Facebook, Epic Games, Microsoft, and the world linked to the blockchain are all betting on the digital universe in which we will spend most of our lives. Vibrant gaming platform providers for casinos like https://neonvegascasino.net/ and others have focused on maximizing the metaverse’s VR potential. This overview explores the history and future of the metaverse.
Originally it was Second Life, the virtual and online world where people, represented by a digital avatar, could (and still can) explore various environments and territories. They can participate in role-playing games, shop in stores, go to clubs, socialize and ultimately devote themselves to a second digital life.
Created in 2003 by Linden Lab, a San Francisco company, Second Life peaked between 2007 and 2013, when over one million members regularly attended it. Also, in that phase, the potential of this virtual world attracted politicians, singers, international film festivals, and publishers, who inaugurated magazines published directly within Second Life.
The overcoming of the novelty effect and the explosion of social networks (which allowed a less immersive digital life but much simpler and more immediate) caused the decline of Second Life.
So little is said about it now that you might think that the creation of programmer Philip Rosedale has populated the Internet cemetery along with MySpace, Netlog, and the myriad of other former Net phenomena.
The origins of the metaverse
Nearly thirty years ago, author Steven Stephenson envisioned the metaverse as the natural evolution of an Internet that was beginning to spread at the time. Today, an evolution surpassing the Second Life experience, the digital giants of gaming, social networks, and technology are trying to achieve definitively.
They are designing digital worlds within which we will, however, live a real First Life, transferring here a consistent part of everyday life and preserving, at least in part, our real identity.
If social networks have contributed to the decline of Second Life, the multiverse today promises to overcome precisely the social limits. “If the protagonists of the last generation were sharing, the next generation would be participating,” he explained Sima Sistani, founder of Houseparty, a video chat app, with social and immersive elements purchased by Epic Games in 2019.
Interactions, in this vision, will no longer be in the form of likes, comments, and shares, but real shared experiences, lived in a mode as similar as possible to the real world, with the addition of the potential of digital.
Instead of observing the Internet through a screen, smartphone or computer, we will live directly inside it, using virtual reality headsets and bracelets equipped with sensors (such as those that Facebook is developing) to physically interact with the virtual environment and the objects that are inside it.
On the other hand, Facebook is one of the main companies that is focusing on the metaverse of the future. It invested 50 million dollars in this project over the next two years and thus aiming (also thanks to the leadership in the world of virtual reality guaranteed by Oculus) to overcome what Zuckerberg himself considers the limits of social networks.
The protagonists of the metaverse
“Most of the time, we are busy mediating our lives and our communications through these little shiny rectangles,” the co-founder of Facebook told The Verge, referring to smartphones: “I don’t think it’s so that people should interact.
In many of the meetings we have today, we spend time looking at a grid of faces. In the metaverse, we will be able to experience a sense of presence that will make our interactions much more natural and rich”.
To disprove the idea that the metaverse will be limited to the (however gigantic) world of gaming, one of the first products presented by Facebook is Horizon Workrooms, a virtual reality software to participate in meetings as if we were in presence, but without being physically in the same room.
However, Facebook is not the only company to focus on the idea of the metaverse. The CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, was perhaps the first to refer to the company he leads as a “metaverse enterprise.” In China, on the other hand, Tencent is aiming for an evolution of its WeChat super-app to make it the ideal counterpart to Facebook in the other half of the technological world.
And then there are the realities of gaming, which, in an almost spontaneous way, are taking that direction: MGA, Microgaming, NetEnt, and others whose games are popular across online casinos.
It was inevitable, considering how the very concepts underlying their video games—multiplayer role-playing games based on freely explorable virtual worlds fit perfectly with the developing idea of the metaverse.
Among all these, however, the actor who, more than any other, seems to have the advantage in the construction of the metaverse is Epic Games, the company behind the extraordinary success of Fortnite, a video game with 350 million registered users.
It is just an example of the evolution that Fortnite is facing, which in the early months of 2021 also saw a Ferrari 296 Gtb appear in its environments, which could be tested by the players who stumbled upon it (also giving an example of what form it could take advertising).
There is the recent case of Balenciaga, a luxury streetwear brand that has signed an agreement for creating clothes, weapons, bags, backpacks, shoes, and more specifically for Fortnite, which can also be purchased in special stores within the digital environment.
If the commercial partnerships weren’t enough, Epic raised a billion dollars from various investors to finance its long-term vision of the metaverse.
In a nutshell, the metaverse is currently an idea that we can already observe in its embryonic stage thanks to the virtual worlds of Fornite and the others. To truly develop, one must first face numerous unknowns, obstacles, and competing visions.
The only certainty is that the future incarnation of the Internet, which will make us overcome Web 2.0 based on social networks, will be characterized by increasingly complex interactions with the digital environment and the people who populate it. And maybe it will make what Neal Stephenson imagined almost 30 years ago come true.