Written by Boys Club Review Guild
You’re a hot girl, you do hot sh*t. You’ve probably already played around in the metaverse — but in case you haven’t had a chance to explore, let’s talk about it.
So, What is the Metaverse?
Despite what Mark may want you to think, the metaverse was not invented by Facebook (a.k.a. Meta, although the company has put billions behind it). The term was first coined by science fiction writer Neal Stephenson in his 1992 novel Snow Crash. It essentially means a place where people can interact with each other and digital objects in a way that feels real and immersive. Think of it as a cross between the virtual world of Sims and the real world, but you can do it all from your couch in your pjs.
Another way to frame it is that the metaverse is like the next phase of the Internet — it won’t replace the current Internet but instead build upon and iteratively transform it, according to Metaverse book author Matthew Ball. Kind of like how you still listen to music on-the-go, but after getting started on your walkman (remember those?), you switched to iPods and now you’re streaming Spotify.
Truthfully, even our crypto crush Vitalik’s take is that “we don’t really know the definition of the metaverse yet, it’s far too early to know what people actually want”. Whew! So we don’t have to worry about Ready Player One….yet. But the hype is real around the major players that have entered the metaverse full throttle.
Impact on Emerging Tech
There’s a huge focus on the development of augmented & virtual reality-based technologies (AR/VR), as well as the web3 elements that enable the full vision of the metaverse. Many believe that VR could become the next computing platform as it provides an immersive experience unlike any other. Players can explore virtual worlds and interact with other players in a way that is simply not possible with traditional gaming systems. New applications for VR are being developed at a furious pace — although nothing beats jamming to our goddess Lizzo on Beat Saber.
With so many platforms and competing companies, interoperability is critical so that there’s interconnectivity across platforms, and a global and open set of standards. This means that as a user, you can travel easily and freely across different parts of the metaverse, and even buy and sell things seamlessly. Groups like Metaverse Standards Forum or Open Metaverse Alliance (OMA3) work towards this.
Blockchain technology, including cryptocurrency and NFTs, helps to support the digital, ownable, and interoperable exchange of goods. Basically, once something is recorded on a blockchain, it becomes interoperable on the same chain. Today, bridges and swaps help facilitate transactions across chains, but more developments in cross-chain technology will allow interoperability across blockchains.
Here’s a quick rundown of some of the more popular metaverse projects you may have heard of — and this barely scratches the surface. Games may have been an initial path into the metaverse, but as you’ll see, there’s so much more out there.
So why all this hype on the metaverse? Nbd, it just has the potential to revolutionize the way we interact with each other and do business. Consumer brands have quickly recognized this and are coming in hot to explore the metaverse as a new way to connect with customers, build brand awareness and promote loyalty.
You’ve probably noticed a bunch of retailers like Starbucks, Tiffany’s and Nike experimenting in the metaverse to tap into new customer loyalty models. Some are launching NFTs and others are creating full-on games in the metaverse. This year, Fashion Week kicked off both Spring and Fall in Decentraland alongside IRL events, while Paris Hilton’s Cryptoween celebrated Halloween at her Malibu Mansion in the Sandbox. Perhaps you tried to score some new NARS blush via NARS’ Color Quest in Roblox. While the jury is still out on the ROI from this new acquisition channel, it’s definitely not stopping brands from joining every day.
Challenges of the Metaverse
There are challenges that the metaverse currently faces that could prevent widespread adoption. It’s heavily reliant on AR/VR devices, which are still clunky and not super affordable. The technology remains far from achieving realistic immersion for the truly seamless experience we’ve become used to in the 1-click world of web2. And data privacy, security, and safety will always be important issues that have not yet been fully addressed.
Only time will tell how the metaverse will grow and potentially change how we interact online. In the meantime, why not try it out to learn more? You can jump right in on your phone or computer in 2D, or put down your Dr. Dennis LED mask and try on the Oculus headset. Who knows? Maybe the Boys will be hanging out in the ‘verse soon.