internet – what’s going to happen to the internet? To answer this question, I have divided this article into four parts:
- Spatial computing (what is that?)
- Game Engines (what are those?)
- Virtual Environments (Is that metaverse? … kinda)
- Virtual economy (please don’t tell me I have to learn NFTs…you might)
- For those of you who want me to predefine the metaverse, I’d say: the metaverse is the Internet, but it’s also a collection of spatial (usually 3D), game engine-driven virtual environments. There’s a lot missing from this definition (like an avatar), but if you’re like a lot of people, it sounds like the fictional buzzword salad.
- Spatial computing (and the history of the interface)
To understand how e-life is changing, you need to start with the seemingly obvious way we currently have access to the internet: computers. To understand us directly, you need to look at the history of computer interfaces. By using a computer, I mean the way people interact with digital technology to get them to do what we want. We take for granted that using a computer will be simple and intuitive in our lives, but it is not always easy. In the middle of the 20th century, “programming language” engineers often made computers work, including embedding real-time cable tying machines. Then the engineers created a new feature that used punch cards, which freed us from having to do it ourselves. A command line (such as MS-DOS) appeared after the punch card. This was a breakthrough because you can interact by typing words. But the real mainstream moment of computers was the invention of the graphical user interface (GUI). This is when most of us took “the way they work today” for granted when they started using computers, including clicking on photos. GUIs are now used in everything from ATMs to ticket machines, which is why ordinary non-programmers like us can use them.
Why look back at this history?
The point is that at each stage of development just described, the use of computers becomes easier, more accessible, and available to more people. Google’s Clay Bavor’s description of this history and the insights I’ve borrowed here goes like this:
- Over the last few decades, computers have become more accessible to us each time people make them behave like us, that is, remove the abstraction layer between us and them. Convenient and more valuable. As a result, we become more competent and productive.
- Today, the next great computing interface is emerging — just without a good name. You may have heard of concepts like augmented reality, virtual reality, mixed reality, immersive computing, or any two-letter acronym.
- Game Engines: Building Tools for Metaverse
Sports engines could be one of the most important technologies for the next decade. I know this sounds crazy. But listen to me. A gamefi engine is a software tool used by developers to build (and run) video games. In these software programs, you can download 3D objects, apply rules such as the movement of those objects, add noise, and more. The Protectwise properties are displayed on the surface using the Unity game engine. In business, the term “video game” is also misleading because it refers to something that is interesting or uncomplicated. But as the world expands digitally, gaming engines are providing powerful computing interfaces in different industries. Get the new electric Hummer; The first car to have Unreal Engine-based interface. The car takes information from its sensors and displays it in 3D on the dashboard. In the world of game engines, more than I can understand is happening, but there are two engines to understand. Unreal and Unity. Unreal is owned by Fortnite-owning publisher Epic Games, and Unity is a large public company. (Personally, I used Unity only because it was designed for beginners.)
- Virtual Environment
Now that we have covered the area of the computer and the game engines, we have come to the point where many of the advanced metaverse options that serve as the starting point. Virtual communities are the “sites” we will be visiting the Internet tomorrow. It is also a difficult thing to explain. In many ways, Twitter and Discord (an online messaging site) have become a place where people meet and exchange messages and information. This is a space game built with Unity that superimposes 3D characters on the physical world. Does this mean we can think of Pokémon Go as part of the metaverse? Well, yeah, I guess, of course, who says (I think I’m talking). The current definition is vague. We’re still in the “defining your terms” stage, so be careful in the media.
- The Virtual Economy (…and NFTs)
One of my favorite stats is that Second Life still supports an economy worth about $500 million a year (a number that has grown during the pandemic). Second Life’s GDP is larger than the economy of some real-world countries. If this sounds silly or weird, think about how someone carefully plans what to wear or what profile picture to use on LinkedIn. If we’re going to spend more time online, it’s not that silly to expect that people will want to buy an expensive Gucci bag to carry around the Roblox.