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WHAT IS THE METAVERSE?

There has been a great controversy lately as to what the Metaverse will be as a result of the statements made recently by Mark Zuckerberg about the launch of META, the new name that will combine all the platforms managed under Facebook including Messenger, Instagram and Whatsapp.

But beyond that  and to a certain extent, talking about what “the metaverse” is a bit like talking  about what “the internet” meant back in the 70s. The building blocks of a new form of communication were in the process of being built, but no one really understood what the reality would look like, so one can only imagine what it will really entail.

However, according META’s own public statement found here: 
“The metaverse will feel like a hybrid of today’s online social experiences, sometimes expanded into three dimensions or projected into the physical world. It will let you share immersive experiences with other people even when you can’t be together — and do things together you couldn’t do in the physical world. It’s the next evolution in a long line of social technologies, and it’s ushering in a new chapter for our company.”

So, as you can see it’s almost impossible to separate Facebook’s vision of a future where everyone has a digital wardrobe from the fact that Facebook really wants to make money selling virtual clothes.

With all that in mind I’ll try to give a broad idea of what it could mean in the near future. Broadly speaking, the metaverse can include virtual reality, characterized by persistent virtual worlds that continue to exist even when you’re not playing, some examples of these are Second Life and IMVU, as well as augmented reality that combines aspects of the digital and physical worlds. However, it doesn’t require that those spaces be exclusively accessed via VR or AR. A virtual world, like aspects of Fortnite that can be accessed through PCs,which means that game consoles, and even phones could be metaversal.

WHAT CAN YOU DO IN THE METAVERSE?

It also translates to a digital economy, where users can create, buy, and sell goods. And, in the more idealistic visions of the metaverse, allowing you to buy virtual items like clothes or cars between platforms. In the real world, you can buy a shirt from the mall and then wear it to a movie theater. One example of this is The rapper Snoop Dog who announced that he would be building his own virtual world in the metaverse on the Sandbox platform in September of last year which prompted an NFT collector to spend a little under a half-million dollars for the privilege of becoming Snoop Dogg’s next-door neighbor. In the metaverse, of course.  

These are just a few examples of what could be done in the Metaverse, however the possibilities will be endless as we explore its capabilities.

WHO IS THE METAVERSE FOR?

Literally everyone and anyone!

Currently, you can only experience the internet when you go to it, but with new connectivity, devices and technologies, we’ll be able to experience it all around every single day.

With that being said, take for instance Fortnite, real-world celebrities play the game and players become celebrities themselves. A 2018 Reach3 Insights study found that “most streamers aren’t vastly different from the friends’ players already spend time with in real life, making those streamers that much more relatable and valuable.” In the metaverse, brands won’t be able to hide behind the scenes with pre-made ads, commercials, and products. They themselves will have to be personable and approachable.

People go to Wendy’s Twitter for the chance to get roasted. People will go to brands in the metaverse because they feel a connection, not necessarily a need for that product or service. Wendy’s is one company already experimenting with the metaverse.

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By Diana Gonzalez

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