What is the metaverse?

Welcome, we have been expecting you.



A world within worlds

Or a better question could be: where is the metaverse? In case you’re wondering if the term circles upon the adventures of yet another Marvel superhero. Stop. It doesn’t. We’re not talking about Norse gods in space or The Avengers taking on Thanos. The metaverse will probably be more personal, and equally otherworldly. 


A more coherent example would be a real-life version of Ready Player One, the 2018 sci-fi/adventure movie by Steven Spielberg that explores a gamefied (yes, that’s a word: it’s the adjective for ‘game’) world-within-a world trope. The metaverse is—or will soon be—an alternate digital reality (or realities) that coexists with and complements our daily future lives. It will be about seamlessly blending an AR existence with a physical one. 


Wikipedia defines the term as: “The Metaverse is a collective virtual shared space, created by the convergence of virtually enhanced physical reality and physically persistent virtual space, including the sum of all virtual worlds, augmented reality (AR), and the Internet. The word ‘metaverse’ is made up of the prefix ‘meta’ (meaning beyond) and the stem ‘verse’ (a backformation from ‘universe’); the term is typically used to describe the concept of a future iteration of the internet, made up of persistent, shared, 3D virtual spaces linked into a perceived virtual universe.”


Think James Cameron’s movie Avatar, except you won’t be interacting with the blue raced Na’vi on Pandora (unless you want to). The metaverse is a mirror world to ours that’s currently being constructed. It wields potentials to radically transform life as we know it. The metaverse will be about AR game simulations, AR fashion shows and AR art… the list is limitless.


In a Forbes interview, Karinna Nobbs, co-CEO of The Dematerialised, a web marketplace for digital fashion, shared this insight:


“My definition is more around its purpose and driver of adoption than its tech composition. The Metaverse is the next significant third space (coined by sociologist Ray Oldenburg) as not home (1st), not work or study (2nd) but where you will spend your leisure time. It is the anchor of community life and where you meet with old and new friends.”


One thing’s for sure: the ways in which the metaverse takes shape will also shapeshift our not-too-distant future lives.