What is the metaverse and why on Earth do we need it?

the metaverse
Image by ZinetroN | Bigstockphoto

The metaverse. It is a term so new and trendy that it puts one in mind of the classic Coen brothers film, No Country for Old Men.

The metaverse is, essentially, a digital mirror of the real world. Strangely, while even the definition seems vague, billions of dollars are being invested in a rather fuzzy concept.

One Grant Paterson, head of eSports and Gaming at research house Wunderman Thompson describes it as the future of the internet, “a vision in which we will shift seamlessly between virtual and physical experiences, economies, environments and ecosystems.”

The metaverse will allow us to do extraordinary things, or so the evangelists say. An entire city could exist in both real reality and the metaverse, where you can model activities in a virtual space so that your real city is as green and efficient and adaptive as humanly possible.

Or maybe computerly possible.

Like it or not, the metaverse is already a ‘thing.’

Fortnite creator Epic Games has announced a funding round of $1 billion to ‘build a long-term vision of the metaverse’ to create ever-better social experiences around their games.

Gaming is just the start and one that makes some sense to elderly journalists. Sony has announced $200 million to connect the Epic experience with their own gaming and other online offerings.

The CEO of Nvidia believes we should create a metaverse which is the digital twin of the whole of our real world. He believes that one day, every city, factory and building will have a digital twin that can simulate and track every activity and model every outcome. And it is not just talk; the company is already working with BMW in Germany to build a metaverse of one of its factories.

Obviously, it will take a while to build a metaverse of our entire world. But given the money being thrown at it, it might just happen. At the beginning of the internet, no one believed that ‘all that data’ could possibly end up online. There simply was not enough time to get it done.

Yet here we are.

It could be that however weird or otherwise you think it is, the metaverse is the perfect application or partner to 6G.

Yet, when it comes to building a metaverse, a digital mirror of, well, everything, one question remains high on the list.


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