If the metaverse had ears, they’d be ringing. For a while, I thought the metaverse was kind of like the briefcase in Pulp Fiction, attracting a lot of awareness but not being fully realized or understood. Or Candyman, if you say its name enough times it will magically make itself known. And with Facebook recently reintroducing themselves as Meta, to assert their commitment to the future of the digital universe, the word ‘metaverse’ is reaching new mouths to talk about it.
So, what is it?
Oh, it’s just a shared digital realm that will drive culture and design. Hmm, still unclear? It’s the future of all digital media and commerce. Picture still a little fuzzy? Okay, how about – it’s the digital twin of our universe that wants to merge with physical reality, where everyone can exist as an avatar. If you’ve seen Ready Player One or have played games like Sims, Habbo Hotel, and Club Penguin, you’re probably more familiar with the concept than you think.
Although the metaverse is still a baby, it has one killer trust fund. Major corporations and creators continue to raise billions to fund its future of becoming the ultimate convergence of digital and physical reality. No pressure, Baby Meta. Since it is still in its infancy, there isn’t a defined singular way to describe it. However, it has characteristics that can help identify it, such as always being on and in real-time, hosting any size audience, spanning across platforms, and having a fully functional economy.
The internet has done it again! The creation of the metaverse means new opportunities, new products and services, and new jobs. It’s really not as futuristic as it sounds. The global pandemic could have had something to do with the mass acceleration of shifting life online. I, for one, have saved hundreds of dollars on outfits I would have had to buy for weddings. Or even pants that are necessary for irl meetings, but not for Zoom.
With online events being normalized, it’s clear that brands will be playing a significant role in the metaverse. It didn’t take Gucci very long to create virtual sneakers. This week we even caught wind that Nike is quietly preparing to join the metaverse. Sneaker drops, in my experience, are already full of disappointment. But, hey, maybe I’ll have better luck with copping a Nike NFT. Might sound absurd to some, but where there is demand, Nike will supply. Ultimately, the metaverse will be less about advertising and more about experiencing new products, or at least that’s what Epic Games’ Ceo Tim Sweeney says.
Now that you’ve gotten your virtual outfit and car, where are you going to show it off? You see, the metaverse is not a single destination. You can explore the robust network of browsers and indexes. Spend the day at the Disney Metaverse Theme Park! Or ComplexLand! Or NYFW at Balenciaga’s Afterworld! Oh, you’re a homebody? Don’t worry, hang your killer NFT artwork on the walls of your metaverse real estate plot that might have cost you $500k. Like I said, the digital twin of our physical universe.
Industry leaders are dedicated to using VR, AR, Smart Glasses, and other technological advancements that I have probably never heard of to make the metaverse feel like real life. And it’s definitely not the work of one organization, but millions of people putting in the groundwork. It sounds a bit creepy, but it might not be that far off from how we are already interacting digitally.
Singularity could be approaching faster than we thought it would, but I don’t think any of us can deny the shift we’ve been intuitively feeling for years. Will our digital lives really take precedence over our physical ones? Have they already? Who is to say! I’d like to think that nothing will beat seeing music live, or laughing with friends face to face. It could take decades for the metaverse to be widely accessible anyway, but I guess there isn’t any harm in mentally preparing for the new frontier. See you there soon.