Have you ever wanted to lead a double life? Or maybe you enjoy making new friends and sharing common interests in online communities? If you answer yes to any of the above questions, then maybe Metaverse can be your favorite alternative. But what is Metaverse ?
What is Metaverse ?
Metaverse is an online-virtual platform that aims to create a hyper-real world in a digital space. It can become the perfect mirror to the real world, where all activities that take place in the physical world shall take place in an online space. For example, these activities range from concerts, fan-meets, movie premieres to something as intimate as a wedding.
The word Metaverse has gained immense popularity in the digital world. From Facebook to Disney and even the retail giant Victoria’s Secrets is investing in the Meta. So it has become really imperative that we understand what is metaverse.
In this article, we shall delve deeper into the world of virtual reality.
What is the Metaverse all about?
This is the name given to an online virtual world that makes use of technologies like Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), Three Dimensional Characters (3D), and different modes of communication.
Sounds really like a thing of the future, doesn’t it?
Well, this does mark as a fresh new stage of the internet. Here People can create their 3D Avatars and customize them according to their liking. Imagine if you could create a mini version of yourself on different social media, and then actually get to hang out with your friends in a virtual café. Sounds pretty interesting, if you may ask. Metaverse aims to make this a reality.
Just as if we would buy a new T-shirt from a store and wear it to a party, in the same way in this we could buy things for our Avatar on one platform and also carry it forward towards the other platforms.
It was defined to be the fourth wave to computers following mainframe computers, personal computers and Mobile computers, by the famous venture capitalist Matthew Ball. .
Matthew Ball also known as the expert when it comes to the metaverse, says that it’s about moving people into “Ambient Computing”. He further goes on to say it’s no more about just accessing the internet to interact, but rather staying online always. Similarly, it’s not about accessing the computer anymore, but rather is living within the computer. 
Read about Artificial world created by AI and its Applications: Artificial World : 11 Interesting Applications Of AI across Industries
Origin Of The Name “Metaverse”
If you think the concept of meta sounds a lot like a sci-fi novel, then you are not wrong. In fact, the term metaverse was coined by an author named Neal Stephenson in his novel called “Snow Crash”, published in 1992. The book has a dystopian setting in the future where much of the world is present in this and humans interact in the form of Avatars.
The book was apparently even a required read for the new recruits at Facebook. After “Snow Crash”, another novel called “Ready Player One” written by Ernest Cline used and expanded on the concept of the Metaverse. This book was also adapted into a movie that went on to become successful.
Tech-Involved in Metaverse
It incorporates technologies like VR, AR, Motion sensors, communication tools etc. Let’s understand more about the technologies associated with Meta 
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) both are contributing factors that will make it as interactive as it is envisioned. Both of them provide an immersive and 3D experience, but let us understand the difference between the two.
AR is becoming more ordinary and a lot of mainstream apps are using AR to make their technology more interactive for the users. AR uses visual digital elements and characters and morphs them into the real world. The most common example of AR is the trending game Pokemon Go.
AR applications allow the users to view their present surroundings with interactive digital visuals. You need not require any fancy equipment to use AR applications. Only a smartphone with a camera can also easily run any AR application. Another very popular example of AR is the filters that you can find on Instagram and Snapchat.
On the other hand, Virtual Reality is completely computer-generated. You also need special pieces of equipment like VR Headsets, Gloves and sensors to enter a Virtual Reality environment.
Artificial Intelligence in itself is a very important aspect of Technology. In this, AI can be used to build different Avatars. It can be used to analyze 2D images and to scan 3D images. It helps to create different expressions, clothes and facial features, to enhance the avatar and create a wholesome experience.
AI is also used in creating non-player characters (NPC) in the metaverse. These characters will not have any human involvement and can function all by themselves. Different players can interact with these characters to make conversations, create storylines in games, etc.
Blockchain and Cryptocurrency
Blockchain technology offers decentralized and transparent solutions for owning digital ownerships of different things, digital collectability and even governance, accessibility, etc. 
Cryptocurrencies are most probably going to be the choice of currency. It would replace actual money and people are going to make use of cryptocurrencies to buy various interactive tokens in the metaverse.
Examples of Companies in Metaverse
As it gains more and more traction by the day, companies are all investing in the same. The covid-19 pandemic pushed people further to move towards the digital world. Thus, the pandemic has a considerable contribution in catalyzing the process of the creation of metaverse.
Such is the race in joining the purported new wave of the internet, that Mark Zuckerberg changed the name of his company from Facebook to Meta in October 2021. Let us read in detail about the different companies that are contributing towards the future of the metaverse
Meta ( Formerly Known as Facebook)
Meta has to be the biggest player in the race of brands that are investing in the Meta. Tech Giant CEO Mark Zuckerberg also said, “ “From now on, we’re going to be the meta first, not Facebook first,” 
Although Zuckerberg said that the technology will still need five to ten years to actually become as mainstream as the internet today. But some features do exist currently. Examples of such features are super-fast broadband speeds, virtual reality headsets and sensors, and always online digital worlds.
Meta has made significant investments in virtual reality platforms. In 2014, it acquired the Oculus, a virtual-reality platform, for a whopping $2 Billion. Zuckerberg envisages a future with meta as the next level of the internet where users not only “log in” to the metaverse, but also become a part of it. Whether it is travelling for work or vacation or hosting get-togethers, Meta aims to be the choice of platform for everything.
Due to the controversies regarding data handling by Facebook, Critics are sceptical about allowing Zuckerberg to build the future of the internet.
Another tech giant that is making considerable investments in the metaverse is Microsoft. A pioneer in its own accord, it acquired a game-developing company called Activision Blizzard for the humongous price of $68.7 billion. It cited the reason for this purchase as a future investment for the meta.
The company Activision Blizzard is apparently going to form the “building blocks” of the metaverse.
Apart from this, Microsoft also is in the hologram business and has developed “HoloLens” which is priced at $3500. It is also in the process of developing mixed and extended reality (EX) applications with the Microsoft Mesh Platform. This would help it to combine the real world with technologies of virtual reality and augmented reality.
It also plans on bringing mixed reality applications and virtual avatars to the communication application, Microsoft Teams. Apart from this, Microsoft in collaboration with the US Army is also developing Hololens 2. This can be used by soldiers for practising their combat skills in a simulated real-life environment.
Microsoft is also the founder of Xbox, the second biggest gaming console after Sony’s Playstation.
Read about marketing strategy of Microsoft: MICROSOFT MARKETING STRATEGY
Fortnite is a game that already has a few features of Meta in it. From having 3D avatars that are customizable to virtual events, Fortnite has dealt in it all. Thus, even the CEO Tim Sweeney of Epic Games that developed Fortnite, has said that it’s not a huge secret that Fortnite is also invested in building the metaverse.
World-famous celebrities like Ariana Grande and Travis Scott have held their virtual concerts in Fortnite. Fortnite even has an immersive re-imagining of Martin Luther King Jr’s historic 1964 speech “I Have a Dream”
Roblox is a platform that contains numerous user-generated games, including role-playing games like Bloxburg and Brookhaven where users can build homes, work out or play out different scenarios.
Founded in 2004, the company is worth more than $45 billion now. On the day of its IPO, the CEO of the company thanked its users for helping him bring the company one step closer to fulfilling his dream of becoming a metaverse.
Skateboarding shoes brand Vans collaborated with Roblox to create virtual skating parks where users could sport the new Vans collection.
It also opened a virtual limited Gucci Garden where users could try and buy clothes and accessories for their virtual selves.
This platform helmed by Microsoft is hugely popular among kids. It’s like a virtual lego world where you can build your own buildings and different things. They can also build their own virtual characters however they like.
It boasts a monthly user base of 140 million people. Its popularity exploded even further during the pandemic.
Before the internet was developed, the idea of it may have seemed preposterous to the world. The same is the case with metaverse as well. As it’s a relatively new world
It aims to reimagine how we look at the internet. Instead of having just a digital platform where we could share our content, it aims to create an alternative world where we could create things from scratch.
The full vision of meta turning into reality is still decades away. The technology and acceptance required are in their nascent phases. It requires superb technological advancements, persistent simulations by millions of users around the world online at the same time, and even proactive regulatory involvement.
The new digital world will also create a complete change in policies of businesses, organisations and even consumer behaviours. The growing popularity of Cryptocurrencies and NFTs is an indicator of the changes occurring in consumer behaviours.
Read more about importance of Artificial Intelligence: What Is The Importance Of Artificial Intelligence?
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is metaverse real?
It forms a virtual reality platform where people could interact with each other, go shopping, play games and even host parties. It is essentially creating a simulated world in a digital space. A very small example of virtual events could be the ones that are held in fortnite. Crossover concerts with celebrities like Ariana Grande and Travis Scott are examples of a few virtual programs.
2. What is the metaverse vs multiverse?
The main differences between Metaverse vs Multiverse are:
- The meta is a virtual platform that is being built using different software. While the multiverse is a scientific concept that is either theoretical or already exists. There is no creation process for a multiverse, unlike the metaverse.
- The metaverse aims to bring together different worlds created by different companies and make them all interoperable. While the multiverse may contain many universes, it does not necessarily mean that it would be interoperable.
3. What is meta Roblox?
Roblox is a platform that contains numerous user-generated games, where users can build homes, work out or play out different scenarios.
 Ball, M. (2021, December 15). Framework for the Metaverse. MatthewBall.Vc. https://www.matthewball.vc/all/forwardtothemetaverseprimer
 Chen, B. X. (2022, January 18). What’s All the Hype About the Metaverse? The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/18/technology/personaltech/metaverse-gaming-definition.html
Academy, B. (2022, February 15). Top 7 Technologies that Power the Metaverse. Binance Academy. https://academy.binance.com/en/articles/top-7-technologies-that-power-the-metaverse
Guynn, B. U. M. A. J. T. (2021, October 29). Facebook changes name to Meta: Mark Zuckerberg announces company rebrand as it moves to the metaverse. USA TODAY. https://eu.usatoday.com/story/tech/2021/10/28/facebook-meta-name-change-metaverse-instagram-whatsapp-zuckerberg/6180303001/