Most of us have watched The Matrix, right 😎? Well, the metaverse is often compared to The Matrix, a virtual reality world featured in famous movies. However, the metaverse is not a simulated reality like the Matrix. It is more like a virtual world where users can create their own avatars and interact with others in real time.
The term came into the limelight when Mark Zuckerberg announced Meta’s (formerly Facebook’s) new name and plan in 2021. But what about the history of this technology 👨💻? Who created the metaverse?
The history of the metaverse is actually pretty interesting 🧐, and it feeds into where it’s headed as well. So stick around until the end to get a clearer picture of this up-and-coming virtual environment.
Who Created the Metaverse?
There’s really no one answer to this question. The concept of virtual reality (VR), which is so pivotal to the metaverse, is to create an artificial environment where you can be immersed in another world that looks real to your senses. This concept of a shared virtual world has been around for a long time. The earliest examples can be found in science fiction tales such as The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and The Matrix 😎.
The metaverse has also been featured in many video games 🎮 to provide an immersive experience, such as Second Life, The Sims, and World of Warcraft. In these games, players can create their own virtual avatars (cool digital representations of themselves) and explore the virtual world.
You might be able to tell at this point that the metaverse is not owned or controlled by any one person or organization. Instead, it is a shared space that is open to all. So, who created the metaverse? Everyone who uses it 😁!
Who Created the Term “Metaverse”?
The idea of the metaverse may be a shared concept, but the actual term “metaverse” has a creator. It was first coined by sci-fi writer Neal Stephenson in 1992. In his novel Snow Crash ❄️, the science fiction writer described the metaverse as a place where people can meet and interact with each other in a three-dimensional virtual space just like in real life. That’s pretty close to the metaverse experience users are enjoying today.
Who’s Building the Metaverse?
There are many companies working on creating the metaverse. Some of the most notable companies include some names you’ve definitely heard 👂 before.
Big Metaverse Players
Facebook: Facebook is heavily invested in the virtual reality platform. It’s working on a project called Facebook Horizon, which is a social VR platform. Facebook 🤳 also acquired Oculus VR, a virtual reality headset company, in 2014 to invest in virtual experiences.
Google: Google Lively 👩💻 was a virtual world platform that was shut down in 2008. Maybe it was simply ahead of its time…
Microsoft: Microsoft is working on a project called Microsoft WorldLines, which is a social VR platform. The tech giant also introduced the Windows Mixed Reality platform, which offers augmented reality and mixed reality with compatible VR headsets. Are you seeing a trend here?
Metaverse Startups and Platforms
There are also many smaller startups working in the digital world. Some of the most notable startups include:
High Fidelity: High Fidelity is a social VR platform that allows users to create their own digital avatars. They can then interact with others in real-time in digital spaces.
Magic Leap: Magic Leap is creating a headset that allows people to see and interact with digital objects in the real world (think Pokémon Go).
There are also a number of metaverse platforms that are being developed for specific purposes. For example, there’s a metaverse being developed for the education sector; it’s designed to help students learn in a more immersive and interactive way in a 3D space 👌.
Naturally, there are a lot of challenges 💪 that come with this new immersive internet that no creator can immediately solve. Here are three of them.
We’re Too Smart!
One of the biggest challenges is creating a virtual reality environment with 3D experiences that is realistic enough to fool our super-smart human brains 🧠. Currently, virtual reality technology is not advanced enough to create completely realistic virtual and 3D worlds. As a result, users of virtual reality systems often report feeling sick or disoriented (think motion sickness) after using them for extended periods of time.
Another challenge is creating an environment that is safe for users 💪. In the physical world, we have laws and social norms to keep people safe. In a digital environment, no such laws or norms yet exist. As a result, there is a risk that people could be harmed or even killed in digital life. This might not seem like a big deal, but it can have financial and emotional consequences!
Everyone Is Welcome
Finally, the metaverse has to be accessible to everyone. Currently, virtual reality platforms and systems are very expensive ✨ and require a lot of technical expertise to use. This means that only a small number of people are able to access and use the metaverse. How can we break down those barriers in the technology community?
We Are All Metaverse Creators
It’s still early days for the metaverse, but it’s clear that there’s a lot of interest in this new form of the online world. We can’t thank any one person for cutting-edge web 3.0 technology; instead, it’s likely that we’ll see 👀 more and more metaverses being developed in the years to come as companies and organizations looking to create their own virtual worlds. To stay informed on all these exciting new digital technologies, sign up for Ian Corzine’s newsletter!