Perhaps the most famous prototype of the metaverse is the virtual online world of Second Life, the very name of which implies an alternative existence. Other games can also be called metaverses in themselves: World of Warcraft, Everquest, Fortnite, Animal Crossing. Each of them offers its own version of the fascinating world, although they do not have the opportunity to fully capture your feelings. Most users feel these games from the outside: front and middle screens, with side speakers. Actions are mediated by a keyboard, mouse, trackpad, or game controller instead of players’ hands and feet.
Technology is starting to change that. High-density screens, glasses and virtual reality glasses, surround sound and surround audio provide a more real immersion. The cameras take on 3D capabilities, and individual microphones give way to microphone arrays that capture sound with better depth and better position. Augmented reality, which superimposes virtual objects on a real-world video channel, provides a bridge between a purely virtual and analog or real experience. There is also progress in adding a sense of touch in the form of multi-touch screens, tactile technology, control gloves and other wearable devices. Complete environments, such as Industrial Light and Magic’s Stagecraft, are currently only available for certain industries, but may be more widely used as the technology follows a typical introduction and market transition curve.
Technology giants weigh
The basic ideas of the metaverse are easiest to find in games. But that is likely to change, as evidenced by the way some technical managers are now openly talking about how the metaworld can work for them. Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Satya Nadella of Microsoft have already publicly discussed these possibilities.
Zuckerberg uses the term “embodied Internet” for his version of the metaverse: he imagines a system that is very similar to the now familiar Facebook community, photos, videos and products, but instead of looking at this content, in Zuckerberg’s vision you will: that you are inside and around the content – an experience that it is likely to seek with Oculus VR technology owned by Facebook.