What is the metaverse, one of the hottest trends in the tech world in recent months?

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Search trend analysispeople have been searching for the term “metaverse” recently, ever since Facebook announced in October 2021 that it rename to ‘Meta’ as a reflection of its commitment to developing new technologies related to the metaverse.

Here’s what you need to know about one of the hottest recent trends in the tech world.

First of all, what is a metaverse?

In its October 2021 article on Facebook’s parent company rebranding, The Associated Press defined the metaverse as a sort of animated, or at least 3D-rendered, internet.

“[Mark] Zuckerberg described it as a “virtual environment” you can step into, instead of just watching on a screen. People can meet, work and play, using virtual reality headsets, augmented reality glasses, smartphone apps or other devices,” reads part of the article. “It will also incorporate other aspects of online life such as shopping and social media, according to Victoria Petrock, an analyst who tracks emerging technologies.”

In a November 2021 articlethe AP described the Metaverse as “a construct of virtual reality intended to supplant the internet, merge virtual life with real life, and create endless new playgrounds for everyone”.

A Bloomberg Intelligence analysis in December 2021, meanwhile, describes the Metaverse as the next big tech platform.

“Social, persistent, shared and virtual 3D worlds, the Metaverse is the convergence of the physical and digital realms in the next evolution of the Internet and social networks using real-time 3D software,” reads part of the to analyse.

The term was coined in a 1992 science fiction novel called “Snow Crash”.

Why does this sound like things some people are already doing?

Some say the elements of a metaverse are already there.

According to an article published by the San Jose, Calif.-based newspaper news from mercurythe game second lifewhich has been around since 2003, allows users to “create avatars to play games, attend meetings, conduct business, and even buy and sell virtual real estate”.

The same article also describes virtual reality and augmented reality products, like Meta’s Oculus VR and Microsoft’s HoloLens glasses, as early examples of metaverse products. Pokémon Go was also described in the article as a metaverse-like product.

Is Meta the only company with plans for a metaverse?

Meta isn’t the only company with plans for a metaverse. Even Zuckerberg himself has acknowledged that “no company” will build the metaverse on its own.

The AP reports that other tech companies, such as Microsoft, chipmaker Nvidia, and Fortnite maker Epic Games have all described their own take on how the metaverse works.

“We think there will be a lot of companies creating virtual worlds and environments in the metaverse, the same way there have been a lot of companies doing things on the World Wide Web,” he said. said Richard Kerris, Vice President of Nvidia’s Omniverse Platform. “It’s important to be open and extensible, so you can teleport to different worlds, whether through one company or another, the same way I go from one webpage to another webpage. “

So what can people do on a metaverse?

During a presentation in October 2021, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg gave an overview of what people can do on a metaverse.

“He rushed to go to virtual concerts with your friends, to fencing with holograms of Olympic athletes and, even better, to participate in business meetings in mixed reality where some participants are physically present while others teleport from the metaverse as cartoon avatars,” read part of the post.

People can even get married on a metaverse.

What?! A metaverse wedding?

Yes!

A metaverse wedding took place in Arizona on February 4, 2022.

Rose Law Group, based in the Phoenix area, had purchased land in a particular metaverse, and they used that land as their wedding venue. A metaverse marriage license was also obtained.

The happy couple, identified as Candice and Ryan Hurley, were celebrating their 14th real-world wedding anniversary with the event. Family, friends, and a few thousand metaverse avatars took part in the wedding.

“We were looking for a unique way to celebrate, and what better way than to extend our love to the metaverse, beyond the normal realms of the universe?” said Ryan.

The ceremony was presided over by Arizona Supreme Court Justice Clint Bolick.

“I didn’t know what he was talking about, but I said ‘let’s do it,'” Candice said. “I quickly said, let’s do it because I love doing fun and exciting new things with him.”

The virtual wedding venue was designed to mimic the couple’s dream winter wedding, complete with avatars of them, their son Liam and their dog Pepper.

“I think it would be a little weird, but kinda cool at the same time,” Liam said.

Despite some technical issues, they finally made it to the altar, then sealed the deal with a kiss in both the real world and the Metaverse.

Candice and Ryan say it’s a day that will live on in their hearts and in the metaverse, forever.

“I always thought our love was special, so for this to make a lasting impression that will outlive us all, it’s pretty amazing, I think,” Ryan said.

A statement from the Rose Law Group also said that NFTs were distributed as party favors.

What are NFTs?

We have a full explainer article on NFTs, also known by their full name: non-fungible tokens.

Read more: What is an NFT? The new digital “property” taking the world by storm

What are some of the issues facing the Metaverse?

Meta faced an inappropriate behavior issue on the Metaverse.

According to the BBC, some metaverse users have faced harassment, with one woman comparing her own traumatic experience to sexual abuse. In response, Meta rolled out a new feature that prevents avatars from being within a set distance of each other.

There’s also the issue of interoperability, or making different offerings work with each other. To make the metaverse work, some developers say they’re going to have to form a set of industry standards similar to those that have coalesced around HTML, the open “markup language” used to structure websites since the 1990s.

Some, like Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, have warned that metaverses will be addictive and deprive people of even more personal information while giving Meta another online monopoly.

“Being able to share some things but not share other things” is important when you’re showing art in a virtual home but don’t want to share your schedule details, said Timoni West, vice president of reality. augmented and virtual. at Unity Technologies, which builds an engine for video game worlds. “There’s a whole set of permission layers for digital spaces that the internet could avoid, but you really have to make it all work.”

The Associated Press (AP) contributed to this report.

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