Artifacts sold at exorbitant prices in NFTs via Blockchain, huge investments in the Metaverse, the announcement of a new Internet called Web 3… You have undoubtedly heard all these new terms associated with the concept and what we present as the future. Internet. Ideas that will replace the web as we know it today, its ubiquity of gafam (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, etc.) and social networks. In the midst of all this, the Metaverse seems to be the Holy Grail, the promise of a new world. But what exactly is it?
To understand the new challenges and mechanics that are happening, you must first understand this new concept. A concept that remains complicated to explain for one simple reason: a large part of it all is still onlya fantasy. Glimpses of the future, first born from science fiction.
Metaverse: An idea born in 1992
The term first appeared in the bookVirtual Samurai“, published in 1992 by the American Neal Stephenson. In this book, the author portrays a wealthy entrepreneur – a Mark Zuckerberg before his time? – who has created a parallel world, where virtual reality and augmented reality mix. And where the ultimate goal is to control the minds of users. to do
The Metaverse is therefore a parallel, immersive, three-dimensional world, a virtual world but with very real interactions. It is a world where everyone can evolve through an avatar or a hologram It is also a universe where the types of activities are very diverse: play, work, discussion, learning, etc.
What exactly is a Metaverse?
Matthew Ball, subject expert and author of a book on the subject, lists the characteristics of a metaverse:
- The metaverse is permanent, that is, it does not stop, it has no end. It cannot be paused or reset. It is permanent.
- It is synchronous and live. Everyone has the same experience of the metaverse in real time. And this, even if certain events can be programmed and occur autonomously.
- The Metaverse is a computer-generated universe. It’s a complete environment, no augmented reality overlay.
- The metaverse has no limits. Everyone can participate, there is no maximum size (which can be a problem because the infrastructure layer needs to know how to handle this increase in load if the event grows too fast). Matthew Ball talks about a metaverse with “no ceiling”.
- It’s an economy like no other. Fully functional, it empowers anyone to own property, buy and sell it, create “value”, invest, and more.
- There is no single metaverse And this virtual universe is not the property of Meta/Facebook. Like blockchain and NFT, Metaverse is a decentralized phenomenon. In this virtual reality there is no authority but different entities that may or may not be compatible with each other.
- Metaverses will offer some form of interoperability, though it’s still unclear how easy the gateways are between each universe. Blockchain and NFT systems should allow a certain liquidity, but it is still possible that those who imagine their own metaverse try to keep this universe in the void. It would be a lot less interesting if that happened. It is hoped that these different virtual worlds will be interconnected, but nothing is guaranteed. If they develop in silos, it can end in bitter failure.
- It’s up to everyone to imagine the metaverse. Of course, companies are already adapting to this new Eldorado but, due to its decentralized aspect, everyone will be able to create their own content and their own experience in the metaverse. And thus changing the game at its level.
Guaranteed success? There is no warranty
For now, the Metaverse is after all an idea, a projection of the future. If there are already immersive virtual worlds (Minecraft, Roblox, World of Warcraft, Fortnite, Animal Crossing, The Sandbox) that are variations of old concepts (The Sims or even Second Life), Nothing can yet guarantee that the idea will succeed. Or that he will not experience abuse as has already happened in social networks
The fact remains that the stakes are such that it is important to examine the question now, even if there is no doubt about it Wait ten years before the idea becomes a reality. In his campaign program for the 2022 presidential election, Emmanuel Macron has already emphasized the importance of European initiatives in the context of the metaverse.
Today, the challenge is twofold. Metaverse interoperability, first, by decentralizing this immersive virtual world so as not to revive the hold of certain players on the Internet, as is the case today with Google, Amazon, Facebook and co. Another challenge: Convince people of the interests of this virtual world. Which is still a real challenge today. Mark Zuckerberg’s performance at the Connect 2021 event was not unanimous.
Meta, the vision of the concept according to Mark Zuckerberg:
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