What is Metaverse?
Image credit: the Cover of Snow Crash from Google Search
Literally, "Metaverse" is combined from "meta" and "verse". The concept is derived from Neal Stephenson's book Snow Crash. Meta means "meta" and "transcendence"; Verse refers to "universe", and the combination "Metaverse" refers to "a virtual world parallel to the real world" which is supported by AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality) technologies.
Everyone and everything in the real world is digitally projected into this cloud world, where you can do anything you want to do in the real world. At the same time, you may also do things that you cannot do in the real world.
The metaverse is defined as an immersive virtual world where users can interact with each other in various ways such as playing games or trading. New tech industry professions are also emerging in China as the metaverse takes shape.
The metaverse is not made up of one virtual world, but of various virtual worlds - the most popular right now is the browser-based Decentraland;
The Sandbox, owned by Hong Kong-based Animoca Brands;
And Roblox is sought-after by kids and teenagers. Users use digital virtual avatars to explore these virtual lands, where they can socialize, play games, buy real estate, visit showrooms, browse the art, or go shopping.
Why is the "Metaverse" so popular?
Image credit: data from Insider Intelligence, eMarketer, Inc. Timeline collects and records the beginning of the Metaverse.
Let me talk about my thoughts first: there are indeed many elements of speculation in the metaverse, but it is undeniable that the metaverse will play a great role in the future and affect our daily life.
First, introduce two points of view that we often hear when introducing what the metaverse is (here aside from technical concepts, just try to extract the main points, and make it easy to understand):
The Metaverse is the next-generation form of the Internet.
The metaverse provides extreme immersion and will create a parallel world.
Because of the word "verse" (means "universe") in the metaverse, and the interpretation of the second point of view (the two points of view are not actually conflicting, but the emphasis of the statement is different), people will have a kind of "metaverse is against the real world." (Especially some people who think the virtual world will replace the real world, regard it as a society's retrogression)
And the practice that comparing the kinds of application scenarios of the metaverse that must perform physical operations with the behavior in the real world is actually very inappropriate (at least for now).
Image credit: form the Internet
Since the Metaverse is being called the next-generation form of the Internet, we try to compare it to the current Internet.
Today, we still obtain information and interact with images, voice, and video on the internet; But in the Metaverse, we can obtain information and interact in a more immersive way by building a virtual world.
Does that sound abstract?
For detailed understanding let me take an example:
When you want to buy a car, a suite, or a ticket to a scenic spot, the way you obtain information through the existing Internet is to log in to the web page, and the relevant information will be displayed in the form of text, pictures, or videos.
By contrast, in the Metaverse, you can go to a virtual model home to view a suite (walk around it, see how far there is to move around in the room, does a corner allow you to sit with your legs outstretched, or something else).
Go to a virtual car shopping center to look into a virtual car (see how the car space is in proportion to your body, and know a brief about what the interior is like).
Step into a virtual scenic spot to see related structures (feel the distance between different attractions to plan routes, etc.), and all of this can be built in a 1:1 ratio, allowing you to truly feel the information and reduce visual errors.
Image credit: form Google Search results page, Search for car on the Internet, usually turns out in the form of pictures/videos.
Image credit: form Google Search results page. Searching for housing online can only be displayed in the form of pictures/videos; however, in recent years, there have also been some applications of VR housing viewing, which already vaguely let us see the prototype of the Metaverse.
For specific behaviors, such as buying a car or a house, the Metaverse will definitely not be able to actually build a car and a house for you on the physical level; but compared with the existing way of logging in to the website to query information,s the Metaverse can greatly improve the quality of the information gathering method. Accuracy allows you to have a deeper understanding of the product. What the Metaverse does is to improve the experience of making a purchase decision and even making a payment, rather than building you a car or a suite in the virtual world to use in the real world (no matter how the technology develops, I don't believe this will happen).
Image credit: SuperACG's Metaverse Virtual YouTubers Live Streaming System-Virtual Concert Produced by VTPlus.
Maybe, any emerging business is prone to bubbles. But this is the fault of people, not the technology itself. Think about how many of us in the 1990s would have imagined that a computer would be integrated into our daily lives; in 10 years or so, how many of us would have imagined that a mobile phone would enable and enhance so many applications of the Internet. What we thought was impossible at the beginning has now been realized one by one and made us accustomed to it.
Therefore, we should not blindly praise the metaverse, but we should not blindly think that the metaverse is a concept of pure speculation, we should treat it with a rational and neutral attitude.