What Is the Metaverse?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard the word “metaverse” floating around recently. Facebook, or “Meta” as it’s now called, no doubt has a lot to do with this. But we can’t blame it all on Meta ๐Ÿคทโ€”the metaverse is also hitting other parts of the digital world ๐Ÿคณ, from gaming to cryptocurrency, hard. So, that brings us to the question: what is the metaverse?

This is a question many people, even pretty tech-savvy people like influencers and digital entrepreneurs, are now asking. So, what is the metaverse, and why is a legal blog covering it? ๐Ÿค” Stick around to find out. 

What Is the Metaverse? 

According to Oxford Dictionary, “metaverse” is “a slang term used to describe a virtual representation ๐Ÿ‘€ of reality implemented by means of virtual reality software.” If the words “virtual reality” stick out to you there, it’s because that’s the crux of the matter.

The term “metaverse” is really broad ๐Ÿคฏ and does not actually refer to any kind of one certain type of technology. Instead, it encompasses virtual reality and what’s known as “augmented truth,” which incorporates aspects of the physical and digital globes. Virtual reality is basically defined as consistent virtual spaces that exist even when players leave them.ย 

We know this sounds bizarre, but the truth is, you probably access the metaverse already. And if you don’t access a virtual space that fits into the metaverse, you probably know someone who does. However, it’s important to note that what the metaverse is like now and what it could be in the future (which is what all the tech giants are excited about) are two very different things. 

What’s the Metaverse Like Now?

Perhaps the best example of the Metaverse is in video games ๐ŸŽฎ. Have you ever heard of Fortnite? Fortnite is a game that can be accessed in a variety of ways, including computers, game consoles, and phones. It exists even when people leave it, and you can own items in the game that you buy with real money ๐Ÿ’ฐ.

That’s pretty much where virtual reality is at the movement: massively multiplayer online games (MMOs) as well as electronic performances, digital characters, international video, virtual reality headsets ๐Ÿ˜Ž, and digital business platforms. However, the intrigue of the metaverse digital space for technology companies seems to be years down the road.

What Will the Metaverse Supposedly Be Like in the Future?

Big tech companies hope that in the future, the metaverse will have progressed far beyond zoom meetings and on to mixed reality, virtual avatars, and a sophisticated 3D space. In this hypothetical metaverse vision ๐Ÿค“, you can take virtual possessions (objects, outfits, vehicles, etc.) from one platform to another. You have one main avatar, or virtual identity, that you can use in multiple virtual universes. You’ll have real-world ๐Ÿฆพ tools like Tony Stark’s holograms that allow you to interact with real-world people in your digital form. Basically, you’ll live in a sci-fi universe. 

The big issue with this is the interoperability or compatibility of different digital systems with one another. That’s a nut that the big tech firms ๐Ÿ™ have yet to crack. However, based on enthusiasm from tech industries, it seems Silicon Valley is trying its hardest to make its metaverse aspirations a real user experience. 

One intriguing concept from a Meta video about this concept (featuring a voiceover artist who sounds suspiciously like Mark Zuckerberg himself) shows a woman on her sofa scrolling on Instagram. She sees a video clip a good friend posted a few seconds ago of a concert far away. The woman clicks on “Join Concert” and, presto! A hologram version of her appears at the concert. She can interact with her buddy who is physically there, and they’re both able to hear the concert. However, that kind of virtual experience via digital platforms is still technologically light-years away ๐Ÿš€. 

What Does This Have to Do with Legal Stuff?

NFTs. If you need a full scoop, check out our recent article on NFTs. But, basically, NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are cryptographic symbols that can act as certifications of possession of a digital product ๐Ÿ“ฒย . These digital products can be anything from digital artwork to tweets to GIFs.

NFTs are getting a lot of attention now, and if they could be the electronic key to your virtual real estate in virtual worlds down the line, they could be the new normal. So, for now, NFTs and the metaverse seem closely linked. If NFTs do well, it’s likely that cryptocurrency ๐Ÿ‘Œ will also continue to rise.

The Metaverse and Me

The metaverse that allows you a true real-life immersive experience might not be here yet, but its beginnings are. If you’re in the virtual economy, you might want to jump aboard by familiarizing yourself with this concept, educating your fans, jumping on a gaming platform, or even investing in a few NFTs. Augmented reality is on its way, and you’ll want to be on Team Metaverse when it gets here!

If you’re curious about these concepts, check out the Ian Corzine blog to learn more. And remember, when you need legal templates or legal consultation, your social media lawyer ๐Ÿ‘จโ€โš–๏ธ is here for you!